Ten years ago, in partnership with the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Take Art organised the firstSpring Forward ‘platform’ – a countywide opportunity for youth dance groups to come together and perform on a professional stage to an audience and to each other. The platform, called Spring Loaded at the time, became an annual event and soon attracted hundreds of entries so it expanded across three and then four nights in subsequent years, joining forces with Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre to accommodate all the performances.
Now, to celebrate the vibrancy of youth dance in Somerset, Spring Forward Festival takes place throughout March, aiming to encourage children and young people of all ages from Somerset to engage with dance through a number of avenues. The broad festival programme offers unrivalled opportunities to perform on a professional stage, participate in master classes or workshops and watch world-class professional dance performances. There are also opportunities for those who teach dance to take part in training sessions led by dance professionals at the top of their game. In keeping with the festival’s ethos, young people have been integral in the planning from the start and are keen to run a strong social media campaign throughout the festival.
One particular festival highlight is the UK’s foremost dance company Motionhouse in a much-anticipated return to Somerset with a performance of their latest production, Broken, plus they will undertake a schools residency, plus offer workshops and training taking place at the Octagon Theatre.
Somerset venues taking part in Spring Forward Festival are the Octagon Theatre, Merlin Theatre, Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Halsway Manor, Regal Theatre and Taunton’s new Creative Innovation Centre, as well as Bridgwater College, Yeovil College, Bridgwater College Academy and Robert Blake Science College. In addition to making the most of the opportunities on offer in the festival programme, young people can also take part by hosting their own Spring Forward dance show at a school, village hall, community centre or any local venue.
Take Art’s Director of Dance, Katey Leader, said, “I’m really excited that Spring Forward has grown to be so popular that we’ve been able to fill a whole month with dance opportunities for children and young people across Somerset to get involved with. Anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter what level or style of dance they practise – there’s something for everyone in Spring Forward Festival. I hope to see the festival become an annual event, continuing to develop each year.”
To see the packed timetable of events take a look at the online programme below. For further details on how you can get involved in Spring Forward Festivalclick here. Dance in Somerset is truly flourishing!