DANCE was taken from the theatre and onto the streets for a festival that kept Oxford moving to the rhythm.

Dancin’ on the Green, the annual summer festival by Dancin’ Oxford, showcased top level performers from across the UK at Gloucester Green Market on Saturday.

The popular event, which marked its 11th year, was set up to raise the profile of dance and encourage people from across the county to develop a passion for the art form.

Founder of the festival, Claire Thompson, said: “This year’s festival went amazingly well. There were huge crowds and many people were staying around to watch for quite a long time.

“The performers have all really enjoyed themselves too. Hopefully some people will be inspired and take the opportunity to join a class.”

A wide range of performers from across the country took to the dance stage in Gloucester Green over the course of the afternoon.

The varied program included national professional companies James Wilton Dance, Company Chameleon, Sole Rebel Tap and Granny Turismo (‘the world's first and only shopping trolley dance display team’).

Some of the performers were from closer to home. Jenai Mason was performing with dance group S.2.C with nine other young dancers aged from 13 to 20. The street dance group are from Cassington-based dance school Step2Dance.

Ms Mason, 19, who is a member of the school’s older dance crew, said: “There was a really good crowd considering the weather and the group did really well. They’re a fairly new team but they work really well together and they all get on.

“We really support Dancin’ Oxford and we think the festival is such a good idea. It’s all free so it really draws people in.

“We do get a lot of clients from it, people who come into the school and say they saw us performing at the festival, which is really good.”

The festival was created, said founder Ms Thompson, due to a distinct lack of a central event in Oxford to raise the profile and visibility of dance.

It started in the spring of 2007 with the aim of inspiring people to engage with dance, whether as an observer or participant.

Ms Thompson said: “That’s why we’ve always had a really broad program. The festival isn’t just aimed at people who already dance and enjoy dance – but those people who have never seen it live too.

“It’s great to take dance out of the theatres and into a public place and see such huge numbers of people come along to watch.

“It’s really exciting to see people joining in and enjoying themselves. There are some people who don’t get up but you can see them dancing in their seats. That’s why we still do it.”

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