Hundreds perform sand dance on Sunderland beach

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More than 400 pupils and staff from a Washington school performed a dance routine on Roker beach as part of a week-long mini cultural festival.

All pupils and teachers from Usworth Colliery Primary School were transported down to Roker to deliver a routine they’d learned from Dance City, the regional dance agency that has a studio in Sunderland.

Dancing on the beach

Dancing on the beach

The dance was a feature of a mini-culture festival created through a partnership between three Washington schools and Sunderland Culture, through its Great Place scheme.

Last year Sunderland Culture secured £1.25m of National Lottery funding for the Great Place Scheme, a joint fund from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery Fund to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of communities.

The festival was held over the last days of the school’s summer term. Other activities included workshops delivered by West End performer Brandon Lee Sears; a music day with singer songwriter Barry Hyde of the Futureheads and working with artists from The Thought Foundation.

Vicki Kennedy, Sunderland Culture’s Great Place Scheme Producer, said: “Everyone involved in the festival had a great time, the artists, the teachers and particularly the children – and the many people watching us on Roker beach!

“Seeing so many young people and their teachers enjoying dancing was quite inspirational.

“The festival was the launch event of a three-year long Great Place programme to get arts and culture more ingrained into Washington schools. We know art can play such an important role in bringing local communities together, giving young people ideas and inspiration, and improving the area’s health and wellbeing.”

Vicki added: “In our first year we’ll be working directly with pupils and delivering a cultural programme into schools; during the second year we’ll be involving parents and looking at the cultural offering locally, and in the third year we want to take a wider, community view and see how we can increase the speed of engagement with the arts.”