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Liverpool’s First Ever Pop-Up Dance Venue Opens For LEAP 2017

MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative) this week launches Liverpool’s first ever pop-up dance house at Make.Warehouse in the creative north docks area of the city, to house LEAP dance festival, from March 1-12, 2017.

Part of MDI’s mission to inspire more people to dance and to bring new dance to new spaces, the pop-up dance house will feature dance workshops, a bespoke sprung stage, and other fun, interactive elements, as well as the venue for LEAP 2017.

LEAP 2017 launches with a performance of the award-winning COAL by nationally acclaimed choreographer, Gary Clarke. Liverpool marks the first stop for the company’s spring tour having just been awarded Best Independent Company by the Dance Critic’s Circle.

Other highlights include Glasgow-based Barrowland Ballet, who will stage its heartfelt contemporary dance piece, Whiteout, on March 4, exploring the complexities of bi-racial relationships. While International Women’s Day (March 8), welcomes performer, Mary Pearson, and her comical solo performance, FoMO, MOFOs!, that draws from the music of Robert Wyatt, Kraftwerk and John Lennon to examine one woman’s struggle in social media and the digital age.

Speaking about the new pop-up dance venue, Fiona Hilton, production manager for LEAP 2017, said: “It has been a challenge to get the space ready in just one week but it has also been fantastic to see it all come together bit by bit. I am extremely proud of what the team has created.”

Karen Gallagher MBE, artistic director of MDI, commented: “I am in love with the new space and I just want to keep it. I know this won’t be possible but it is amazing to see what you can create when you dream big. The support that we have received so far has been amazing and this year’s festival has been the most ambitious both on stage and off.”

Less than 15 minutes walk from Liverpool city centre, the new pop-up venue features a bespoke sprung stage floor, created especially for this year’s festival by United Dance Floors, plus an interactive installation created by students from LJMU, from which a documentary film will be created looking at the lasting legacy of LEAP’s 25 years in the city. Bungee-assisted dance specialists, Wired Aerial Theatre, have also supported with supplementary workshops taking space in their nearby warehouse unit, The Higher Space.

The space has been made possible thanks to a new partnership between MDI, Unity Theatre and MAKE Liverpool, and further assistance from MJD Events & Productions, AE Audio and local design agency, Nonconform. To contribute £5,000 towards construction costs, MDI launched a Kickstarter campaign in November 2016 that attracted over 130 supporters and successfully surpassing its target.

The theme for LEAP 2017 is ‘Camouflage: Seen and Unseen’ and will celebrate dance as the hidden art-form at the heart of the city.

The event will also feature Stopgap Dance Company, who will showcase, The Enormous Room, featuring David O’Toole; Project O will perform their experimental four-hour performance with 50 audience members joining them on stage; visual artist and performance maker, Hetain Patel will explore political correctness with American Man; and several other performances will feature local talent including the Community Showcase on March 5 and Vital! on March 7.

Tickets for the festival are now on sale via the The Unity Theatre box office. For more information please visit

You can also follow all of the LEAP 2017 updates on Twitter with #makemeLEAP from @mdistudio24


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