On Monday 7 December 2015, 450 dance professionals packed the Royal Society of Medicine in London - with hundreds more watching online - as a new industry body for the dance sector was launched and its new name and brand - One Dance UK - was unveiled.
One Dance UK, a registered charity, is a “one stop shop” for support services for the dance sector. It provides services for young people dancing, teachers and training institutions, as well as for professional dancers, choreographers, companies and producers. The organisation has been created to provide a single more powerful voice for dance, a central knowledge hub, professional development opportunities and performance platforms to nurture talent, and strategic initiatives that will benefit the entire dance sector.
The new charity has been created from a bold merger between four leading specialist dance organisations: Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England.
At the launch event, a wide range of well-known people from the dance world and beyond spoke backing the vision, including Arlene Phillips CBE, Alistair Spalding CBE, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, and Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Althea Efunshile. Arlene Phillips herself becomes a Patron.
Guy Dagger, Managing Director of leading dance floor specialists Harlequin Floors, revealed the decision to become Principal Sponsor of One Dance UK. This demonstrates a significant development from Harlequin Floor’s long-term support of the Dance UK's Healthier Dancer Programme and National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science – an initiative launched by Dance UK and others in 2012 - and more than doubles the level of its current financial support.
The launch included presentations focussing on some of the key programmes that One Dance UK will deliver in its first three years. Among these are: the national youth dance festival - U.Dance - which will be expanded and presented at The Lowry in Salford in July 2016, over £145,000 investment in leadership development benefiting dancers and teachers, a national conference for choreographers in 2016, professional development opportunities and performance platforms for artists working in dance of the African diaspora, and a new flagship exhibition and digital platform to be launched in 2018 to celebrate the last 70 years of history of British dance.
There was also the announcement that One Dance UK will relocate from London to another part of the UK.
The creation of One Dance UK is the result of demand from the dance sector for more joined-up working, and responds to the findings of a number of industry reports and surveys (see Editor’s notes). It has been funded by Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation
The name One Dance UK was selected following extensive stakeholder, industry and staff consultation. It reflects the UK-wide reach of the new organisation, underlines the unity of its voice, and celebrates the synergy that more than 130 years of combined experience will bring to the future of dance in the UK.
To watch the livestream of this uplifting event please visit One Dance UKOne Dance UKOne Dance UK