Dancin’ Oxford is the brainchild of Claire Thompson, who is behind its tenth anniversary celebrations starting this week

Oxford has been offering dance in many guises for much longer than the Dancin’ Oxford festival has been around.

But I wanted to offer a fantastic celebration of dance in the city, working with venues and artists to provide a large-scale city-wide event to bring dance to people who would not ordinarily experience it in their lives.

Over the years, Dancin’ Oxford has offered over 250 workshops and 300 performances from dance companies across the globe, plus eight large-scale spectacular events, many of which have been tailored to the inspirational city we call home and enjoyed by thousands.

The one event that has been held each year and is growing, is our free four-hour launch event held in the city centre. This year, named ‘Dancin Spaces’ (Feb 27), it features exciting new dance pieces by seven local and national professional dancers and companies, one of which involves bodyguards and another disco grannies.

Over the years we have seen large crowds enjoying dance in the streets, some of whom, we know, have seen live dance for the first time.

The festival has grown significantly and 2016 offers us a fantastic opportunity to celebrate that. In addition to seeing the return of old friends and festival favourites, there will also be work from many exciting new artists and companies.

It gives me much pleasure to have programmed We Were Young, with Jos Baker, Tomislav English and Sam Coren, three male dancers now at the top of their game, who began their dancing lives as young boys in Oxford. What greater celebration of dance in Oxford can we have than these three internationally renowned dancers returning to their beginnings and dancing at Pegasus where they began with Cecilia MacFarlane and Oxford Youth Dance.

The music is provided by composer Tommy Evans, who danced with them but turned his sights to a career in music instead of dance. He, too, is very successful and is currently writing music for English National Ballet and Rambert Dance Company, so he hasn’t moved too far from his roots.

See dancinoxford.co.uk