The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

Pavilion Dance is one year old – looking back and looking forward

Interior before

After 3 Photo by Wayne Lawes
Interior after by Wayne Lawes


On 3rd September 2010, following a major restoration project and £3.29 million capital investment by Bournemouth Borough Council, Pavilion Dance opened its doors – on time and on budget. The world-class national dance centre has brought a vibrant cultural boost to Bournemouth, offering a unique mix of professional dance performances, dance classes for all ages and abilities, as well as creative space for children and families, students and local dance groups as well as professional dance artists and companies.

Pavilion Dance successfully combines heritage with contemporary style: the stunning high ceilings and art deco features have been carefully preserved, and formerly neglected empty spaces transformed into a modern and welcoming foyer, two light and spacious studios and a 200-seat auditorium with cutting-edge technology.

Within its opening year, Pavilion Dance has met all its targets and earned national and international acclaim for its spaces and programme; HRH The Earl of Wessex formally opened the dance centre last October and was able to see the centre in action,  as 100 young people rehearsed for the opening Gala. Arts Council England granted the venue National Portfolio Organisation status and provided it with welcome uplift in funding for the next three years. Finally, as an indication of artistic success, choreographer Jonah Bokaer’s new work Anchises, which was commissioned by Pavilion Dance / Dance South West and premiered in Bournemouth, was listed as one of the New York Times’ Top Ten Dance events of 2010.

In its opening year it is estimated that over 50,000 came through the doors. Pavilion Dance has been

Before Photo

Exterior before

Interior after

Exterior after

used for a number of high-profile national events over the last twelve months, for example hosting the National Skills Academy Annual Conference and the first-ever Digital Futures in Dance Conference. Three successful summer schools took place for street dance, contemporary dance and ballet, the last in association with the Royal Academy of Dance.

Pam Donnellan, Chief Executive of the Bournemouth Borough Council has stated that Pavilion Dance has “exceeded expectations in every way”.

Pavilion Dance offered a vibrant summer programme for residents and visitors alike. The Summer Spectacular Included free events such as Tilted’s SEASAW, with mini-performances along the seafront, and Dancing Terraces, with up to 500 people sampling various dance styles each Friday evening including salsa, jazz, samba and a ceilidh.

Pavilion Dance will also play an important role in the ground-breaking Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival, presenting Electric Hotel (Fri 23 & Sat 24 September).  This intriguing outdoor spectacular offers the audience the chance to observe life in a seedy hotel which has been specially created on the terrace, while listening to the soundtrack on headphones. After the Saturday performance, the terraces will be transformed into Bournemouth’s first-ever outdoor silent disco. November brings a season of dance for the under-fives and their families. March sees the Youth Dance England funded U-dance national platform bringing youth dance groups from across the region for a two-day celebration, while in May there is collaboration with the BSO on a major event for the Cultural Olympiad and a significant national Asian Dance Conference.

The ongoing programme includes five companies in residence, and a new season of classes suitable for all ages in styles such as Bollywood, ballet and ballroom, as well breakdance and parkour.

The current Executive Director, Kate Castle, leaves her post as Executive Director in September, after eight successful years. Chris Fogg joins the team as Artistic Director from South East Dance in Brighton, where he was Creative Producer and managed their Associate Artists scheme.

Kate says: “I am proud that with the opening of Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth has enriched its cultural life with a valuable and enduring asset that has proved popular with artists and audiences alike. Pavilion Dance is now firmly positioned within Bournemouth’s emerging ‘cultural quarter’.

“With its unique programme of performance and participation for all ages, abilities and tastes, Pavilion Dance is guaranteed to surprise and entertain Bournemouth’s residents and visitors for years to come and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.”

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