Watch the moment a flash mob surprises St Johns shoppers as Leap 2017 launches in Liverpool

This was the moment dancers from the Gary Clarke Company performed a flash mob in the food hall at St John’s Shopping Centre to give passers-by a sneak peek at what to expect from the full show, COAL which opens tomorrow tonight at MAKE Liverpool as part of the LEAP dance festival 2017.

MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative) this week launches Liverpool’s first ever pop-up dance house at MAKE, a warehouse in the creative north docks area of the city, to house LEAP dance festival from March 1-12th, 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 to 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 4th, exploring the complexities or bi-racial relationships. While International Women’s Day (March 8th) welcomes performer Mary Pearson and her comical solo performance, FoMO, MOFO’s! 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.”

leap 2017

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 wont 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 spun stage floor, created especially for this year’s festival by United Dance Floors, plus an interactive installation created by students from Liverpool John Moores, 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, 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 and Productions, AE Audio and local design agency, Non Conform. To cover the £5,000 construction costs, MDI launched a kickstarter campaign in November 2016 that attracted over 130 supporters and successfully surpassed 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 its 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 day and Vital on March 7th.

Here’s a run down of all performances, so you can get booking your LEAP 2017 tickets now.

01.03.2017 – 02.03.2017— Gary Clarke presents COAL! Times: 8pm Ticket Price: £16 (£14 Conc.)

04.03.2017 – Barrowland Ballet: Whiteout Times: 7:30pm Ticket Price: £16 (£14 Conc.)

05.03.2017 – Community Showcase Times: 3pm Ticket Price: £8 (£6 Conc.)

06.03.2017 – Stopgap Dance Co: The Enormous Room : 7:30pm Ticket Price: £16 (£14 Conc.)

07.03.2017-  Vital! Times: 3pm Ticket Price: £8 (£6 Conc.)

08.03.2017 – Mary Pearson: FoMO, MOFOs! Times: 7:30pm Ticket Price: £12 (£10 Conc.)

09.03.2017 – Hetain Patel: American Man Times: 7:30pm Ticket Price: £12 (£10 Conc.)

11.03.2017 – Project O: Voodoo Times: 7:30pm Ticket Price: £12 (£10 Conc.)

12.03.2017 – Artists Takeover Showcase Times: 7:30pm Ticket Price: £12 (£10 Conc.)

Keep your eyes peeled for our Kate who will be checking out the Barrowland Ballet: Whiteout on Saturday as well as a number of other events. Come and say hi and tell us your thoughts on LEAP 2017.

Tickets for the festival are now on sale via The Unity Theatre box office and you can find out more information by heading to You can also follow all the LEAP 2017 updates on Twitter with #makemeleap from @mdistudio24

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