Afra al Kahira started the festival in 2001 after she and her husband John moved to North Devon in 2000. She soon realized that there was a growing dance community which had very little access to quality workshops from top teachers. So she decided to rectify the matter and Celebrating Dance was born! The first few festivals were held in various locations in Bideford and it relocated to Torquay and the Toorak Hotel in 2005 which has been its home ever since. In 2016, after 16 wonderful years, Afra and her husband John decided to step down from the day-to-day running of the festival and are delighted to be able to hand over to the festival's new Group Organiser Nikki Livermore. Nikki and her husband Neil will be dealing with the organisation of the festival from the 1st November 2016. Afra and John will continue to part of the Celebrating Dance team, so you will still see them at the festival itself but in a supporting role rather than being responsible for organising and running things.
Nikki Livermore - Celebrating Dance Festival's new Group Organiser
What's special about Celebrating Dance?
Apart from the lovely venue, there is the high quality of teachers. Nikki invites a selection of talented teachers including top names from either the US or Europe along with a line up popular UK-based teachers. The festival regularly introduces teachers to the UK who have gone on to be highly sought after at other events across the country.
The exciting package of UK-based and international teachers means that Celebrating Dance welcomes dancers from all over the UK and beyond who wish to take advantage of studying with quality teachers in a quality learning environment. The weekend's workshops are designed to offer something to most levels of dancers from those just starting out to those at advanced level who are looking for a serious challenge! Either way our aim is for our delegates to go home with a wealth of dance information to add to their own dance experiences in the year ahead as well as great memories from a fun weekend.
As one of our delegates so aptly put it - "Celebrating Dance - a festival with a heart!"
Afra and John believe it is the combination of the following that has made Celebrating Dance the special event it has become over the years or as one delegate put it " a dance experience you will never forget!" Nikki and her team will be following this tradition in the years to come so that the festival continues to offer such a unique dance experience.
Warm and friendly, non-competitive atmosphere. Dancers come back every year because other events just don't offer the same atmosphere to their delegates. The festival team are there to ensure that you have a great time and are always on hand should you need them.
High quality instruction in a non-crowded environment with teachers who are friendly, knowledgeable and approachable. Celebrating Dance has no room for divas of any sort. Nikki carefully screens all the teachers' credentials and she will never employ anyone, no matter how big the name, if she cannot establish a friendly rapport with them. She understands that no matter how hard you want to work, you need to have fun too!
Last but by no means least - we know how to throw a good party and on Friday and Saturday nights we have a huge amount of fun!