Lift Off Dance Festival

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Lift Off Dance Festival is the annual dance festival held at South Hill Park Arts Centre since 2000.

The festival aims to offer a chance for everyone to experience dance as a participant, performer or audience member and bring together those new to dance or taking their first steps on stage, with those working in the world of professional dance as teacher, performer or choreographer.

Initially started by Bracknell Forest Council, South Hill Park took full ownership of the festival under the artistic direction of Lena Dee from 2005.

Each year the festival hosts several dance performances by the local community and professional dance companies, alongside a variety of dance workshops, dance cinema, live dance performance relays from around the globe and related dance events.

Professional dance companies who have performed their own evenings’ work during the festival include StopGap, Tavaziva Dance, Sonia Sabri, Jasmin Vardimon to name but a few.

The festival has grown in size and ambition since its inception and the Galas now not only showcase local dance talent from Berkshire but also dancers from Surrey, Hampshire and London and surrounding areas.  The Galas now include performances and workshops led by professional dancers and choreographers so the participants and audience members get to see where the years of hard dance training can lead and are an inspiration and insight for many into the world of professional dance.

Each year new elements are added to the festival to widen the appeal for those learning, performing or watching the festival events, including the recent addition of the latest technologies to provide live relay links to Opera Houses around the world for their ballet performances.

Please contact Lena Dee on for information on how to take part in the festival or for more information on this year’s event.


Lift Off Dance Festival 2019

Shows and Performances

5 Soldiers – The Body is the Front Line

Rosie Kay Dance Company in association with The British Army

A thrilling and humane portrait of army life, telling the stories of men and women serving on the front line – from choreographer Rosie Kay, with her trademark style of intense, physical and athletic dance theatre. 5 Soldiers offers no moral stance on war, allowing soldiers to be seen as individuals. Instead it questions what we ask of our soldiers and explores how the human body still remains essential to war.

Age 12yrs+.

Free post show discussion.

Tue 12 Feb 7.45pm, Wilde Theatre

£16, Concessions £15, Members £14, Schools 10+ £9pp

An Evening With… Legends of Dance

A lively discussion and evening of reminiscing with world renowned choreographers Christopher Bruce, Mark Baldwin and Didy Veldman, hosted by Amanda Britton. Performance of a new piece especially commissioned for the evening by Dane Hurst, performed by South Hill Park’s resident youth dance company, Berkshire County Dance Company Youth (BCDCY).

Fri 8 Mar 7.45pm, Wilde Theatre

£18, Members £16, Full time students £12

Youth & Community Gala 1

Groups performing will be Illusion Flamenca, OFLAC, Shimmy Café Barefoot Dance Fusion, QUICKSILVER Dance Company, Fly Dance Company (City of Oxford College), Dancayers Company, Maggie Monk School of Dancing Troupe, WISE Male Youth Dance Company, Penny & Jules Youth Dance, The Olivia Dance Academy, Marist Gymtastic, Drishti Dance in collaboration with Kala Arpan, Hampshire Youth Dance Company, Alan Cunningham’s Street Dance Energy, St Mary’s Ascot Dance Company, Berkshire County Dance Company Youth with guest professional performances by Désirée Ballantyne Grove and Jordan Bridge.

Sat 23 March 7-9pm, Wilde Theatre

£13, Members & Concessions £11

Youth & Community Gala 2

Groups performing will be Kings International College, Zambesi Apex & Evolution, Reading Studio, Lafour Theatre School, Kobika Senior Dance Company, Senior West Berkshire Youth Dance Company, We Love to Dance (Guildford), ILLUME, Reddam House Juniors, Swindon Youth Dance Company (SYDCo), ENBYouthCo, Jawahir Bellydance, Artemis Studios & Artemis College, Hip Hop Replacements, Royal Steps – Teen Street Dance Group, Brakenhale School, Kennedy Muntanga Dance Theatre, Berkshire County Dance Company Youth with a guest professional performance by Chrysalis London.

Sun 24 March 7-9pm, Wilde Theatre

£13, Members & Concessions £11

The Storm

James Wilton Dance

One of Europe’s most in-demand dance companies present The Storm – a whirlwind of lightning fast athleticism. Acrobatics, break-dancing and martial arts fuse to form dance that will blow audiences away. Seven dancers, a soundtrack of thundering electro-rock especially composed by Amarok, and thousands of pieces of paper combine to create a work that will athletically astound and touch you emotionally. In this storm can you find peace? Will it all blow over?

Free post show discussion.

