A BALLET company will be opening a new base in a Bradford city centre building this summer, and it hopes to attract dancers from across all the city’s communities.

Project Resurgence will be based in the Latitude building – the former HMRC offices on Nelson Street.

The group will mix “elite” programmes for dancers with offering community outreach work that aims to open opportunities for people who might otherwise struggle to participate in the world of ballet.

Based on the fourth floor of the building, the non profit, community interest company is busy creating a large open studio space, a medium sized studio and areas for strength and conditioning training, as well as space for personal trainers.

Martin Howland at the under construction studio space in LatitudeMartin Howland at the under construction studio space in Latitude (Image: Newsquest)

And one of the founders of the organisation hopes that their dancers can play a big role in the upcoming City of Culture celebrations, as well as offering a boost to the regeneration of Bradford city centre.

The community interest company says its aim is to “deliver free technical training to communities, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability or circumstance.”

The group is headed up by artistic director Martin Howland – a Brighouse dancer who successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School aged 11.

Martin Howland, artistic and technical directorMartin Howland, artistic and technical director (Image: Newsquest)

He has toured the world as a dancer before moving into teaching and training.

Kay Reardon is operations director for the company, and is also a former dancer who has moved into teaching, particularly children from deprived areas.

They currently offer classes and training in Leeds, but plan to move to Bradford to offer more opportunities for people to take part in what is often seen as an activity closed to many people.

Outreach work in Leeds has seen children in the Meanwood area of the city offered free ballet training, and Project Resurgence aims to provide similar projects in Bradford.

LatitudeLatitude (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Howland said: “The space should be ready by mid-August in preparation for the start of the academic year.

“We want to give people the means to access dance and we aim to provide training they can afford. We’re trying to make a platform where everyone can find it affordable.”

Although the organisation currently focuses on dancers aged between four and 18, the aim is to expand this to all ages, offering sensory sessions for toddlers, classes for parents and babies and dance training for people of all ages.

Mr Howland said: “We want classes for every age range, from 0 to 90.”

Martin Howland, artistic and technical director, in the new studio spaceMartin Howland, artistic and technical director, in the new studio space (Image: Newsquest)

He said there was a “big call” for ballet classes, especially for beginners, and the move to Bradford would hopefully meet that need.

Mr Howland said around 120 children currently attend weekend classes, and when the Bradford studio opens that will bring hundreds of people to the city centre on a regular basis.

There will also be a café space in the building for parents.

He added: “It will also have a first – a rehabilitation space inside the studio. If a dancer gets injured they will be able to train and take part in lessons. It will be a rest and recovery room alongside the studio.

“We’ll be doing performances – that is very much part of the plan going forward, and we want to keep that in Bradford.”

He said the move to the city centre comes at a good time, with City of Culture just a few months away, and the Brit School set to open a Northern Academy in the city centre in the coming years.

Hoping his students will play a role in 2025, he said: “There are people we want to speak to once we get a bit more exposure. Hopefully we can feed into City of Culture.”

He also hopes to collaborate with other businesses in Bradford, adding: “We don’t want people to have to go to Leeds to buy equipment, we want everything to stay in Bradford.”

The Latitude building was one of two HMRC offices in the city centre until it closed in 2019.

It has since been converted into a more flexible space, with different floors leased out to different companies and organisations. Some of the space has been taken by Regus, a company that provides serviced office space.