Olympics keep dancer Emma on her toes

Emma Dunn and members of the Alnwick Youth Dance group.
Emma Dunn and members of the Alnwick Youth Dance group.

A DANCER from north Northumberland has been forging links for the Olympic celebrations in Alnwick – by travelling to Brazil.

Emma Dunn, who runs Dansformation in Alnwick, visited the Bale Popular do Recife, a Brazilian ballet company which also works in contemporary and folk dance, as part of the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and British Council-supported exchange.

And she hopes it will allow her to invite some professional Brazilian dancers over to Alnwick, tying in with the town’s Olympic celebrations in June, to inspire young performers of the future.

Emma said: “I travelled there to develop relations with Brazilian dance artists and companies hopefully leading to collaborations in 2012 and further with my dance company, Dansformation, in Alnwick.

“As the Olympics will be handed over to the Brazilians after the closing ceremony in London, I am building some relationships with the national leaders of Big Dance and hope for an Alnwick dance company to be part of that hand-over at the Brazilian Embassy.

“There’s a lot of work to do, but someone has got to do it.

“My trip to Brazil was supported by UKTI, to Recife then Rio de Janiero. I went on the market visit with 10 other companies from the North East of England who were looking to trade or set up businesses in Brazil. We were fortunate in our visit coinciding with foreign Minister Jeremy Brown opening the British Consulate so I got to meet many ambassadors. I met over 17 companies which work in contemporary and traditional dance and I have found out of those 17, two which I would like to work with in the future.

“Because the Olympics goes to Brazil after the UK there is scope for applying for funds from the British Council for Olympic Legacy funding for projects and developing relations with a country which has the fastest growing economy in the world. The country’s value on the arts is very strong and very well supported.

“Recife is in North East Brazil and I plan to set up a cultural exchange with artists from North East England and North East Brazil, beginning with my own projects of getting Brazilian dancers to come and work with my company in Alnwick.”

Emma added: “It was quite amusing describing Alnwick with tales of Harry Potter and fairies. I took my film show-reel with me, which included Native, a recent community dance project at Cragside House, and many other clips of work I have created in other site specific spots like Alnwick Gardens and Edlingham Castle. The Brazilians loved it and my company has been invited to perform at the International Danca Festival in Recife in 2012.”

Emma is also working on a new project Northumbriana, which aims to provide growth, training and a creative economy for the area.

She added: “I am working with local musician Alistair Anderson on developing the dances of Northumberland and closely with Jo Potts at Alnwick Playhouse on developing this project.”