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£5m backing to create new Birmingham Dance Hub

Arts Council England throws support behind three-year project to create new dance academy and performance space in the city centre

A new dance hub is to be developed in Birmingham after being awarded £5 million in funding from Arts Council England.

The money for the Birmingham Dance Hub was originally proposed by then Chancellor George Osborne in his 2015 Autumn Statement.

A total of £3 million will be invested over the next three years into the development of production and administrative space for dance artists and organisations with the remaining £2 million supporting additional dance activity.

The new space will be based at the Birmingham Hippodrome theatre, subject to a feasibility study, and will include a large studio, office spaces and meeting rooms that will connect to studio, performance and social spaces within the wider complex.

The vision for the facility, which is also home to Birmingham Royal Ballet, DanceXchange, and the Dance Consortium, is one of a shared space for the Birmingham dance sector and the public.

The dance hub partnership has developed a range of projects, performances and activities which will celebrate the diversity of the city and include a wide range of dance forms from ballet, contemporary and hip hop, to South Asian and African.

It will deliver dance classes, projects in schools, professional performances, community and social dance projects and talent development programmes.

A range of outdoor work and festival activity with a focus on international dance will also be on offer.

Peter Knott, area director for Arts Council England, said: "As the nation's developer of arts and culture, we want to invest in bold schemes.

"The Birmingham Dance Hub promises to be just that, enticing audiences and enhancing the city's reputation.

"When artists and creatives think of a great place to locate their practice, we want them to recognise Birmingham and the wider city region as the place to choose.

"We are proud to support the dance hub and we will continue to work with the wider partnership to develop these exciting and ambitious plans."

Dorothy Wilson, chairman of development agency Culture Central, added: "This is exciting news and the dance hub has the potential to be an extraordinary place that will make dance central to people's lives in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond.

"Although there is still much to do to move this dream to reality, the partnership can now begin to unlock a wealth of new opportunities, building on the city's rich artistic and cultural reputation."

The Birmingham Dance Hub partnership is a made up of organisations such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome, mac birmingham, Birmingham City University and ACE Dance and Music.

Culture Central will be recruiting a director in the next few weeks to support and lead the project.

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