Following on from the success of the mass dance in the Market Square in May, Sunday (7 July) saw 22 dance groups, schools and community groups take to the stage at the beautiful Darlington Hippodrome as part of the Darlington Dance Festival Association’s (DDFA) annual showcase event. To show everyone ‘this is me’ and celebrate equality for all through dance.

A fabulous display by local dancers was enjoyed by audiences over two shows, with a special opening by STAGE who really got the crowd going. STAGE is a very talented group of dancers who also have a learning disability and who showed us how important it is to be yourself and don’t let anything get in your way.

Joanne Scott, DDFA chairperson said: “This year’s theme was ‘This is me’, challenging Inequality, and we wanted to show how everyone can enjoy dance, no matter what your background. We want to encourage people to be comfortable in their own body, to recognise everyone is different. We want to celebrate that, IT’S OK TO JUST BE YOU!”

Sarah Small, DDFA treasurer added: “We had 22 groups involved this year including St Aidan’s C of E Academy, and the winners of this year’s Schools dance festival -Northwood Primary School, Whinfield Primary School, Mount Pleasant Primary School and Corporation Road Community Primary School. It was so special to see them perform as part of our showcase.”

This showcase and the mass dance are organised by the Darlington Dance Festival Association, a group of volunteers which has been going since 2011.

The Darlington Dance Festival is funded by contributions from local dance schools and through support from Darlington Borough Council, CBD Productions for providing the sound at the mass dance events, Scott Akoz Photography, Pauline Pentony Photography. Sponsorship support from Pearsons Design and Print who print flyers, programmes and help the association raise funding from the mass dance t-shirts.

Photos: Scott Akoz