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Heritage Project - Finding Paths, Breaking Ground

The ADAD Heritage projects aim to make a distinctive contribution to collecting, conserving, interpreting and narrating the history and heritage that informs the work of Black dancers in contemporary Britain.

Photographic Exhibition - The First Exhibition on Black Dance in Britain

15th January 2007 - 31 July 2007
Peepul Centre
Orchardson Avenue, Leicester, LE4 6DP
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This Black History Season, ADAD will collaborate with The Theatre Museum to present a groundbreaking photographic exhibition representing the presence of black dance in Britain over seven decades under consideration.  A small sample of key artists and companies will be featured as the whole panorama would be impossible to cover in the limited space available.  So these snapshots of evolving success will, we hope, be the first of many more attempts to cover the territory in greater detail and with more focused issues identified.  The intention on this occasion is to include as wide a range of crucial performers and strategically significant companies as is possible in the space and thereby identify critically-important contributions that have been made to the development of black dance in its many definitions in the 70 or so years at which we are looking.
Photographs have been sourced from leading photographers such as Roger Wood, Baron, Dee Conway. Chris Nash and Anthony Crickmay; as well as the archives of the Theatre Museum, Laban, National Resource Centre for Dance and the New York Public Library.  Some, from private collections will be exhibited for the first time.

The exhibition will look at the following strands of Black Dance history:-

Buddy Bradley and Jack Buchanan in rehearsal; 1934; Photographer John Vickers The discussion of how visiting international artists from the Americas and Africa influenced the development of Black Dance in Britain. Material will focus on the work of Buddy Bradley who choreographed numerous musicals in the West End including the hit movie Evergreen in 1934 and Katherine Dunham the Choreographer, Anthropologist, Author and Activist whose company had two successful tours in England in the 1940s and 1950s.
Pam Johnson; Northern School of Contemporary Dance; 1989; Photographer, Terry Cryer A look at some of the highly talented Black dance pioneers such as Lenwood Morris, Namron, Cathy Lewis, Paul Liburd, Carol Straker, Brenda Edwards, Corrine Bougaard, Mikloth Bond, Sheron Wray and Kenneth Tharpe who danced with mainstream companies such as Rambert Dance Company, London Contemporary Dance Theatre and English National Ballet in the 1970s and 1980s.
MAAS Movers in Rehearsal; 1979; Photographer, Dee Conway

The development of Black Dance companies that had a significant impact on the formation of what is known as The African People’s Dance (APD) sector and the nation’s debates and discussions of the time that led to the formation of these companies. Organisations such as Minorities Arts Advisory Service (MAAS) and the contribution by the Manpower Service to the formation of notable dance companies such as MAAS Movers, Ekome, Adzido and Kokuma. As well as the initiatives to reach out to the young boys in inner-city Leeds which led to the formation of Phoenix Dance Company in the 1980s.

Jiving Lindy Hoppers , Image Courtesy Jiving Lindy Hoppers

A final look at other key dance companies that have shaped Black British Dance history and have been involved in the current discussion on what is Black Dance in Britain. These companies include: - Carl Campbell Dance Company, IRIE! Dance Theatre, Jiving Lindy Hoppers, Delado, JazzXchange, Bullies Ballerinas, Badejo Arts, RJC, and Union Dance Company and the early pioneers of the British Break dance scene.

An events programme will run alongside the exhibition, consisting of a series of oral history sessions, dance workshops and performances as well as an evening of dance on film. These events will be hosted by some of the dance practitioners featured. ADAD hopes the exhibition will encourage more similar projects aimed at documenting the contribution of these amazingly skilled dance artists to Britain’s cultural history.

A booklet will be published in 2007 which will have more information on the underlying exhibition themes, transcripts of interviews and oral history sessions with some of the dancers featured.

The exhibition is funded by:-

Media Partner:-

For further information contact: