Michel Kirland, Head of Factual Entertainment, Sky said: “I am thrilled to be working with Ashley again on such an ambitious project. Ashley is hugely talented and it’s his passion and commitment to street dance that we think will encourage the whole of Stockton-On-Tees to dance in the streets”.
Stockton-on-Tees has a proud dance heritage. Through the war years and right up until the 1960s, the North East’s thriving market town boasted an impressive three dance halls, more than average for a town of its size. From the jitterbug and the jive to the shuffle and swing, each weekend the halls and clubs reverberated to the sound of music and laughter as the community danced its cares away. But in the 1970s the dance halls began to close, and it seemed that Stockton had forgotten how to dance.
In recent times Stockton like much of the North East of England and Teesside in particularly has and is going through a period of economic depression .
Despite this Stockton has a proud heritage and was instrumental in Britains Industrial Revolution .
`In 1822, Stockton witnessed an event which changed the face of the world forever and heralded the dawn of a new era in trade, industry and travel. The first rail of George Stephenson's Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid near St. John's crossing on Bridge Road. Hauled by Locomotion No 1, the great engineer himself manned the engine on its first journey in 1825. Fellow engineer and friend, Timothy Hackworth acted as guard. This was the world's first passenger railway, connecting Stockton with Shildon. The opening of the railway greatly boosted Stockton, making it easier to bring coal to the factories; however the port declined as business had moved down river to Middlesbrough`
`Stockton witnessed another discovery in 1827. Local chemist John Walker invented the friction match in his shop at 59 High Street. `
Ashley Banjo commented: “I have always believed that street dance is for everyone, whether you are part of a crew or going solo. This is the biggest challenge I have ever taken on, let’s hope I can give Stockton-on-Tees their dancing spirit back.”
Now Ashley plans to change all that – he aims to create a dazzling street-dance showcase that will reinvigorate the town, create a new community spirit and get thousands of people dancing in celebration. He’ll start by bringing together people who have similar jobs but who have never met. From shop assistants and market traders, teachers and librarians, to council staff and care workers, Ashley will unite the town’s workers by choreographing a series of individual street dance routines.
Then, for one day only, Stockton’s high street, the widest in Britain, will be transformed into the UK’s largest open air venue as Ashley and his workers bring the routines together. He’ll lead the whole town in an unforgettable, show-stopping street-dance finale.
Tim Whitwell Head of Programmes, added: “This is going to be an inspirational and entertaining series, with Ashley creating an unprecedented street dance spectacle. There will be heart-warming stories, personal transformations and surprises galore, as well as some aesome choreography. It willbe a unique TV event.”
Hardwick Community Centre - possible venue for local trials ?