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Work starts on new Leeds dance centre

Work is now underway on the construction of a new £12m centre of excellence for dance in Leeds, which will become the new home of the Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and the Phoenix Dance Theatre (PDT).

The new six-storey venue, which has been designed by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership between LCC's in-house architectural consultancy and Jacobs Architecture, will also house Leeds Metropolitan University's (LMU) new dance degree courses when completed. Facilities at the centre, which is expected to open in summer 2010, will include seven dance studios, a 230-seat studio theatre, a public viewing gallery and a café, as well as a costume workshop and meeting rooms.

Leeds City Council has committed £6.7m towards the new centre, including a contribution from Yorkshire Forward, while Arts Council England, Yorkshire, has invested £3.5m. A fundraising campaign to source the remaining £1.5m for the development has also now secured more than £1m. The building will provide one of the largest dance spaces outside of London, and is being constructed next to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Leeds College of Music and Yorkshire Dance.

NBT's chief executive, Mark Skipper, said: "Our current headquarters in West Park were intended as temporary accommodation with a view always to creating a purpose-built home for the company. We can hardly believe that we have reached the point where work can start on site of our building." Chris Bailey, dean of LMU's Faculty of Arts and Society, added: "By helping Phoenix and Northern Ballet Theatre to realise their dream of creating a showcase for excellence in dance in the centre of Leeds, we are also bringing to fruition our aspiration as a university, which is to give students opportunities to work alongside artists working to the highest professional standards."

Work is now underway on the construction of a new £12m centre of excellence for dance in Leeds, which will become the new home of the Northern Ballet Theatre (NBT) and the Phoenix Dance Theatre (PDT). The new six-storey venue, which has been designed by the Strategic Design Alliance, a partnership between LCC's in-house architectural consultancy and Jacobs Architecture, will also house Leeds Metropolitan University's (LMU) new dance degree courses
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