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This year is the 21st Anniversary of the founding of ACE dance and music. ACE is a professional touring dance company that performs in our home city of Birmingham as well as touring nationally and internationally. We are recognised leaders in the field of Contemporary African and Caribbean Dance and our signature style is Afro-fusion – dance rooted in traditional forms and yet expressed through a purely contemporary lens. This vibrant company have always placed dance at the heart of what they do. As they have grown and developed they have prioritised creating opportunities for young people and the wider community to participate in African dance and music, whatever their ability. As well as running a thriving class programme for adults and children from 2-17 years they work with schools and universities to provide outreach and CPD courses as well as being an Arts Award Centre. ACE have, working closely with Arts Council England this year created their Black Choreographic project – Navigate to identify and develop emerging black choreographic talent The company are committed to signposting pathways for young people to progress and membership of ACE Youth is the pinnacle of this progression. Many ACE Youth alumni have gone on to study at the countries best contemporary dance conservatoires and many others have gained careers in music, media and the arts as a result of gaining experience and confidence in the company. In true ACE style we celebrated our 21st Anniversary with a fundraising Gala which gave us a chance to showcase how far we have come and to show that the best is yet to come.
The Dancing in Aston and Newtown with ACE project, more affectionately known as DIANNA brought its unique introductory and progressive programme of dance and music to 485 children aged 8-16 across north Birmingham. ACE dance teachers brought the power of dance directly into schools during term time at a time when timetabled dance is under threat from dwindling educational funding. The project continued to grow in engagement with 157 seniors getting involved in last year’s Leeds West Indian Carnival, helping to produce costumes that helped our dancers’ bag ‘Best Troupe’ award for third time. The DIANNA project was a fantastic success, showing just how incredibly powerful dance is at engaging hearts and minds.