Edge Hill University Undergraduate Dance Company members back stage at The Lowry, ready to perform Pink Narcissus with Thick and Tight dance company in February 2020.  © Nick Fairhurst

The exceptional work that Edge Hill students see, perform in and produce is being showcased as part of a special virtual online festival to mark this year’s International Dance Day. 

While the current Covid-19 pandemic has halted plans for events, the University decided to celebrate in a different way and on Wednesday April 29 Edge Hill will join the rest of the world in an all-day celebration of dance by drawing on highlights from its recent programme online.  

The Arts Centre, which provides one of the most vibrant, eclectic and diverse programmes of dance in the region, will present the work of nationally and internationally-renowned dance artists, offering students the opportunity to collaborate on new projects and perform alongside professional companies.  

Throughout the day The Arts Centre and Performing Arts Department will be sharing films, images and stories about the importance of dance and its power to change lives, and the vital role that Edge Hill University plays in inspiring the next generation of dance professionals. 

Dr Cathy Butterworth, Arts Manager at Edge Hill University, said: “We’re so proud of our dance programme at The Arts Centre; it reflects the huge range, diversity and quality of dance on the national and international stage, and offers a completely unique experience to students on our dance courses.  

“Our students gain an opportunity to see world class dance right on their doorstep and to work with professional companies from the minute they begin their course; the calibre of work produced by our students who go on to have successful careers across the dance sector is second to none. 

“We didn’t want to miss this opportunity to showcase all this amazing work virtually and we are delighted to be part of International Dance Day to celebrate the wealth of incredible work we have presented and produced at Edge Hill. 

“We are looking forward to the time when we can bring fantastic live performances back to our amazing venue, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy our online programme.” 

A promotional image for the Wicked Women production performed on campus in March 2020.

Since September, the venue has presented the work of more than 15 professional dance companies and artists including Company Chameleon, which led workshops, post-show discussions and dance analysis sessions for students around performances of The Shadow on campus and at HOME in Manchester.

Alongside performance, other exciting interdisciplinary dance and dance psychotherapy research activities have been carried out by the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, including a symposium and workshop exploring somatic movement and dance practices in healthcare, bringing together more than fifty dancers, academics and healthcare professionals from across the UK.

International Dance Day 2020 will also be a chance to highlight the incredible work of the Dance Team at Edge Hill University, shining a light on how their professional work gives insight and inspiration to students who go on to follow their own successful careers. 

Highlights of the virtual dance programme will include: 

· The premiere of Pink Narcissus, a dance film of the live performance by Thick & Tight and Edge Hill University Dance Companies EdgeFWD and 3rdEdge, commissioned by The Arts Centre and Edge Hill University Performing Arts Department in collaboration with Merseyside Dance Initiative for LEAP Festival 2019; 

· Dance films and documentation of work by local, national and international artists including Taciturn, Liz Lea, Protein Dance, Company Chameleon, Aakash Odedra and Laura Vanhulle; 

· Films of three brand-new exquisite works by our Edge Hill University Dance Students – Human HeardLUNA and When You Light a Candle, You Also Cast a Shadow choregraphed by Charlotte Broom, Beth Payton and Bettina Carpi; 

· Updates about Edge Hill’s dance graduates and their fantastic professional careers across the dance sector; 

· And an insight into the work produced by the University’s cutting edge, nationally and internationally-acclaimed Dance Team. 

Visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre from 11am on Wednesday April 29 to see how Edge Hill University is celebrating its place on the international dance scene, and follow us on social media for updates throughout the day: 

Twitter: @ArtscentreEHU and @EHUPerfArts  

Facebook: The Arts Centre EHU  

Instagram: artscentreEHU