Cardiff, as the capital city of Wales, has a lot to offer for dancers in terms of venues where they can teach and perform or places where they can watch dance shows of every genre. The choice is not as vast as London; however, as Cardiff is much more compact and it is easier to get from one location to another, you can make the most of your time.
Contemporary dance seems to be the biggest trend in Cardiff, with the National Dance Company of Wales, specialized in this genre, based in the Welsh Millennium Centre and Cardiff Metropolitan University running a degree in dance with a focus on contemporary dance. However, there are opportunities to practice and watch other types of dance too.
Places in Which to Learn Dance
Apart from a 3-year dance degree in dance in Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff offers some venues in which you can take evening classes in dance genres, for children and adults, as disparate as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, burlesque, bharathanatyam (check Indiadancewales.com), hip-hop and ballroom dance. These are the three main venues where classes take place:
- The Gate in Roath (a student area in Cardiff city centre) – this is located in a building which is a church on Sundays, but where they have a room for shows with a stage and a mirrored dance studio used on other days. They are a charity organisation and they also host artwork exhibitions, talks and seminars.
- Rubicon Dance, in Adamstown, south of the city centre – a community dance centre, with mirrored dance studios. Their aim is to engage people with dance and take dance into the community so that anyone can benefit from the positive effects of this art form. They also run courses to train community-oriented dance teachers.
Types of dance such as belly dance and burlesque are run by private teachers who rent venues, such as fitness centres or community halls and you will find them easily with a Google search.
Lessons in social dance genres, such as salsa and tango, are held in pubs and restaurants. For example, for salsa you can look for Salsa Buena or Danca Latina.
For tango, there is a company called Tango Edge and there are classes of Lindy Hop in the city center with Lindy Hop Cardiff.
Halls to Rent for Dance Classes in Cardiff
If you are a dance teacher, there are some venues you can rent, in addition to the ones mentioned above. It is not easy and they are not generally cheap, but prices can be negotiated. For example, there are:
- Heath Sports and Social Club – in the grounds of the Heath Hospitals. They have various halls and a big one with a stage as well. You can rent a room weekly for classes or the hall with the stage for a big event. If you need a more intimate venue, they have another smaller room with a bar and a dance floor next to their main pub.
- Whitchurch Rugby Sports & Social Club – in an area just north of the centre of Cardiff, they also have halls available for weekly classes or shows.
- St Peter’s Church in Roath – they have a hall with a stage that can be rented for shows. The stage is not huge, but of a decent size and they have a lot of space in the back to use as changing rooms, which is often a luxury in this type of venues.
- The Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay – they rent a room where it is possible to hold fitness and dance classes.
- The Masonic Hall, in the city centre – it can be rented for small shows as they have a room, although not too big, with a small stage. Their Duke of Connaught Suite has a capacity of 180 with woodblock floor which is great for dancing and they also have a very good bar. The room is 15.2m x 10.7m and the stage is 5.8m x 4.4m. In-house PA is available.
- 10 Feet Tall – it is a bar in the city centre, which has a room upstairs with a sound system, bar, dance floor and a small stage that they rent for private events. The area is not big, but it will do for small gatherings.
The ones I have mentioned above are just a small number of venues and halls that can be rented. There is a myriad all over Cardiff and in nearby areas.
What you need to keep an eye out for are: sport and social centers, church halls, some bars and pubs, conservative clubs, some fitness clubs, cultural centers, and hotels (such as the Mercure on Newport Road, which has a big meeting venue where a dance teacher I know has sometimes organized shows for her students).
None of these venues are perfect, they all have pros and cons, but they are there available to be hired.
Places to Watch Dance Shows in Cardiff
In addition to small dance performances and community events, which you will know about if you are connected somehow to the dance community and which are held occasionally in some of the locations listed above, there are a few big official venues.
Welsh Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay- this is the most official and most important venue in Cardiff for dance shows. It s a big centre with more than one performance venue.
They host dance productions such as those by British choreographer Matthew Bourne, or groups such as the Brazilian Grupo Corpo or the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta.
In addition, they have musicals, operas, ballet, a lot of contemporary dance performances and they are the base of the National Dance Company of Wales, which has its own venue within the Welsh Millennium Centre, called the Dance House. In addition, in the foyer, the center hosts free shows of music, play, and dance.
The Sherman Theatre – is a smaller venue, in Cathays, near the main building of Cardiff University. It has two cozy theatres and it hosts different types of performing arts, including dance, contemporary in particular.
St David’s Hall in the city centre- here they host mainly concerts, plays, and comedians but a couple of times I have also seen dance there, such as ballet and flamenco.
The New Theatre, also in the city center – it is smaller and does not offer many dance shows very often, but sometimes they do. Once I saw a burlesque show and they sometimes have shows with Strictly Come Dancing performers, for those who like watching ballroom dance shows.
Outdoor Dance Events
Although the weather is not easy to predict in Britain, Cardiff holds an outdoor dance event in August, called Cardiff Carnival. It includes outdoor performances and taster events and it usually ends in a parade across the streets of the city center. It is mainly focused on community dance and you can see genres such as samba, burlesque, belly dance, capoeira, and lindy hop.
Another event that takes place usually in September in Cardiff Bay is the Cardiff Mela. This is a family multicultural event, mainly revolving around music and dance inspired by British-Indian culture. There are concerts on stage, as well as Bollywood dance performances.
As you can see from what I have written, there are many dance opportunities in Cardiff for learning, teaching and watching. If you know the dance scene in Cardiff and know of other venues that I did not mention, please feel free to contact me to let me know. I would be happy to add them.
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