Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Centre’s national award bid

CLASS ACT: Northern Ballet.
CLASS ACT: Northern Ballet.
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A MULTI-MILLION pound dance facility in Leeds is battling it out for the coveted title of the UK’s Best Arts Project.

The Northern Ballet and Phoenix Dance Centre is facing stiff competition from three other schemes in the final of the National Lottery Awards 2011.

Lottery funding paid for the £12m purpose-built centre on Quarry Hill, near the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

It houses Northern Ballet and the Phoenix Dance Theatre, their academies, which train in excess of 300 young people, and further and higher education students.

The building has facilities including seven dance studios, a studio theatre, wardrobe facilities, a health suite, meeting rooms and offices.

It has been described as the largest purpose-built space for dance outside London.

The centre, officially opened by Prince Edward in January, was voted into the competition’s final four by the public.

Mark Skipper, chief executive of Northern Ballet, 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.”

He added: “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.”

Also through to the finals is the Altogether Better Programme, which works across the Yorkshire region to recruit, train and support people to others to improve their health and wellbeing.

Co-director Alyson McGregor said: “This is a major accolade for the team at the charity. It feels really great to know that we have such fantastic public support for what we’re doing, and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.”

There are seven categories in the awards. The winning projects will be announced at a star-studded event broadcast on BBC1 later this year and will win a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their project.

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