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HUNDREDS of dancers will take to the streets of Darlington this weekend to celebrate the town’s annual Dance Festival.

Taking place over two days the festival will see a mix of professional and amateur dancers show off their routines and encourage as many people as possible to take to the dance floor.

The event is best known for the hugely popular Mass Dance, which will see more than 700 dancers from dance schools and community groups across the borough complete a routine they’ve been practising for weeks.

Organised by the Darlington Dance Festival Association, the theme of this year’s festival is Express Yourself, with the aim of promoting mental health wellbeing.

The timetable of the two-day event is as follows:

 

Saturday 19 May:

  • 10am-noon – Joseph Pease Place – dance performances from salsa dancers, Joanne Lowe School of Dance and STAGE
  • 11am-3pm – around the town centre – street performance artists as ballerinas

 

Sunday 20 May:

  • 1pm – Market Square – the new Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Veronica Copeland, will launch the day’s events in one of her first official engagements
  • 1pm – Market Square – the Mass Dance, choreographed by Debbie Harbin of the D project and Darrien Wright of Dance Wright Studios will be performed for the first time
  • 1.10pm-2pm – Market Square – dancers from Zumba Gold and Bionic Funk will perform, alongside specialists in salsa, latin and contemporary styles. The event will end with a second performance of the Mass Dance.

Joanne Scott, chair of the Dance Festival Association, said: “Darlington is so lucky to have an event like this that brings everyone together as one community. The market place is brought to life with such a buzz that the mass dance creates and this always amazes me.

“And this year is a chance to do something special at the same time and raise awareness of mental health issues and how dancing can have a positive impact on our wellbeing.”

Representatives from mental health charities The Samaritans and Step Forward Tees Valley will host information stalls in the Market Square on Sunday as part of the event.

The dance schools and groups taking part this year are Toni’s Academy of Dance, Tiffany School of Dance, Joanne Lowe School of Dance, STAGE, Hurworth Street Dance, Sonya Marie School of Dance , Texas Toe Tappers, Rachel Coad School of Dance, Happy Tappers,  Red Hall Dance Company, Pierremont School of Dance, Leaps and Beatz, Severn Performance Company,  Rachel Harrison School of Dance, Darlington Youth Theatre and Dance, Born To Dance, Darlington Dolls Cheers Squad, Inspire Beyond, Firthmoor Community Centre, Zumba Gold, Reid Street Primary School, Pierremont Methodist Church, St John’s Academy, Eastbourne Community Group and Dance Wright Studio.

The event is organised by Darlington Dance Festival Association, a voluntary group which comes together to get the town dancing.

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