For one day only, the city’s finest dance organisations will come together to entertain, delight and get you moving.
After months of craving culture, all to no avail, you can finally get your fill again. And what better way to do it than with a festival of free events? The Leeds Dance Open Day takes over the city from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 19th September 2021. It’s a celebration of dance, arts and culture, with everything from child-friendly workshops to awe-inspiring performances.
Dance organisations from all over Leeds are coming together to put on a packed programme of events. In fact, there are over 50, giving you oodles of options and guaranteeing there’s something for everyone. Nothing of this scale has ever happened before in Leeds, and you don’t have to be a dance connoisseur to enjoy it, because it’s totally free and totally accessible.
Now for the good bit – what you can do! There are so many events lined up that we couldn’t possibly tell you about them all, so consider this a whistle-stop tour of the wonderful possibilities the Leeds Dance Open Day offers up, starting with the events everyone will love. Think cool performances, toe-tapping workshops and eye-opening talks!
Curious Playground is a must-see. It’s a technological, interactive performance from Mobius Dance, choreographed by Annie Hanauer and designed to immerse you in the experience. It’s fun and playful, unlike anything you’ve seen before, and will take over the entrance foyer at Leeds Playhouse at three different intervals, so you can fit it in around your plans.
While you’re there, why not take a Backstage Tour of Leeds Playhouse? They’re running throughout the day and will take you to all the hidden recesses the audience never sees, with stops in the wardrobe, props and production departments. Plus, there’s a sleepover-inspired performance by Union of Dance and a homage to hip hop from The Dance Studio Leeds.
Over at Northern Ballet, there are even more events to attend. You can hear all about Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Costumes as Emma James gives you the lowdown on how she creates a distinctive look for every show. Alternatively, check out Martha to Madonna, an over 50s dance workshop that will get you moving. This is proof that you’re never too old to dance!
There’s also an opportunity to see Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Film Programme. Made as part of their Digital Programme, it’s a creative response to the difficulties of the last year, and showcases the work of Black choreographers. Miguel Altunaga Jr, Kennedy Junior Muntanga and Carlos Martinez worked with dancers during lockdown to produce these films.
A quick hop, skip and a jump will bring you to Yorkshire Dance on St Peter’s Square, where you can try everything from ballet to ballroom, street dance to flamenco. And that’s not all! You can party at the Silent Disco or take a time out in their Quiet Space. And you simply mustn’t miss Afrobeats as they introduce you to the high-energy rhythms of urban African dance.
With so much going on in the city centre, you’d be forgiven for staying put but, trust us, it’s worth heading out to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. They’re running community dance sessions, modern jazz workshops and breakdance classes for adults, not to mention Saturday School and Youth Community Sessions designed to build confidence and get the kids dancing.
Because that’s another important part of Leeds Dance Open Day. They have loads of events for kids and families, so you can treat the little ones to a fabulous day out. Why not take them to Northern Ballet’s Merlin-inspired workshop and watch the story come to life through movement, music and magic? Or try the Pinocchio session, inspired by their new children’s ballet.
There’s a boys-only workshop for lads who don’t think dancing is for them and a Ballet for Children session that will give dance-curious youngsters a little taste of what they could learn. But really, the sky is your limit. Pop fusion, carnival dance, rhythm and tap – you name it, they’ve got it. You can even do a Parents and Tots session together, so everyone finds their groove.
All in all, the Leeds Dance Open Day is a sensational day out! There’s so much to do and so much to discover that you could easily stay all day, and because it’s totally free, you’ll come back happier and healthier but no poorer. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at the programme, decide what you want to do and get booked in. Or just show up on the day and dance!