Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Global dance project hits Handsworth

Breathe the Beat, a global digital dance project developed by dance powerhouse DanceXchange (dx), has announced it will be stopping off in Handsworth on July 22nd as part of its roadshow tour. 

The free roadshow is one of twelve scheduled to take place across the West Midlands as part of celebrations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The roadshow is part of the free Simmer Down Festival in Handsworth Park at the height of summer.

Presented by The Drum in partnership with Perry Barr Arts Forum, the event will also feature music from Soweto Kinch specially commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet for the event. Also performing will be internationally-acclaimed Jamaican reggae artists and UK-based acts including Aswad, Stereo Nation and Brothers of Soul.

Each Breathe the Beat roadshow will showcase local talent, performances from professional dance companies and be fronted by Breathe the Beat artists, and two of the world’s leading street dancers, Brooke and Roxy from the award-winning Plague Dance Crew. Applications are now open for talented local dancers, from breakdancing to bhangra, to perform at the event and take their place on stage alongside the professionals.

David Massingham, DanceXchange Artistic Director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the wealth of dance talent here in the West Midlands, with high quality community and youth dance through to professional dance companies representing the best the region has to offer. And we hope that everyone watching will be encouraged to get involved in workshops and on stage, whatever your dance experience.”

In August 2011 the Breathe the Beat website was launched featuring step-by-step video tutorials for budding dancers from internationally-renowned hip-hop dance artist Salah (pictured above). The website offered the chance for anyone to upload videos of their own performances with the best performer winning the opportunity to meet Salah himself and perform at one of the Breathe the Beat roadshows. The competition is now closed but has received entries from around the globe, from Uzbekistan to the US with the tutorials themselves being viewed over 500,000 times. The winner, chosen by Salah himself, was James Jimenez from the USA, who will travel to the UK in October to meet Salah and watch him perform.

Breathe the Beat is part of Dancing for the Games, which is inspired by London 2012 and part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands. It has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, which is creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK, as well as Arts Council England and Advantage West Midlands.

To find out more about applying to perform, or for more information about the roadshows, please visit

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