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27 January 2016

Young people invited to take their places as dance project draws to a close

This special project has brought together young people from across Wiltshire to help them understand a key time in our history

Stuart Wheeler

Young people still have time to slip on their dancing shoes and join the final stages of a unique venture which brings WW1 to life.

The Dancing Back to 1914 project began in April 2015 attracting more than 80 young people to dance workshops exploring the popular dances from the 1910 - 1920 era.

As well as learning dance moves, the young people were taken on trips to the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre and The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum. They also performed the dances in front of more than 200 members of the community.

Wiltshire Council was awarded £34,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out the exciting project with further grants from local area boards in Tidworth, Salisbury and Bradford on Avon.

Now in its final few weeks, there are still opportunities to get involved in the weekly classes, extra activities or performances. One highlight is a theatre trip to see the show War Horse in London.

The project will come to a close with a performance of a WW1 tea dance to an invited audience at County Hall Trowbridge on 3 March. They will be accompanied by the Wiltshire Youth Orchestra while the audience is treated to tea and cake in traditional WW1 tea dance style on vintage china. There will also be exhibitions by Create Studios in Swindon and Wiltshire at War to complement the dancing.

Stuart Wheeler, cabinet member for heritage and arts said: "This special project has brought together young people from across Wiltshire to help them understand a key time in our history in a unique way."

I'm delighted there will be a special tea dance to mark the completion of a successful project, memories of which I'm sure will stay with these young people for many years to come."

Wiltshire Council, through its Wiltshire Youth Arts Partnership has worked with Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre on the venture. The project has attracted support from around Wiltshire with the Malmesbury Theatre Company The Last Baguette and the youth theatre at The Pound in Corsham involved in the project. Green Square also provided a grant to the project.

Classes are free and are at Tidworth (Wellington Academy) Tuesday evenings 5pm - 6.30pm, at Bradford on Avon (Bradford on Avon Community & Youth Centre) Tuesday evenings 7pm - 8pm and at Salisbury Arts Centre Thursday evenings 7pm - 8.30pm. Classes are free and you do not need any experience. Please contact Emily.Malcolm@wiltshire.gov.uk for more details.

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