Critical Mass will perform at the Birmingham 2022 Opening and Closing Ceremonies, as well as the opening show of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Festival in March 2022, the Birmingham International Dance Festival in June 2022, and at Live Sites around the city during the Games.

At least one-third of the 300 participants will be disabled people, and 40% will come from an Asian, Black or minority ethnic background, reflecting the diversity of Birmingham and the West Midlands’ young population. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in approximately 400 dance and movement workshops and creative sessions across a 14-month journey.

The project is a unique collaboration between Arts Connect, Birmingham 2022, DanceXchange and the Dance Development Leaders Group (DDLG), a dedicated network of 70+ dance organisations across the West Midlands who are passionate about developing dance participation.

Convened and facilitated by Arts Connect, DDLG members include small to large scale companies such as ACE Dance & Music, Ascension Dance, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Autin Dance, Motionhouse, Dancefest, and Sonia Sabri as well as independent dance artists at all levels of experience.

Together, the partners will harness community cohesion and inclusion, and use their expertise in inclusive dance and mass choreography to build the skills and confidence of the young people as they work and play together to create lasting performance moments that will be seen locally by thousands, and broadcast globally to an audience of one billion.

The project will engage with SEN schools and colleges, community arts groups, youth clubs, job centres, care leaver referral teams and refugee and asylum seeker advice centres to ensure young people from underrepresented backgrounds are given an opportunity to take part. This will be supplemented by a public call-out for participants during the summer of 2021.

Critical Mass performances will be right at the heart of the Birmingham 2022 Cultural Festival, a world-class programme of art and culture running from March to September 2022. The festival will reach 2.5 million people as audiences and participants and will include new work, installations, exhibitions, performances and major events taking place in the heart of West Midlands communities.

Critical Mass aims to become a blueprint for future mass performance opportunities, ensuring young people with a wider spectrum of needs can contribute and benefit equally alongside their peers. It is hoped that the project will grow the region’s reputation for world-class dance, encouraging more young people from diverse backgrounds to participate in regular dance sessions and pursue careers in dance.

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