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Animated Edition - Winter 2006
From the editor
Ken Bartlett, Director, Foundation for Community Dance
The New Year begins a period of celebration for community dance in the UK, with significant birthdays for key dance organisations embodying the best of community dance practice. Happy 30th birthday to Swindon Dance, Rubicon Dance and Ludus.

Thirty years of community dance is a good point to reflect on what we have achieved as individual practitioners, dance organisations and dance companies. The guiding principles of community dance have stood the test of time: we see time and again that every body can dance with intention and purpose; we know that participation in community dance has transformed the lives of millions of individuals and their communities; we know community dance has made a significant contribution to health and well-being; we have seen how, by participating in dance, people's self-esteem and confidence grows so that they are better able to engage with their communities.

We have influenced dance practice in other countries, which have gone on to develop their own unique manifestations of community dance. We have seen community dance practice influence practice in the professional concert sector and the development of the art form itself.

Which brings us to the focus of this issue: the community and education work of dance/performing companies in England. This work is often hidden from the wider public but is central to the work of many companies in engaging with and extending their audiences in new and important ways. Those featured are representative of only some of the work, demonstrating a range of approaches: RJC's apprenticeship scheme in the Chapeltown area of Leeds; Northern Ballet Theatre building new audiences through work with visually impaired people; Nikki McCretton making work for specific and new audiences and Shobana Jeyasingh's company challenging cultural stereotypes through its education work. Luca Sylvestrini reflects on his artistic journey through Alfresco, an intergenerational community piece commissioned by Yorkshire Dance in 2005; and Oliver Scott discusses the work of Mercurial Dance, an emerging company based in the West Midlands who are making their way without a major dependency on funding from Arts Council England.

We also feature Angela Praed, taking dance to audiences in their own homes and relearning her craft in relation to their responses; the community dance apprenticeship scheme at Rubicon Dance and a celebratory look back at thirty years of Ludus. To end, Charlotte Darbyshire tells the story of her journey to Bangladesh.

Have a very happy and confident New Year.

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Animated: Winter 2006