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Capital of Dance is the world’s first fringe festival specialising in dance and movement.  The pilot event will be held in Blackpool in 2024 and then annually.  

Dance Revolutionaries at Backlot Cinema part of Capital of Dance
CeCe DVyne performing at Capital of Dance

CONCEPT

Capital of Dance

Blackpool UK

  • A new open-access arts festival that positions Blackpool as the Capital of Dance. A multi-venue, town-wide fringe-style event will provide a whirlwind of rhythm and movement, from ballroom elegance to contemporary grooves. Building on the resort’s famous dance heritage, live shows, street performances, workshops and social events will unite lovers of dance.
  • The month-long pilot event is planned to take place from 14 June to 14 July 2024.

PLACE MAKING

Capital of Dance

Blackpool UK

There has been a growing recognition of the importance of cultural activity and the role it can play in the lives of people, communities and places:

 

  • The Culture White Paper1, published by DMCS in 2016, acknowledged the role played by cultural activity in an individual’s physical and mental health, education and life chances, as well as in driving local economic growth and community cohesion.
  • Blackpool has its own dance cultural identity – a shared history, infrastructure and traditions. As the white paper states: “…what is local and unique has a special value and should be supported and encouraged.” Cultural identity is strongly tied in with a person’s sense of engagement, belonging, understanding, and appreciation of their place.

Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council and Cabinet Member for Tourism, Arts and Culture

“We fully support this festival that positions Blackpool as the UK’s Capital of Dance. This is an inspirational idea that fits with the resort’s heritage and unites the town in a unique way. It will have a positive impact on so many different areas of our community and we hope that collectively we can turn these dynamic plans into reality.”

AUTHENTICY

Capital of Dance

Blackpool UK

Blackpool can confidently stake its claim as the UK’s Capital of Dance:

  • Two world-famous ballrooms hosting 12 major dance competitions.
  • The Empress Ballroom hosts the world’s foremost dance competition, The Blackpool Dance Festival, held annually for over 100 years, 3,000 plus competitors from over 60 countries compete every year.
  • The iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom is over 120 years old. It is world-famous for its sprung dance floor, Mighty Wurlitzer and lavish design by acclaimed architect Frank Matcham. The venue for TV’s highest-rated show, BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing every season for the last 20 years and continues to do so. To reach ”Blackpool Week’ is aspirational for all competitors.
  • The resort boasts the world’s longest-running ice dance spectacular Hot Ice at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
  • Home to Funny Girls, the country’s best-loved drag show, captivating audiences with stunning costumes, amazing choreography, and hilarious comedy routines since 1994
  • The Grand Theatre presents ballet and contemporary dance, whilst the Opera House is ranked as a number one touring house for musical theatre shows.
  • The world’s longest-running dance troupe, The Tiller Girls, started in the 1890s with dancers from Blackpool and the brand was exported all over the world, including appearances in Hollywood movies.

HERITAGE

Capital of Dance

Blackpool UK

Millions of social dancers have embraced the resort for over 150 years:

  • Victorians dancing alfresco on North Pier in the 1900’s, the Blackpool Waltz and Fox Trot were huge attractions.

 

  • Novelty dances and big bands led the way through the 20’s and 30’s as people arrived in droves to the resort on the aptly named Dance Trains.

 

  • Soldiers from both sides of the Atlantic trained & danced in Blackpool during the blitz years of WW II. That era provides nostalgic memories for many families in resort & around the UK.

 

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll sessions on the piers introduced youth culture to the resort during the 50s.

 

  • During the 60s and ’70s, 3,500 people a night would dance at The Mecca Ballroom, enjoy live bands and witness the introduction of Northern Soul.

 

  • Joe Loss and his big band provided dance opportunities as part of the Stardust Gardens floorshow in the Winter Gardens throughout the 1970’s.

 

  • Blackpool’s first gay nightclub The Flamingo opened in 1979 with live music and dance.

 

  • By the 1980s, the resort boasted over 75 nightclubs for dancing, more than any city in the UK.

 

  • The 1990’s into the new millennium saw the introduction of super-clubs: The Palace, Heaven & Hell and the Syndicate.

WORKING TOGETHER

Capital of Dance

Blackpool UK

Kate Shane, Regional Director for Merlin Entertainments Ltd and Chair of Blackpool Tourism Bid:

  • Blackpool Tourism Bid is delighted to be a partner for Blackpool Capital of Dance. It is the perfect place-making festival, building on the resorts unique reputation as the go to place for dance events, whilst providing aspirational opportunities for our young people and residents. We look forward to seeing these exciting ideas come to life next summer.”
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