Leeds, known for its groundbreaking feminist activism, is poised to witness a unique spectacle of dance, drawing inspiration from its rich history of women’s rights movements.

Scheduled for this April, Melanie Manchot’s Dance (All Night) is set to grace Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery, following its successful performances across major European cities.

In 1977, Leeds birthed the Reclaim the Night (RTN) March, igniting a global movement against sexual violence and advocating for gender equality.

Echoing the spirit of that historic protest, the event on April 13 will see over 10 Leeds-based dance and movement groups retracing the steps of the original feminist demonstrators.

The public will be welcomed to converge and transform Victoria Gardens into a vibrant dance arena, with participating groups offering complimentary lessons in various styles such as Indian classical, hula hooping, Bulgarian folk, and salsa.

Organised by Leeds Art Gallery in collaboration with artists and with the support of Lubaina Himid Projects, SAA-UK, and Balbir Singh Dance Company, the event promises to be a fusion of cultural celebration and homage to Leeds’ feminist legacy.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Leeds is proud of its history as both the birthplace of the Reclaim the Night movement and the home to a unique array of incredible dance organisations.

“Bringing these two important elements of the city’s story together is a perfect way to celebrate the city’s heritage and our diverse and vibrant contemporary cultural offer.”

Previously showcased in Paris (2011), London (2017), and Biel (2019), Dance (All Night) will feature two processions, the routes of which will be publicised closer to the event on the Leeds Art Gallery website and social media platforms.

Commencing at 6:30 pm, both processions will culminate in Victoria Gardens in front of the gallery at 8 pm. Following a performance by Leeds rollers skaters, members of the public can partake in complimentary dance lessons provided by participating schools, facilitated through silent disco headphones, until 1 am.

The artist behind the project, Melanie Manchot, said: “Bringing people from different cultures and generations together to dance in public at night is a powerful statement, especially in times when we are so challenged by divisions and conflicts. It speaks to the potential of collective action and shared space.”

Jane Bhoyroo, Principal Keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, added: “Leeds has such a flourishing dance scene and a radical feminist history and this project connects to both these aspects of our city. The evening will be an opportunity for a joyous gathering of different dance cultures and styles and an important statement about the right to take up space in the city and to enjoy the city after dark.”

For further details and event updates, please visit: https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/events/leeds-art-gallery/dance-all-night-leeds