DanceWest Fest returns this spring to the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and Rose Theatre, Kingston

15 Mar 2023

This spring DanceWest Fest, formerly Ignition Dance Festival, returns for the first time since 2018 with performances at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith (19 & 20 May) and Rose Theatre, Kingston (17 June).

London’s biggest dance festival sees four new commissions from established choreographers, two emerging artist commissions and large-scale community dance platforms, supporting the creation of new choreography and the development of dance artists at every stage of their career.

DanceWest Fest opens at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith from the 19 – 20 May 2023 with an evening of new commissions from some of the dance world’s leading creative voices.

Independent dance artist and co-founder of the iconic dance companies The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs, Lea Anderson MBE presents a new work that reunites her with two of the original members of The Cholmondeleys. Throughout her forty-year career Lea has created over 100 works and collaborated with a range of designers, filmmakers, and artists – from Academy Award winning designer Sandy Powell to acclaimed director Todd Haynes on Velvet Goldmine – creating pioneering work in nontheatrical spaces.

Presenting a piece for an ensemble of dancers, Jamaal Burkmar explores static movement in his latest creation. Upon graduating from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Jamaal received Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Choreography Award and has gone on to create works for companies including Phoenix Dance Theatre, Motionhouse and Verve.

Dance artist Gerrard Martin’s new work looks at the tenderness, intersectionality, and vulnerability of Black men. Having founded Gerrard Martin Dance in 2011 he has become known for creating emotive, socially relevant works that have been presented at The Place, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. Gerrard has also worked as assistant choreographer on English National Opera’s Olivier Award winning production Porgy & Bess and One Love: The Bob Marley Musical.

Completing the programme is James Wilton Dance who explore what is left behind when we are gone through folklore, ritual, and tradition. James Wilton Dance has toured extensively in the UK and internationally, winning numerous awards. Alongside works for their own company, James and Sarah Jane Taylor have created works for Scottish Dance Theatre, Konzert Theater Bern and ballet companies across Germany and Austria.

Continuing DanceWest Fest’s commitment to nurturing and developing early year choreographic talent, two new commissions from contemporary dance artist Emma Skyum Poulsen and hip hop dance artist Dani Harris Walters will open and close the community dance platform at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on the 17 June 2023. With 60 dance groups and schools, the community dance platform will showcase a wide range of performers from all backgrounds, ages, and abilities in a professional theatre setting.

DanceWest Fest was co-founded as Ignition Dance Festival in 2013 by Kathryn Woodvine (Kingston Council) and Rosie Whitney-Fish (DanceWest) to provide an opportunity for West and South West London audiences to enjoy dance locally and to provide commissioning support for established, emerging and community dancers. Following a brief pause DanceWest Fest now moves to a biennial model, led and produced by leading dance organisation DanceWest.

Rosie Whitney-Fish, Chief Executive & Founder of DanceWest said:“I am thrilled of our festivals return under its new identity as DanceWest Fest. Since 2014 the festival has grown to provide a range of opportunities for highly regarded established choreographers, exciting emerging artists and community dance groups. We are hugely grateful to Kathryn and the team at Kingston council and to Arts Council England for supporting the development of new work”.