Dance Consortium presents

Ailey 2 (2023)

19 September - 28 October 2023

Birmingham Curtain Raiser Project

On 4 October 2023, the Birmingham Curtain Raiser Performance Project debuted at the Birmingham Hippodrome. This captivating short performance opened the evening, showcasing the incredible skills of 20 young dancers aged 14-21 from the West Midlands. Choreographed by Ailey alumnus Marcus J Willis, the project highlighted emerging UK dance talent and provided a significant platform for these young artists. Following auditions and six rehearsals, a memorable moment was sharing their dance with Ailey 2’s Artistic Director, Francesca Harper, making it a truly unforgettable celebration of creativity and dedication.


Drawing from concepts and ideas of Ailey II Artistic Director, Francesca Harper’s choreographic work, Freedom Series, Reception charts the journey of these young dancers. The dance stands as a celebration of the young artists’ individuality, acknowledging that each of them is more than enough. It serves as a nurturing ground for the roots they are cultivating, preparing them to lead the way into the future. – Marcus J Willis

Choreography – Marcus J Willis
Lighting design – Ethan Saiewitz
Production – Richard Gaul, Joshua Gustafson
Music – Sankanda by Hughes De Courson

Samuel Banks – Dance Captain, Rochanté Alleyne-Gallimore, Grace Brook, Layla-Grace Brunskill, Joshua Chibge, Katie-Jane Clarke, Grace Espinosa, Scarlett Hogan, Luke James, Amiyah Josephs, Layla Keay, Lucca Masters, Eve Marshman, Tori Morgan, Olivia Pelosi, Renee Porteous-Gordon, Ellie Stainsby, Zachary Turner-Powell, Ellie Waller, Brad Willetts.

Project Producers
For Dance Consortium – Samina Beckford, Fiona Ross
For Birmingham Hippodrome – Alice Grove, Mathilde Petford, Eleanor Walker, Jhanee Wilkins
For Ailey II – Francesca Harper, Sumaya Jackson

With thanks to Arts Council England and Birmingham Hippodrome’s Curtain Raiser Circle members.

About Birmingham Hippodrome’s Talent Development
Birmingham Hippodrome’s main stage has been the home of young people’s curtain raiser performances for over a decade. Our Dance Talent Development programme brings together some of the world’s biggest dance companies to work exclusively with our young community, nurturing and platforming them. The Hippodrome is committed to developing the talent of artists in our region, particularly in areas of dance, new writing and musical theatre, through a range of different programmes and projects. Discover more by clicking here.

About Ailey Project UK
The curtain raiser performance marked the culmination of the remarkable 2.5-year journey known as the Ailey Project UK, celebrating the profound influence of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Over the past three years, Dance Consortium has fostered connections between its 19 member venues and local, Black-led dance groups through masterclasses, summer intensives and captivating performances, contributing to the growth of the Black Dance sector. This successful initiative has been made possible thanks to esteemed local and national partners and the pivotal role of former Ailey Dancer Marcus J Willis. Click here for details of the Ailey Project UK.

Showed at:

  • Tue 19 - Wed 20 Sep 2023
    Marlowe Theatre Canterbury
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  • Fri 22 - Sat 23 Sep 2023
    Mayflower Theatre Southampton
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  • Tue 26 - Wed 27 Sep 2023
    Theatre Royal Plymouth
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  • Fri 29 - Sat 30 Sep 2023
    Milton Keynes Theatre
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  • Tue 3 - Wed 4 Oct 2023
    Birmingham Hippodrome
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  • Fri 6 - Sat 7 Oct 2023
    Theatre Royal Norwich
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  • Tue 10 - Wed 11 Oct 2023
    Royal Concert Hall Nottingham
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  • Fri 13 - Sat 14 Oct 2023
    The Lowry Salford Quays
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  • Tue 17 - Wed 18 Oct 2023
    Alhambra Theatre Bradford
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  • Fri 20 Oct 2023
    Hull New Theatre
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  • Tue 24 - Wed 25 Oct 2023
    Theatre Royal Newcastle
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  • Fri 27 - Sat 28 Oct 2023
    Eden Court Theatre Inverness
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