Leeds' new centre for dance makes National Lottery Award finals
Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre's new home in Leeds has reached the finals in the Best Arts Project category for the National Lottery Awards 2011, after a hugely successful public voting campaign which saw the building receive the most votes in its category.
The centre for dance was one of only ten projects from across the UK to have been short-listed for a Best Arts Project award in the annual search to find the UK's favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Both dance companies invited the public to vote for the building between 31 May and 20 June and received staggering support from their many friends and supporters.
A further round of public voting will take place in September to choose the winner. The three finalists will appear on a special BBC One show later in the year and the winner will be announced live, receiving a trophy and cash prize of £2,000.
Northern Ballet Chief Executive, Mark Skipper, said: "Everyone at Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Theatre is thrilled that people have been voting for us in the National Lottery Awards. To have been selected for the Award at all was fantastic, to have reached the finals has surpassed our hopes. We can't thank people enough for their support, it means a huge amount to both companies, to the young people in our academies and the wider community we work with."
The new purpose-built powerhouse for inventive dance, based on Quarry Hill in Leeds' cultural quarter, has received widespread praise since its opening in January 2011. Home to two of the country's most respected dance companies, activity in the building places dance at the heart of the local community and offers classes for anyone with an interest in dance: inspiring the dancers of the future through the companies' academies as well as providing a unique working space for members of both professional companies.
The building is one of the largest purpose-built spaces for dance outside London and has been supported by Leeds City Council, Arts Council England, Yorkshire, and Yorkshire Forward. It is unique in housing both a ballet and contemporary dance company. It comprises seven dance studios including the 230-seat Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre (Europe's biggest dance studio), wardrobe facilities, office space, meeting rooms and a public exhibition space.