Flexus Dance Collective and Sterran Dance Theatre return to Arena Theatre Wolverhampton with ‘All About the Fight – Going the Distance’

The Wolverhampton-based dance organisation has reworked its trailblazing Grime dance theatre production, which honours the skill and spirit of boxing.

01 December 2023 Posted by One Dance Team


Jade Barton; photo Matthew Cawrey

Jade Barton; photo Matthew Cawrey

The team behind Flexus Dance Collective and Sterran Dance Theatre are delighted to announce that after receiving funding from Arts Council England, they are returning to their associate theatre, Arena Theatre Wolverhampton, with their groundbreaking collaborative production All About the Fight – Going the Distance on Tuesday 19 December, before it tours to Lincoln and Derby in early 2024. The innovative Grime dance theatre work premiered at the Arena Theatre in April 2022, and since then has been reworked to new heights and with new dancers by Choreographer and Artistic Director Katy Sterran.

Showcasing and celebrating the talent of the West Midlands, the evening in Wolverhampton will open with a rip-roaring programme of performances by local guest Grime artists and presentations by junior boxers of Brightstar Boxing Academy in Shifnal, Shropshire.

There will then be a curtain-raiser by AATF Boys, a newly-created group of influential young males from the West Midlands, who will unite to showcase their new work. Choreographed by Flexus Dance Collective’s Associate Artist Shaun Dillon, and in collaboration with composer Mad EP and Brightstar Boxing Academy, their work will take the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions fuelled by the passion that defines the All About the Fight project.

The main event for the evening is All About the Fight – Going the Distance, performed by Sterran Dance Theatre. Going the Distance is an innovation of Grime dance theatre that honours the skill, culture, and spirit of boxing. Over twelve rounds, Going the Distance tackles personal fights around social and psychological limitations through empowering storytelling that promotes the resilience and strength of the human spirit. Created in collaboration with Wolverhampton-based Grime artist J Man, composer Mad EP and professional boxing coach Mitchell Roberts, Going the Distance draws on extensive ethnographical training with boxing, dance, and music communities, and is a testament to the endurance of the soul and the fight within all of us. Through a captivating fusion of diverse dance genres and live high-energy grime music, the audience will go the distance in fights behind the limelight where movement and music are fierce, passion is palpable, and winners are measured within.

The evening’s explosive and climatic 12th round is an empowering curtain-closer called #wearepowerful which features over 40 young people from the West Midlands, co-created with young local Grime artist TB, junior boxers of Brightstar Boxing Academy and youth dancers of Flexus Dance Collective. Uniting dance, sport, and Grime music through an enriched collaborative process, the curtain-closer celebrates the transformative power of expression, and the strength and influence of the young generation.

All About the Fight – Going the Distance was created over an 18-month period through training, exploration, partnership and collaboration with boxers, Grime artists, mental health specialists, and Hip Hop and Cuban dance practitioners. Since its premiere at Arena Theatre Wolverhampton in April 2022, All About the Fight - Going the Distance and the associated youth performance project #WeArePowerful have engaged with over 9,000 audience members.

In August 2022, All About the Fight - Going the Distance was performed for the B2022 Festival and as a sports side presentation for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games boxing events and finals at the NEC. Over 2,000 young people have participated in the creative process, workshops, and #WeArePowerful performances. The All About the Fight project, made up of the professional work Going the Distance and youth project #WeArePowerful, has been groundbreaking in engaging diverse audiences and participants.

Due to the performance of All About the Fight – Going the Distance at Arena Theatre Wolverhampton on Tuesday 19 December having already sold out, Flexus Dance Collective and the Arena Theatre have opened up the afternoon’s dress rehearsal to the public to purchase tickets at a reduced cost. The open dress rehearsal starts at 4pm and tickets cost just £7.50. Tickets can be booked online via Arena Theatre Wolverhampton’s website.

Amy Dalton-Hardy, Executive Producer at Flexus Dance Collective commented, “Our Artistic Director Katy Sterran has been instrumental in developing the standard of work that is done with young people and diverse communities in the Black Country. Flexus Dance Collective has set the bar high, with an unwavering dedication to nurturing talent, evident in the long-term involvement and professional growth of many young participants. The team’s commitment to excellence in dance is showcased in All About the Fight, providing an incredible opportunity for diverse artists to collaborate, and broaden our outreach, enabling people from across the Midlands to engage with expert practitioners in dance, Grime, and boxing, fostering a range of impactful skills. The project underscores our focus of elevating and innovating Grime dance theatre throughout the UK and generating new, resonant work that gives voice to communities and artists, representing and involving those who have traditionally been marginalised in the arts.”

Katy Sterran, Artistic Director at Flexus Dance Collective and Sterran Dance Theatre added, “The culture and values of All About the Fight – Going the Distance have gone far beyond the work and project, finding roots in every element of the company’s life and practice. Every movement and beat of this piece holds sentiment in its origins, layers and growth in its incredible journey, and imprints of the passionate people who have invested. From its seed, I knew I wanted authenticity from the worlds of Grime and boxing, and integrity in its testament to the fight within all of us. Creating a team of influential practitioners from across sport and culture has been my most enriched collaborative journey to date. I am so excited to explode this work in our home city of Wolverhampton.”

Flexus Dance Collective’s 2023/24 All About the Fight project is very kindly supported by the following organisations: Arts Council England, Brightstar Boxing Academy, England Boxing, Active Black Country, Arena Theatre Wolverhampton, City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, University of Wolverhampton, Coppice Performing Arts School, One Dance UK, Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces, ConnectEd Partnership, Wolverhampton Cultural Education Partnerships and Social Nuisance.


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