More than 100 people who are part of the past, present and future of Déda in Derby's Cathedral Quarter attended a 20th anniversary celebration event at the Chapel Street venue.
They were welcomed by Chair Geoff Sweeney and CEO and Artistic Director Stephen Munn who outlined the key milestones of Déda which is now hailed as the region's leading creative centre in dance, contemporary circus and outdoor performance.
Other speeches on the night were given by Midlands Arts Council England Area Director Peter Knott, Déda’s Head of Dance Development and Learning Clare Limb and former city councillor Mick Walker who helped establish the organisation.
The event also focused on Déda's innovative Derby Dancing project which has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. The project is a key part of the 20th anniversary celebrations and was awarded £10,000 National Lottery grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Guests were invited to share their own experiences and memories of dance as part of the National Lottery funded project, which showcases dance in the city since the 1950s and culminates in an exhibition from September 15 to December 22 at Déda.
The highlight of the evening was three dance performances that represent different facets of the organisation.
Members of Déda’s award-winning youth performance company Bounceback performed a piece entitled ‘Cut to the Chase’ which was choreographed by Alice Marshall and members of the company – representing the extensive Déda|Academy programme.
This was followed by a performance of ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ by MSDC Dance, led artistically by Déda and University of Derby Graduates Megan Smith and Danni Chell.
Finally Vidya Patel, who is part of the innovative Déda associate artist programme, performed ‘The Beginning’ – choreographed by Smt. Sujata Banerjee.
The performances were followed by a social dancing session in the dance studio led by Carolyn Davies which was an opportunity to learn ballroom steps before guests gathered back in the CUBE Café with live music performed by Corey Mwamba.
Guests included past and present staff, partner organisations such as Artcore, The Mighty Creatives, Derby Book Festival, Maison Foo, the University of Derby, Baby People, Derby Museum, Surtal Arts, Theatre Royal Nottingham, Dance 4, and the Siddiquis (channel 4 Gogglebox) as well as representatives from funding organisations and sponsors including Arts Council England, the National Lottery through HLF and Rolls-Royce plc.
Stephen Munn said: “The Déda family is wide-reaching with an extraordinary number of people nurturing its development over the years. Staff, trustees, partners and audiences have all helped write Déda’s story. I give my personal thanks to everyone involved and look forward to seeing what happens to this remarkable organisation next.”
Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism Cllr Alan Grimadell added: “With Stephen’s pioneering vision, and assisted by a hugely talented team, Déda is now not only a centre of excellence for dance and dance participation, but is also a leader of national repute within the field of Contemporary Circus practice.
Déda has evolved and changed over the decades to one of the key cultural organisations in the city. Back in 1991 it was classed as Derby Dance Development and was based at Derby Playhouse.
It moved premises in 1997 to the renovated Methodist chapel that we’ve come to know and love today. Funded by various arts projects such as the National Lottery and East Midlands Arts, the Derby Dance Centre building was officially opened in January 1998 and in 2008 the name of the company changed to Déda.
Throughout the building’s 20-year history as the only dedicated dance house in the East Midlands, it has grown from a local dance company that hosted 12 classes a week into an established organisation that has over 50 classes a week and attracts over 53,000 visitors per year.