Dame Darcey Bussell joins Company Chameleon as Patron

5 February 2019

We are delighted to welcome Dame Darcey Bussell on board as Company Chameleon’s first-ever Patron.

The world-renowned British ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge got to know Company Chameleon through collaborating with our Co-Artistic Director, Kevin Edward Turner, on BBC Two documentary ‘Dancing to Happiness’ last year.

In a speech accepting the patronage, Dame Darcey Bussell said: “Meeting Kevin and hearing his passion for Company Chameleon, it was completely clear that there was a particular strength here…an inspiration. 

 I like the individuality of the company, they show how expressive and physically provoking dance can be.  I know how effective they are in reaching out and performing to so many communities, especially to the young.  They share my passion for the positive impact that dance can have on people’s lives and their accessible dance style celebrates that dance is for everyone. 

With a strong inspirational team led by Kevin and Anthony, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me feel that the Company has such a powerful purpose here in the UK and abroad.

I am very proud to become Company Chameleon’s first Patron and I am looking forward to seeing more of the Company’s work and being part of its future. May it thrive for many, many years.”

Kevin said, “It was wonderful to work with Darcey on the BBC 2 documentary and it’s even more wonderful to welcome her on board as our first-ever Patron. 

Darcey is a very public figure who is committed to dance. The organisations she supports, the projects she is involved with and everything she does to promote and raise awareness around dance is mind-blowing. We have massive respect for her, and admire all the great work she does, which is hugely important for dance development in the UK today.”

Darcey’s patronage happens at an exciting time for Chameleon. Coinciding with our 10th anniversary celebrations, last year saw us expand our team, join Manchester City Council’s cultural portfolio and for the first-time, move into our own dance studio, next door to Rogue Artists’ Studios at the former Varna Street Primary School in Openshaw.

Co-Artistic Director, Anthony Missen said, “Welcoming Darcey as our Patron means an incredible amount to Company Chameleon. It’s an acknowledgment of all the dedication and hard work that everyone in the team have put in over the last 10 years.  It’s an honour that she’s prepared to attach her name to us!

The timing is perfect,” adds Kevin, “Having recently moved into our own dance studio, a priority is to develop a new Get Involved programme. We want to get more people dancing and seeing the benefit of dance across our home city. Darcey’s association and support will help us do this by increasing our reach.”

Company Chameleon’s vision is to make Manchester more of a dancing city. With Manchester City Council’s support, we are currently taking dance into schools across Greater Manchester for free, and this month sees the launch of The Saturday Sessions, a new programme of dance classes for young people at our studio in Openshaw.

This is just the start,” explains Anthony, “We hope to eventually offer all sorts of dance classes for all sorts of people – from performance events, to contact jams, from classes for absolute beginners to classes for professional artists. It’s brilliant to have Darcey on board at the start of this journey and what is a new era for the company as we explore the possibilities of having our own studio.”

Dame Darcey Bussell said, “Company Chameleon’s vision and plans for their new space is inspiring and will enrich the dance community in the North West. It’s fantastic the Company has the opportunity to develop a hub for creating its international dance productions, as well as a programme of classes and workshops firmly rooted in Manchester.”

Watch the film below of Darcey accepting the patronage.

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