Feature: Greenwich Dance Agency - the first 10 years
Greenwich Dance Agency – the first 10 years
From cutting edge high tech. installations to tea dances, Greenwich Borough Hall sees it all…
2003 marks the 10th Anniversary of Greenwich Dance Agency and a decade of professional and community dance activity in South East London.
Brendan Keaney, gDA’s Director promises a series of events through 2003, including in July a Lindy Hop weekend party, which will celebrate not only the class members and their chosen dance form, but the 1930’s Greenwich Borough Hall which is gDA’s home.
The Autumn, will see a series of show cases of the professional dance artists based at Greenwich, including Retina Dance Company.
Serving the Professional Dance Community
gDA has built up an extensive support and development facility for the professional dance community and over its 10 year history has become one of the most valued resources in London for professional dancers and emerging and established contemporary dance companies.
Last year there were over 4,500 attendances at it’s programme of daily classes and professional development forums, workshops and seminars.
Many of the UK’s brightest choreographic talents, among them Michael Clark, Akram Khan, Wayne McGregor, Jonathan Burrows and Finn Walker have chosen gDA and its flexible spaces as their rehearsal and research base for making new work. The opportunity for companies to give work-in-progress performances at gDA to invited or public audiences is another of gDA’s valued contributions to the development of new dance works in the UK.
In recent years gDA has hosted some of the most adventurous commissions seen in the capital as part of Dance Umbrella. Last year Shobana Jeyasingh’s [h] Interland, which included a live webcast from Bangalore, was made specifically for the Borough Hall, gDA’s home.
Developing a Community of Dance
The belief that everyone can dance and should have the opportunity to develop
their skills has been at the heart of gDA. Since 1993 it has been reaching dance
enthusiasts from every walk of life and creating some new ones. The community
and public dance programmes have grown steadily in scope and popularity. Today
gDA classes have over 9,500 attendances each year by local adults and young people.
The Borough Hall, gDA’s home for 10 years is a historic civic building kept alive
and kicking with dance activity every day of the week.
The main hall has been the perfect setting for the dynamic programme of community
dance activity that has consistently engaged with the history, future and ethnic
diversity of dance culture. As well as a mind-boggling array of public classes
including Egyptian, Flamenco, Irish, Latin, Tap, Hip-Hop, Breakdancing, Bollywood
or Capoiera – gDA has hosted authentic 1940’s Harlem jazz club revivals, traditional
tea dances, futuristic installations, live webcast performances and cutting edge
contemporary dance works.
The agency’s outreach programme has taken dance classes and workshops off site and into many community institutions. Two dedicated community dance coordinators have built up a strong and enthusiastic network of dance lovers throughout Greenwich’s old people’s homes, mental health organisations and mainstream and special needs schools.
Looking to the next 10 years, Brendan Keaney hopes to see the organisation grow in stature rather than size. “One of our great strengths is that we are small! That way we can stay flexible and responsive”. So with no grand plans for expansion, it looks like Greenwich Borough Hall will continue to be enlivened with dance – Bollywood, street, jazz, contemporary, Egyptian… you name it.
more on gDA’s website: