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Press Release: A Ballerina, a break dancer and a 10 year old boy launch the Big Dance Pledge - a chance for the whole world to dance

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Scottish Ballet Professional and Community dancers launch the worldwide Big Dance Pledge as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.



WHO             Scottish Ballet dancer Bethany Kingsley-Garner  - dressed in tutu and pointe shoes, Community break-dancer Wils McAslan, and 10 year old John Matthew Ramos, star of the Big Dance Pledge film revealed exclusively today (14.01.14)


WHERE         Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Steps, Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G2 3NY


WHEN          Tuesday 14 January 2014 at 10am             


WHY             To launch The Big Dance Pledge 2014, and the first chance to learn, make and perform dance with the rest of the world.


Over 200,000 people in over 2,000 locations in countries across the world are expected to learn the Big Dance Pledge 2014 – a dance routine to be performed simultaneously across the globe on 16 May 2014.  Today the routine is revealed for the first time with free online videos to help anyone learn the dance, or make their own unique version.  The choreography and resources have been created by Scottish Ballet, commissioned by Big Dance and Get Scotland Dancing as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.


This special 5th edition is created by Scottish Ballet with fun and celebration at its heart, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme of the XX Commonwealth Games.    Devised for people of all ages and abilities and with a variety of dance styles included – from ballet to bhangra.  Participants are encouraged to perform their own interpretation of the dance – whether that be hip-hop or folk, or inspired by their own community or country national dance styles.


As well as a ‘how-to-do-the-dance’ video tutorial; a specially commissioned short film has been released – a first for Big Dance.  Created by Heather Eddington, the film shot on location in Glasgow features a very unique Scottish ‘family’ featuring dancers from Scottish Ballet’s professional company and community groups, from mixed ability group Indepen-Dance and from local Pollokshaws school St Albert’s Primary – where the exciting talents of young dancer John Matthew Ramos and his class mates were first discovered.


In Scotland, hundreds of schools, community groups and workplaces will be learning and performing the Big Dance Pledge as part of the Get Scotland Dancing programme.  Big Dance in the UK is delivered by the Greater London Authority and the Foundation for Community Dance, with the Big Dance Pledge as an annual project.


With support from the British Council, school children around the world will be able to learn the Scottish Ballet choreographed dance and participate in the Big Dance Schools Pledge through the British Council’s Schools Online website. The British Council also plan to provide step by step guides for Commonwealth schools on how to take part, alongside additional teaching resources that will provide an introduction to dance. 


Watch The Big Dance Pledge feature film, how-to film, and responses from other dance groups including Bollywood, street dancers and belly dancers here: www.bigdance.org.uk


Notes for Editors


This original choreography was created by Scottish Ballet Education Officer Lorraine Jamieson, and takes some inspiration from the Highland Games.  An original music track has been created by musician Dave Boyd. 


Catherine Cassidy, Associate Director Education Scottish Ballet said:  The Big Dance Pledge is a wonderful way for Scottish Ballet to engage with thousands of people across the world. We wanted to create a lively, exciting dance which used percussion and dynamic movements to get people moving and having fun together.”


Photocall participant John Matthew Ramos said: “I learned many things from this experience including some funky dance moves. I enjoyed working with professional dancers. I felt a wee bit shy in front of the cameras but the dance teacher told me not to give up and made me believe I could do it. I loved it!”


Local primary school head teacher Clare Harker, whose pupils participated in the making of the films, said: “At St Albert’s we are always looking for interesting and new experiences for our pupils. All pupils were very supportive when John Matthew and Alisha were chosen to appear in the film. Working with Scottish Ballet was a motivating context for learning and I hope the Big Dance Pledge inspires us to bring more dance into school.”


Photocall participant Wils McAslan said: “In my role of Movement Facilitator at Indepen-Dance I enjoyed the creative and nurturing ways to express ourselves while interpreting the Big Dance Pledge.  We all had a lot of input in the development of the Pledge, and as you can see from the film we all had a blast!”



Big Dance Pledge

The Big Dance Pledge is an annual international initiative, allowing anyone to learn, create and perform dance with groups from around the world. Free online resources allow anyone to learn or teach the dance, or create their own version, then share them and perform simultaneously. The simultaneous performance day is 16 May 2014, with worldwide performances at 1pm and 7pm. Previous Big Dance Pledges have been choreographed by renowned international artists and companies including Wayne McGregor and English National Ballet, with over 300,000 in 53 countries taking part. www.bigdance.org.uk


Big Dance

The Big Dance Pledge is an annual project of Big Dance. Big Dance is the biennial festival of participatory dance delivered by the Foundation for Community Dance and the Mayor of London and is supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, Arts Council Wales and British Council. The Big Dance programme of events is delivered locally by 16 major organisations including: Dance City, Dance South West, Dance4, DanceEast, Dancefest, Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, East London Dance, English National Ballet, Greenwich Dance, Merseyside Dance Initiative, Sadler's Wells, Siobhan Davies Dance, South East Dance and Yorkshire Dance. www.bigdance.org.uk


Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet is Scotland’s national dance company. 


At Scottish Ballet education is everywhere; engaging with community groups of all ages and abilities across Scotland, the UK and internationally. From community performances of Hansel and Gretel in rural woodland areas to Parkour and ballet projects in the park and on the beach; the company breaks down barriers and opens its doors to everyone.


A vibrant and experienced Education team work creatively with Artistic Director Christopher Hampson to produce a programme of activities which complement the Company repertoire. Since his arrival in September 2012 the importance of the Education programme has increased considerably with his direct support and clear commitment to a dynamic and excellent access programme. www.scottishballet.co.uk


Get Scotland Dancing

Get Scotland Dancing aims to encourage more people to get active and participate in dance. The 2014 Commonwealth Games provides an unparalleled opportunity to raise the profile of dance as a creative, participative and physical artform. In support of this Scottish Government policy, Creative Scotland will commit £1.5 million across a four-year period, creating an inclusive celebration of dance across Scotland, linking into the wider UK and marking Scotland’s place in the world. For more information on Get Scotland Dancing visit www.getscotlanddancing.org


Culture 2014

The Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme is a national celebration. Culture 2014 will showcase dance, theatre, music, visual arts, comedy and much more in the run up to and after the Commonwealth Games, with Festival 2014 transforming the Host City at Games time. The Cultural Programme is a partnership between the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Glasgow Life and Creative Scotland. www.glasgow2014.com/culture


British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.


We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which last year was £781m.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world. www.britishcouncil.org.



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