The New Year is well and truly here and Dance City in Newcastle kickstarted its spring and summer season with a season launch on January 26 that included wonderful and welcome nibbles and drinks.

This was followed by a preview of what looks to be a beautiful and unusual music theatre work, Nine Songs, performed by singer Rui Fu and an unusual and scintillating ensemble of musicians. Based on ancient Chinese songs, this will surely be a show to catch when it is shown here—hopefully soon! The evening concluded with a relaxed and yet informative Q & A.

A splendid social and artistic evening, this was a markedly different season launch to many I have attended at Dance City. It’s a refreshing new format and was absolutely free.

Anand Bhatt, Artistic Director, introduced the evening, saying a little about the upcoming performances and promoting the 20% ticket price saving through the multi-buy system. The classes, of which there are over 60 a week in a multitude of styles and genres, sound equally exciting and so there’s bound to be something for everyone.

The first performance of the season is the 12th Just Jam International, hosted by Bad Taste Cru, on February 25 and then a world première from South-West-based Ricard Chappell Dance called Hot House on March 24. Richard and his company have been here several times and his work is always worth a look with its combination of physicality and humanity.

Other highlights include Far From Home by acclaimed Alleyne Dance, founded by twin sisters Kristina and Sade Alleyne, a work that explores immigration.

Then in June comes first a double bill that will undoubtedly pack a punch, presenting Burnt Out! by Glasgow-based Australian dancer / choreographer Penny Chivas. Burnt Out! takes the horrific Australian bush fires as starting point and paints a both poetic and painful picture of the consequences of climate change. The other work of the evening, Just Enough Madness, is a première from Newcastle-based Payal Ramchandani, a dancer working within the Kuchipudi style. Also in June comes Vortex by the outstanding and established choreographer Russell Maliphant, performed by his company RMDC on a very welcome visit to Newcastle.

Dance City has been the home for Vogue Balls for some years now so round of the season with the glorious Queer community and guests on July 1.

With dance performances at Theatre Royal and Northern Stage as well, Newcastle seems to be blooming dance!

Pop down to Dance City, get the new brochure Get into Dance and chat with the friendly reception staff or of course look online for all the events and the multi-buys.