Sunday, 20 March 2011

Young People Bring Dance Memories to Life

Young people from Wolverhampton and the Black Country are working hard to bring together an exhibition based on local memories of social dancing and dance halls, which will be shown at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery. The exhibition, entitled “And We Went Dancing…” will form part of a lasting legacy of Central Youth Theatre’s (CYT) Everybody Dance Now project.
The project is part of Dancing for the Games, part of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands, inspired by London 2012. As well as a city wide international youth theatre festival in August, the project includes the exhibition, an interactive web-based recreation of local dance halls and a documentary film exploring the history of Asian dance. The exhibition and website have been funded by the Young Roots scheme of the Heritage Lottery Fund, to help the young people find out about this important part of local history.
Throughout the past few months, members of CYT have met and interviewed over 100 locals, researching dance memories from the 1930s to the 1970s, and the decades in between. Joseph Twilley, 20, who is leading the team organising the exhibition says, “It’s incredible that so little reminiscence work has been done in this area – speaking to local people has shown us just how important these dance halls were to people. They were where you socialised, met your friends, and fell in love. We’ve had some amazing stories from people from all eras, and all the young people who have been involved so far have told me how much more connected they feel to the history of the town”.
CYT are now on the search for dynamic photographs of dance halls and dancing in Wolverhampton between the 1920s and 1970s. Joseph added, “What we need now, to bring these memories to life, are photographs. But we’ve really struggled to find any documentary pictures, particularly of the dance halls. We need people to search through their old photographs and get nostalgic!”.
If anyone has any suitable images of dancing days – the halls, the outfits or the dancing itself - they should contact Central Youth Theatre director, Jane Ward, at, telephone 01902 572091, or you can write to Central Youth Theatre, Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4AN. The youth theatre will make sure that all photos are cared for and returned to their owners.
The exhibition will be shown at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery from mid-July and during the festival week of 29th July to 6th August 2011.

For further information please contact Marketing Assistant Jessica Collings – or phone 01902 572091/07912647362

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