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Preview: Dancers prepare to impress the North East

Dance performances galore are taking place in Newcastle while Whitley Bay is Breakin' Conventions

The Eliot Smith Dance Company
The Eliot Smith Dance Company

May is shaping up to be a month of dance in the North East and that’s not just because Dirty Dancing is packing them in at the Theatre Royal.

Dance City, which has a full programme of dance events scheduled from now until the summer, presented the renowned Hofesh Shechter Company at the weekend with their piece In Good Company.

Coming up on Thursday is a chance to spot new talent when the Newcastle dance venue hosts Fresh, the company of budding dancers and choreographers from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds.

They will be at Dance City all day but there will be a public performance at 7pm when the dancers will perform and then answer questions.

The organisers see it as a good opportunity for youngsters who fancy a dance career to find out what that entails.

Find booking details for the event online at www.dancecity.co.uk

This weekend a guest dancer will be adding an Italian spin to performances in Newcastle by the Eliot Smith Dance Company.

The company, based at Blackfriars Hall on New Bridge Street – officially Blackfriars @ The Ouseburn – was set up by Smith, a graduate of the London Contemporary Dance School, in 2012 .

You can see it in action on Friday and Saturday at St Dominic’s Priory, Newcastle, as part of The Late Shows which sees cultural venues across Newcastle and Gateshead opening late. The audience will see the solo work, After The Rite, which will feature a new section called Love which is to be performed by Eliot’s dance friend from Italy, Gemma Paganelli.

The performances, at 8.45pm on each evening, will form part of a programme of events at St Dominic’s called Angelic Light which will also feature live organ music, art exhibitions, stories, poetry and songs.

After their performance the dancers will lead a candlelit tour of the church and the evening will end with a service of night prayer and organ music performed by Dominic White and Michael Johnstone.

Newcastle-born Eliot, who teaches a contemporary dance style pioneered by the late American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, will also be holding free classes (though space is limited) from 12.30pm-1.30pm on May 13 and 11am to 12 noon on May 15 and 16.

For more about the company, visit www.eliotsmithcompany.com

On May 24, Playhouse Whitley Bay Whitley Bay will be the venue for a different sort of dance expression.

Breakin’ Convention, the international festival of hip hop dance theatre, is stopping off – for its first and only local date – at the seaside theatre. The annual festival, produced by Sadler’s Wells in London, features high energy performances by UK and international companies but local talents have also signed up for the north performance.

Hosted and curated by UK hip hop theatre artist Jonzi D, it will showcase Olivier Award-nominated ILL-Abilities, an international group of b-boys who have overcome challenges and are spreading the message “no excuses, no limits” to highlight the possibilities for disabled people. Also featured will be Ukweli Roach’s ensemble performance about temptation and vice and a piece by French company Wanted Posse.

For ticket information, call 0844 248 1588 or visit www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk

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