South East Dance is celebrating the opening of the city’s first purpose-built dance house with a free festival of dance

15 Jun 2022

Valerie Ebuwa outside The Dance Space. Photo_ Rosie Powell.

Brighton & Hove based charity South East Dance is inviting the whole city to celebrate the opening of its first ever purpose-built dance house – The Dance Space – with a free festival of dance 16-22 July.

From an invitation to a collision of hip-hop, ceilidh and maypole; to a chance to take to the runway and strike a pose, Our City Dances 2022 is a smorgasbord of free dance performances, workshops and have-a-go classes, offering a taste of what’s to come in the space from September.

Designed by award-winning architects shedkm, and realised with the support of Brighton & Hove City Council, National Lottery funding awarded through Arts Council England, and a host of private donors, The Dance Space is a stunning state of the art, contemporary, steel-clad working dance studios, located in the new Circus Street development in the heart of Brighton & Hove.

Providing much-needed creation, rehearsal and performance space for professional dance artists, and presenting a year-round programme of dance classes, workshops and events for the whole community, The Dance Space is a sustainable building for a green city too – one of only 10% of new builds in the UK awarded a BREAAM rating of excellent for its environmental

To celebrate the public opening, South East Dance is presenting a very special edition of its annual celebration of dance Our City Dances. Taking place for the very first time inside and just
outside The Dance Space in its open-air Events Square, Our City Dances 2022 is a week-long festival of free performances, events, workshops and taster classes in everything from Children’s Classical Indian to Rumba Latina, showcasing the diversity of dance.

Highlights of Our City Dances 2022 include:

• Folk Dance Remixed – Saturday 16 July from 12.30pm: Following a performance of Step Hop House, a fresh collision of hip-hop, clogging and ceilidh, join groundbreaking dance company Folk Dance Remixed to learn some street dance moves around a bespoke maypole, set to live music.

• Takeshi Matsumoto’s Club Origami – Sunday 17 July 11am: an immersive and interactive dance show made of paper and play for children under six and their families.

• New Way Vogue with Faye Revlon – Sunday 17 July 5.30pm: join Vogue dancer Faye Revlon to learn some of the basics of the New Way Voguing subculture first developed in 1980s, combining precision and elegance.

• Short & Sweet by Thick & Tight – Friday 22 July 7.30pm: A thoroughly modern variety show mixing dance, drag, lip syncing and satire bringing a host of famous and infamous characters to life, including Sid Vicious, Grace Jones and Elaine Paige.

For a full run down of all performances, workshops, classes and visit the Our City Dances 2022 event page here.

Cath James, Artistic Director at South East Dance, says: “More than a decade in fundraising, a huge amount of hard work and much appreciated support, not forgetting the impact of a global pandemic, has led us to this point and we are so happy to finally welcome the people of Brighton & Hove inside The Dance Space. Our vision for this building is based on welcome and inclusivity. We want it to be a place where every body will feel welcome to create, experience and take part in and develop a relationship with dance that brings them joy and feeds their soul. We can’t wait to see you at Our City Dances 2022 and at classes and performances at The Dance Space in the months and years to come.”

Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, says: “I had the immense pleasure of working with the late Chief Executive of South East Dance, Jamie Watton, to turn the dream of a home for dance excellence in the city into a reality. A key part of the exciting rebirth of Circus Street, a once derelict brownfield site has been transformed. The bold design and central location of the space will add much to the city’s visitor profile, cultural offer and economy. I know the team at South East Dance has a place for all communities at The Dance Space and, as well as inspiring existing dance artists, will extend a warm welcome to everyone wishing to give dance a go.”