The Big Dance Pledge

The Big Dance Pledge aims to inspire people to dance and to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness. This case study explains how 2014 guest choreographer Scottish Ballet’s inclusive approach encouraged creative responses from participants for the first time.

On Friday 16 May, more than 67,000 people in 24 countries danced in schools, town squares, sports centres and playgrounds as part of The Big Dance Pledge.

The Pledge aims to inspire new groups to dance, existing groups to try different styles and for everyone to create prominent public performances that reach new audiences and raise the profile of dance in the public consciousness.

Scottish Ballet’s 2014 Pledge Dance

Each year, a different company or choreographer is invited to create a dance for the Big Dance Pledge that is shared with participants through online teaching films. In the year Glasgow hosts the Commonwealth Games, it was Scottish Ballet’s turn to create a new piece of choreography. Films were released in January; groups learned the piece, some also created responses to it, and then everyone performed it on 16 May 2014.

This was the fifth Big Dance Pledge and 2014 saw the highest levels of Scottish engagement – in particular more public performance events than ever before. The approach taken by Scottish Ballet was inclusive and allowed participants to respond creatively to the choreography for the first time.

Who were the delivery partners?

In Scotland, teachers were trained by Scottish Ballet and YDance, who also delivered workshops for teachers in areas without dance development provision. Other delivery partners included Big Dance, Get Scotland Dancing, Get Scotland Dancing Hubs (x6) and Dance Development Officers. The British Council distributed information internationally.

How were participants encouraged to develop their creativity?

  • The dance contained a wide variety of dance styles requiring participants to be open-minded and try new things outwith their comfort zones.
  • Groups were encouraged to create a choreographic response in their own style and to post a video online.

Through taking part, leaders and dancers became…..

  • Motivated and ambitious for change for the better, including in their own capabilities
  • Confident in the validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others, where appropriate

What impact did the Big Dance Pledge have?

  • Feedback gathered by Get Scotland Dancing shows that many participants were new to dance and felt encouraged to continue with further dance activity.
  • In future years the approach to creating the choreography and film resources will be informed by the successful developments of 2014.
  • Project leaders have learned that more inclusive video resources and a more co-ordinated effort from dance hubs and development officers increases participation.

Further reading



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