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Dancers ready for cultural Olympiad

READY TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES: Members of ACE Dance and Music Studios

DANCE MAY not yet be on the Olympic agenda but it isn’t stopping these young dancers from being part of the cultural Olympiad events taking place in Birmingham.

When the Olympic flame arrives in the city on the last day of June this group from ACE Youth, the youth company of ACE Dance and Music studios will be playing a pivotal role in the torch bearers’ ceremonies.

Cannon Hill Park in Edgbaston will be where the torch comes to rest on June 30 before continuing its journey first thing on July 1 from Victoria Square in the heart of Birmingham.

The youth dance section of ACE, which stands for African Cultural Exchange, will be performing a piece called ‘moving earth’ on June 30 with the South Asian arts group Sampad, which focuses on the different natural elements of the earth.

ACE dancers will feature again at the annual international reggae festival Simmerdown being held in Handsworth Park on July 22. This will include an adults outreach project involving West African dancing and drumming sessions which will be part of the dancing for the Games legacy.

The summer will be a whirlwind of dance as Ace Youth are performing at venues in London – having just performed at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, then at the Youth Dance England event at the South Bank between July 13-15.

The company also has several international programmes and European exchanges with Dutch, Swiss and French dance companies.

The founders of ACE Gail and Ian Parmel have just returned from South Africa scouting for professional dancers for their next major production called Mana (meaning power) which will tour next year and will be their ninth national production.

The couple founded ACE almost 15 years ago. A champion for African and Caribbean dance, Gail has excelled as an artistic director and choreographer, being included in the UK’s top 50 Women to Watch list for 2010.

“We’re very proud to be part of the Olympic torch celebrations when it arrives in Birmingham and we’re delighted to be part of the dancing for the Games legacy at Simmer Down when we’ll have at least 45 drummers and dancers taking part,” said Gail.

ACE has just launched Impulse, which offers West African dance, drumming and performance opportunities for adults in a series of classes that run until August 21 at its studios in Floodgate Street, Digbeth.

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