Published : 16/05/2012 00:00

Call for volunteers to put best foot forward for Olympics celebration

The call has gone out this week for volunteers eager to play a special role in the spectacular Olympic Torch celebration event to be held at Temple Newsam Park in June.

As one of the elements of the free event to be held on Sunday 24 June to mark the iconic flame being in Leeds, the audience will be asked to take part in a mass-participation dance the scale of which has never been seen before in the city.

Led by 50 dancers on stage from RJC Dance, Yorkshire Dance Youth, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Phoenix  Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy, local organisers Leeds City Council and Space2 are now looking to attract 1,962 recruits to join in to make a combined 2012-dancer performance which the rest of the crowd will then be encouraged to repeat.

Any individuals over the age of 16 can volunteer to take part, while under-16s, dance and youth groups must be accompanied by adults. No previous dance experience is needed as rehearsals will be held to learn the routine in the run-up to the event. The routine will also be accessible for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility. Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more at

At the event the volunteers will be positioned in front of the stage to join with the 50 on-stage performers in leading the mass dance, which is being choreographed by Sharon Watson, artistic director of Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre.

The event performance and all the rehearsals are being co-ordinated by Space2, a local charity which engages with local communities from across Leeds by using the arts as a focus for increasing self-esteem and community cohesion.

In addition to the mass dance there will also be performance poetry from Leeds Young Authors and a mass sing led by international singer, jazz pianist and choir master Pete Churchill along with over 200 members of local community choirs.

The show, which will feature headline performances by Friendly Fires and Little Comets, is being staged by Coca-Cola, a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). One of the highlights of the event will be the arrival of the Olympic Torch itself on stage after travelling across Leeds.

The Temple Newsam Park event is one of only four major overnight Olympic Torch celebration events being held in the UK as the torch travels around the country on its 70-day tour before reaching the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Games on Friday 27 July 2012.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:
“The Temple Newsam Olympic celebration event is going to an amazing spectacle and it would be fantastic to see the whole crowd taking part in the mass-participation elements.

“We are thrilled to be working with RJC Dance, Yorkshire Dance Youth, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Phoenix  Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy and we know they will produce a sensational display and really showcase their wonderful talents.

“The mass-participation dance should be a lot of fun and everyone who volunteers will have a never-to-be-forgotten story to tell so I would encourage everyone to sign up and get involved.”

To find out how to volunteer and get instructions for the mass dance go to