Dancing For Tony event plans its second year in Chichester

The date has been set for next year’s Dancing for Tony event after the inaugural night in Chichester proved a run-away success.

The show drew its inspiration from Tony Denison, a great supporter of contemporary dance, who died of cancer a year ago.

Tony’s wife Ann Nugent-Denison, a senior lecturer at the University of Chichester, put together the night as a fundraiser for Chichester’s St Wilfrid’s Hospice which gave Tony superb care in his final illness.

The show attracted an audience more than 200 strong and raised £2,500, with the university’s dancers providing the entertainment, hosted by Richard Alston, one of the most revered figures in British contemporary dance.

Detta Howe, Cai Tomas and Yael Flexer are members of staff; mapdance and 3Fall Dance Company 2013 are university-based companies; and Lîla Dance and Replica Company are companies which have grown out of the university’s work.

Ann said: “I am still in a whirl. There was a great wave of humanity. What we discovered was the great breadth of human spirit. People were amazing. Everybody loved it, and we are doing it again next year, on Sunday, May 11.

Stephanie Potter, a member of mapdance who opened and closed the show, said it was a privilege to be part of it: “Ann chose us to be part of it, and we were really looking forward to it. It was quite sentimental for us knowing how much it meant to Ann.”

Student Gabrielle Vella was a volunteer behind the scenes on the day: “There were so many dance students who helped out with making cakes and decorating the hall. Four houses in Chichester were cooking cakes. From my perspective, it was lovely to be part of something like this.

“Ann is brilliant. She is professional, but she cares. You can see her passion for her students. She has got a lot of love - and it was a great chance to give that love back to her.”

Dance student Taryn Muller was the photographer for the day, capturing beautifully-crafted images of the performers during rehearsals, before being able to watch the show on the night as a member of the audience: “It was great to be there.”