Nearly 500 dance industry movers and shakers all descended to the Royal Society of Medicine in the heart of London to welcome a new UK body for dance.
One Dance UK is the result of a merger between Dance UK, Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, Youth Dance England and the National Dance Teachers Association.
It is a “one stop shop” for support services for the dance sector aiming to provide services for young people dancing, teachers and training institutions, as well as for professional dancers, choreographers, companies and producers.
The organisation has been created to provide a single more powerful voice for dance, a central knowledge hub, professional development opportunities and performance platforms to nurture talent, and strategic initiatives that will benefit the entire dance sector.
The name One Dance UK was selected following extensive stakeholder, industry and staff consultation. The new charity reflects the UK-wide reach of the new organisation, underlines the unity of its voice and celebrates the synergy that more than 130 years of combined experience will bring to the future of dance in the UK.
After five years of planning, these four bodies have come together as one to support the dance sector across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Arts Council England's Deputy Chief Executive, Althea Efunshile, said that the One Dance UK coalition "will benefit the whole industry".
The launch included presentations focussing on some of the key programmes that One Dance UK will deliver in its first three years.
Among these are: the national youth dance festival - U.Dance - which will be expanded and presented at The Lowry in Salford in July 2016, over £145,000 investment in leadership development benefitting dancers and teachers, a national conference for choreographers in 2016, professional development opportunities and performance platforms for artists working in dance of the African diaspora, and a new flagship exhibition and digital platform to be launched in 2018 to celebrate the last 70 years of history of British dance called Dancing Britain.
At the launch event, a wide range of well-known people from the dance world and beyond spoke backing the vision, including Arlene Phillips, Alistair Spalding, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, and Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Althea Efunshile. Arlene Phillips herself becomes a Patron.
There was also the announcement that One Dance UK will relocate from London to another part of the UK.
The creation of One Dance UK is the result of demand from the dance sector for more joined-up working, and responds to the findings of a number of industry reports and surveys. It has been funded by Arts Council England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.