City’s feminist history takes the lead in unique dance event: Dance (AL,L) Procession 80s Still 5

22 Mar 2024

City’s feminist history takes the lead in unique dance event

Leeds Art Gallery Museums and galleries Arts

The streets of Leeds are set to be transformed by a unique celebration of dance, inspired by the city’s trailblazing feminist history.

Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery will be the setting for Melanie Manchot’s Dance (All Night) this April, which has already seen performances take place in major cities across Europe.

Leeds was the birthplace of the Reclaim the Night (RTN) March in 1977, which kick-started the global Reclaim the Night movement in protest against sexual violence and for gender equality.

Taking inspiration from that landmark protest, the event on April 13 will see more than 10 Leeds dance and movement organisations re-trace the routes taken by the original feminist protesters.

Members of the public will then be invited to come together and transform Victoria Gardens into a dance space, with the groups involved offering free dance lessons in different styles including Indian classical, hula hooping, Bulgarian folk and salsa.

The event has been organised by Leeds Art Gallery in partnership with the artists and with support from Lubaina Himid Projects, SAA-UK and Balbir Singh Dance Company.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “Leeds is proud of its history as both the birthplace of the Reclaim the Night movement and the home to a unique array of incredible dance organisations.

“Bringing these two important elements of the city’s story together is a perfect way to celebrate the city’s heritage and our diverse and vibrant contemporary cultural offer.”

Dance (All Night) has previously been performed in Paris (2011), London (2017) and Biel (2019).

The Leeds event will feature two processions, with routes to be publicised nearer the time on the Leeds Art Gallery website and on social media.

Both processions start at 6.30pm and conclude in Victoria Gardens in front of the gallery at 8pm. Following a performance by Leeds rollers skaters, at 8.30 pm members of the public will be able to take part in dance lessons offered free of charge by the dance schools involved. Lessons will take place using silent disco headphones and will run until 1am.

The artist behind the project, Melanie Manchot, said: Bringing people from different cultures and generations together to dance in public at night is a powerful statement, especially in times when we are so challenged by divisions and conflicts. It speaks to the potential of collective action and shared space.”

 Jane Bhoyroo, Principal Keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, added:Leeds has such a flourishing dance scene and a radical feminist history and this project connects to both these aspects of our city. The evening will be an opportunity for a joyous gathering of different dance cultures and styles, and an important statement about the right to take up space in the city and to enjoy the city after dark.”

 For more information and updates about the event, please visit:


For media enquiries contact:

Stuart Robinson
Leeds City Council