Founded as a charity in 1976, Cheshire Dance creates opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to access dance and to use the artform to live healthier and happier lives. From delivering dance classes in the community, to providing professional development and training to emerging artists and hosting events and festivals, they seek to remove inequalities and co-create opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience the power of dance.
Cheshire Dance is also co-founder of Dance Consortia North West, a democratic partnership focused on artist, audience and market development involving 30 dance organisations, venues and promoters, Higher Education Institutions and a 100+ strong network of Dance Artists based in the region.
Cheshire Dance is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, delivers Service Level Agreements with Local Authorities and other public and voluntary sectors and works extensively in partnership across the dance, arts, public, voluntary, health and education sectors.
Events at Cheshire Dance
Taking place annually in Cheshire West, Now Northwich is a large-scale international dance and street arts festival that brings together community, youth and professional artists. The free event runs during a full day and evening, across urban outdoor sites throughout Northwich Town Centre and Barons Quay. It typically attracts in excess of 25,000 people, from local family audiences to dance & arts lovers visiting from surrounding cities and further afield.
Now Northwich showcases exceptional new dance and street arts. The work is local, national and international, ambitious in scale and diverse. Cheshire Dance consistently seeks out new dance work from culturally diverse artists and places great emphasis on commissioning disability-led companies, Global Majority artists and North West artists looking to raise their profile on a national stage.
Now Northwich is co-produced by its ‘Young Producers’ group, includes a family zone and offers a number of free participatory experiences for all ages and abilities/disabilities. It is supported by Arts Council England, Cheshire West & Chester Council, Northwich BID, Northwich Town Council, Baron’s Quay and other funding partners.
Why we joined Without Walls
“The festival prides itself on programming new and emerging artists and particularly champions artists from minority ethnic groups and disability-led dance companies. Our membership within the network not only gives us access to a wide range of artistic talent/work but it also allows us to connect with artists that are not yet known to us, particularly from these groups. What’s more, the scope, quality, range and scale of work that emanates from Without Walls’s portfolio allows Cheshire Dance to give its demanding Now Northwich audiences exceptional experiences that would normally only be possible at much larger ticketed/paid festivals event in larger cities.”
Impact on local community
Now Northwich champions the principle that ‘no one should ever be left behind’. From programming artists with disabilities to participatory experiences for people within protected characteristics groups (including those with Profound, Multiple and Learning Disabilities and those with accessibility challenges), the festival breaks down barriers for all.
Long-term creative engagement with local communities is embedded within Cheshire Dance’s ethos, supported by 40 years of delivering participatory dance activity. Each festival includes a creative outcome co-created with local professional artists and community members of all ages and abilities – with a focus on people with learning disabilities, young people and older adults.
Made possible thanks to a partnership of 16 organisations, in recent years Now Northwich has not only boosted morale and community spirit in times of post-covid, but it has also worked to boost commercial, economic and regeneration opportunities for the recovery of Northwich town.
Providing local community groups with a platform to share their artistry; offering the community (with a high percentage of little regular arts engagement) the chance to experience exceptional performances for free on their doorsteps, and giving the town a podium to cement itself as the destination with an exciting cultural offering, Now Northwich is a festival that benefits residents, visitors, artists and local businesses alike.
“Hats off to the whole @nownorthwich team, volunteers and funders. What a superb day and brilliantly organised! And great to see Northwich town centre so busy. Thanks to all the performers for filling the streets with joy 👏”
“We had a wonderful time working with these inspirational organisations as part of the excellent @nownorthwich event. The way that the activities were directed and inclusive for our PIMD clients was so heartwarming to see. Thanks to all involved!!” Alastair Jeffs, Vivo Care Choices
The Cheshire Dance team
Now Northwich is produced by Cheshire Dance Director, Adam Holloway and programmed by Creative Director, Jane McLean. Both Jane and Adam have a passion for inspiring people from diverse backgrounds to create, learn and experience dance and particularly enjoy working collaboratively and in partnership with other artists and organisations.
Image credits: courtesy of Cheshire Dance