More than 3,000 dancers are being recruited to take part in spectacular celebrations across the UK for Rugby League World Cup 2013.
The dancers will be led and inspired by Jeanefer Jean-Charles, who was part of the team who delivered the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, and one of the country’s most exciting young choreographers, James Wilton. Together they’re creating a new piece of work which will be unveiled at the Opening Ceremony in Cardiff on October 26. The new dance will combine the work of 50 elite dancers and 500 community dancers from across the UK.
James said: “Having grown up playing lots of sport and always having had a particular fondness of Rugby League, both as a spectator and a player, I am thrilled to be selected as choreographer for the Elite Dance Performance of the RLWC2013 Opening Ceremony.
“My dance style is very much influenced by my background in sport and it is fantastic for me to go full circle and bring my work to a sport audience. I aim to create a work that leaves audiences as on the edge of their seat as the final minutes of a close game.”
Jeanefer Jean-Charles has spent the past fortnight appointing dance practitioners to work with groups of both experienced and new dancers in communities around the country. Within a week of auditions getting underway nine groups in the North West had already signed up and that enthusiasm is being mirrored across the UK.
RLWC2013 Dance Programme Artistic Director, Jeanefer Jean-Charles said: “I’m very familiar with getting non dancers to buy into projects. Someone will come along and say I really want to be in this but I’ve got two left feet, and by the end of the project they find they’ve got a right and a left foot and they feel good about themselves. It will never happen again in this way and you’ll always be able to say I was there, just like the Olympics.”
The programme also includes the development of a viral dance logo, created by Pete Shenton and Tom Roden from New Art Club, an award winning dance and physical comedy duo, which will be launched via YouTube at the beginning of October.
It’s already catching on in communities who’ve had a sneak preview and is an opportunity for spectators in the stands to get up and join in.
The million pound project, which is supported by Arts Council England through their Grants for the Arts programme, Wooden Spoon, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government, will give a once in a lifetime opportunity for thousands of dancers to perform.
As well as the Opening Ceremony there will be dance performances at all the matches in England and Wales across the tournament. The whole project is being managed by Grand Visionary Solutions, who have over 45 years experience of delivering large scale dance and public engagement projects.
June Gamble, Grand Visionary Solutions: said “It’s tremendously exciting to be working with RLWC2013 to be delivering a project that at the same time as offering thousands of people life changing opportunities brings tournament audiences, thrilling and spectacular world class entertainment.”
Sally Bolton, RLWC2013 General Manager, said: “It is fantastic for the tournament that we have been successful in developing a huge dance programme to sit alongside the sporting contest which will grip the nation this October and November.
“We are aiming to create a real festival atmosphere at all our events, and none more so than the Opening Ceremony. The dance programme is really capturing the imagination of the country, and who knows? We may see the odd famous face joining in on the day. I think spectators will be really wowed by what they see and hear at Cardiff on October 26. For both the dance and the Rugby League, it will be a day not to be missed.”