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Alvin Ailey Dance Theater’s Rehearsal Director to inspire UK CAT students

02 Aug 2016

One of the world’s best dance companies set to inspire some of the UK’s best dance students

Dance Consortium and DanceEast are working in a new partnership to deliver the ‘Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Centres for Advance Training Intensive’ from 30 August to 2 September 2016

For the first time Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will work with gifted and talented young dancers from Centres for Advanced Training across the UK, in a new partnership between Dance Consortium and DanceEast.

Dance Consortium is a group of 17 large-scale venues that work together to bring the very best of international contemporary dance to the UK. DanceEast, based at the Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich, presents performances by some of the UK’s best companies, provides support for professional artists, opportunities for everyone in the east to engage with high quality dance experiences and is home to one of ten National Centres for Advance Training in Dance.

The four-day intensive, from 30 August to 2 September 2016, for 45 young dance students (mainly 16 & 17 years of age) will build on a strong relationship between Dance Consortium and the world-famous and world-class Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. DanceEast will host the intensive and is working on the behalf of the ten National Centres for Advanced Training in Dance (CATs) Partnership.

This unique artistic exchange will mark the first time Dance Consortium has undertaken a talent development programme for young people in partnership with DanceEast and one of its visiting international dance companies. All ten Centres for Advanced Training will take part: DanceEast CAT (Ipswich); Dance City CAT (Newcastle); The Lowry CAT (Salford); Northern Ballet Academy (Leeds); CAT at Northern School of Contemporary Dance (Leeds); Dance4 CAT (Nottingham); DanceXchange Centre for Advanced Dance Training (Birmingham); The Place CAT, including London Youth Circus National Centre for Circus Art; Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance CAT (Greenwich, London); and Swindon Dance – Youth Dance Academy (Swindon).

Each CAT manager identified five students most likely to benefit from the intensive. The participating students will take daily class focusing on the Horton Technique, learn Ailey repertoire and choreography, discuss the history of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and work towards a sharing in front of an invited audience on Friday 2 September. After the intensive, the students will feedback their experiences to their CAT cohort.

With thanks to Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Artistic Director, the intensive will be led by the company’s Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist Matthew Rushing. Immediately after the intensive, Rushing will join the Company at London’s Sadler’s Wells for the start of its Dance Consortium presented UK tour from 6 September to 19 October 2016.

The intensive will offer the next generation of dance artists an exceptional experience with a world-class dance company and will promote an international perspective on diversity and the legacy of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for contemporary dance.

Matthew Rushing, Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, said: As a young dancer, I was moved by the breathtaking performances of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and its incredible dancers, with whom I studied.  After performing around the world with the Company for over two decades, and working with Judith Jamison and Robert Battle and all the amazing artists of Ailey, it gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned with some of the best dance students in the UK. What a privilege it is to be a part of passing on a legacy of inspiration to the next generation of performing artists.”

Ros Robins, Executive Director of Dance Consortium, said:In addition to bringing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater to the UK in the autumn, we are thrilled the company’s Rehearsal Director Matthew Rushing has agreed to work with 45 young people from across the country during the intensive. This is a unique opportunity for some of the UK’s best dance students to be coached by one of the world’s best dance companies.”

Robins continued: On behalf of the consortium and our partners DanceEast, I’d like to thank the company’s artistic director Robert Battle for supporting our aim to develop home-grown talent in conjunction with presenting the very best of international contemporary dance. We hope this intensive will be the first of many and for the young people who take part, hope that they leave feeling inspired and enlightened as they move ever closer to a career in dance.”

DanceEast is dedicating its home the purpose-built Jerwood DanceHouse on Ipswich’s Waterfront, to the intensive. DanceEast’s expertise excels in running professional, community and participatory programmes, including international residencies such as Rural Retreats and one of the larger CAT programmes with over 80 young people.

Brendan Keaney, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of DanceEast, and Chair of the National Dance CATs Partnership, said: We are really proud to be hosting this event and incredibly grateful to both Dance Consortium and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater for making it happen. The Jerwood DanceHouse is an extraordinary facility, the perfect environment to work, learn and be creative. This is such a great opportunity for the young people who attend the different CATs throughout the country. They won’t simply be learning from a remarkable dance company, they will also be exchanging with each other. This is an opportunity to focus on the great achievements of the CAT schemes that are transforming the technical standards of young dancers across England.

DanceEast will also arrange transport, accommodation (with thanks to the Royal Hospital School), catering, evening activities and a musician for daily classes, workshops and the final day’s informal sharing.

Directly after the intensive, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater tours to 10 venues across the UK. The tour reaches Scotland and Wales and every English region except the East, so locating the intensive in the East of England extends Dance Consortium’s and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s geographical reach.