Wed 27 March 7.45pm, Wilde Theatre

£16, Concessions £15, Members £14, Schools 10+ £9pp



By Jordan James Bridge

‘Us’ is a dance film that explores the fragility and stability between two bodies. With ideas of contrast, illusion and personal relations in the creative process, a duet emerged that emits emotional content and exploits a tempestuous nature within the partnering. Jordan James Bridge is supported by Studio Wayne McGregor through the Free Space programme.

Fri 1 – Sun 31 March, Projection above mansion staircase


Dance Masterclasses

Contemporary Repertoire

With Jordan Bridge

This contemporary masterclass aims to push dancers mentally and physically through the use of classical contemporary techniques and Jordan’s unique practice. Intermediate or advanced contemporary/ballet technique required.

Age 14+

Sat 23 March
11.45am – 12.45pm
Dance Studio


Street Dance

With Alan Cunningham

Alan Cunningham, South Hill Park’s resident Street Dance teacher, will be teaching a funky combination of multiple street dance styles in one creative masterclass. Suitable and adapted for all dancers.

Age 8+

Sat 23 March
1 – 2pm
Dance Studio


Ballet Technique Repertoire

With Désirée Ballantyne Grove

Ex-English National Ballet and current Michael Clark Company dancer Désirée will lead an inspiring ballet technique masterclass, looking at the fundamentals that underpin a great dance technique as well as teaching some well-known ballet repertoire. Some ballet experience essential.

Age 12+

Sat 23 March
2.15 – 3.15pm
Dance Studio



With Anuradha Chaturvedi from Drishti Dance

Kathak masterclass lead by critically acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Anuradha Chaturvedi who will introduce participants to the basic rhythmic structures and movement vocabulary of this ancient dance form.

Age 10+

Sat 23 March
3.20 – 4.20pm
Dance Studio



With Tim Casson from Casson & Friends

Join Record Breaking Choreographer, Tim Casson (Casson & Friends), for this dance-making masterclass, exploring his approach to making dances inspired by pretty much anything! Exercise your creativity and have fun in this lively workshop.

Age 11+

Sun 24 March
1 – 2pm
Dance Studio



With Artemis Studios

Artemis College, based at South Hill Park, will introduce you to a variety of jazz techniques and create a short routine. This is an inclusive workshop and wheelchair users or dancers with other physical challenges are welcome to attend.

Age 13+

Sun 24 March
2.15 – 3.15pm
Dance Studio


Contemporary Repertoire

With Chrysalis London

Join this dynamic young company ahead of their performance at South Hill Park and learn about their choreographic process, technical training and some sequences from their repertoire.

Age 12+

Sun 24 March
3.30 – 4.30pm
Dance Studio


Dance on Screen

Don Quixote

Royal Opera House Live Ballet

Cervantes’s story of the bumbling knight Don Quixote has inspired countless artistic interpretations. Marius Petipa choreographed this sparkling ballet about the encounters of the man from La Mancha and his faithful squire Sancho Panza. At its heart are virtuoso roles for the lovers Basilio and Kitri.

Carlos Acosta chose this joyful classic for his first production for The Royal Ballet. His vibrant staging brings together the whole Company in such roles as exuberant villagers, passionate gypsies and even fantasy flowers. The story follows Don Quixote’s picaresque journey to do deeds in honour of his imaginary noble lady, Dulcinea. Sunny, charming, funny and touching – Don Quixote is a ballet as full of uplifting emotion as it is of astonishing ballet technique.

165 minutes including 1 interval.

Tue 19 Feb 7.15pm, Cinema

£20.50, Concessions £19.50, Members £18.50 

Within The Golden Hour | Cherkaoui World Premiere | Flight Pattern

Royal Opera House Live Ballet

The contemporary face of The Royal Ballet is shown in works from three of today’s leading choreographers.

Christopher Wheeldon’s Within the Golden Hour is based around seven couples separating and intermingling, to music by Vivaldi and Bosso and lit with rich colours suggested by sunset.

Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern, revived for the first time, uses a large dance ensemble and Górecki’s familiar music from his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs for a poignant and passionate reflection on migration.

Between them, a new work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, created for The Royal Ballet, has its premiere to bring the contemporary truly up-to-date.

195 minutes – 3 ballets including 2 intervals.

Thu 16 May 7.15pm, Cinema

£20.50, Concessions £19.50, Members £18.50

If you would like more information about participating in the 2019 festival, please either complete the form below or email Lena Dee directly.

Please check back to this page for updates as the 2019 program is finalised.