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Belgrade's talent scheme gives dance company a lift

Ascension Dance Company, one of Coventry’s most exciting up-and-coming dance outfits, will be the first to benefit from a new talent development initiative launched by the Belgrade Theatre. Ascension Dance has been named as the Belgrade’s first Supported Company. It means it will have access to rehearsal and performance space as well as marketing and publicity support for two years. Led by Ashley Jordan and Ben Morley, Ascension has developed its own distinctive style of contemporary dance fused with elements of breakdance and parkour, which it employs in exciting live performances and in youth and community projects. Through a range of participatory projects including regular schools workshops and four dedicated Ascension Youth groups, the company aims to inspire young people . Belgrade general manager Vera Ding said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this dynamic young company as it begins to build up a profile in the city. We have a long history of working with Ben and Ashley as individual performers, both as young people and more recently in projects such as our Shoot Festival showcase and our site-specific show Read All About It! “Throughout lockdown, they’ve continued to impress us with their creative responses to the most challenging of circumstances, including their online youth sessions and weekly Create It, Share It challenges, which we were proud to support.

“With their joint focus on creating high quality professional work and participatory programmes, they’re a natural fit for our ethos at the Belgrade and we can’t wait to develop our relationship with them further.” Ashley Jordan said: “The Belgrade has long played a central role in nurturing the city’s emerging talent through its work with children and young people, and in its support of artists at the beginning of their careers. “Both as young people ourselves and later in our professional adult careers, Ben and I have performed at the Belgrade on many occasions. Now, as directors of our own company, we’re proud to continue to build our relationship with the Belgrade as we take our first steps as part of Coventry’s thriving artistic landscape.”

The Supported Company scheme sits alongside the Belgrade’s existing Springboard programme, which provides tailored support to five emerging companies – Underground Lights Community Theatre, Maokwo, Richard and Rishard, Gertrude and Radical Body.

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