Dance City, the North East’s leading development organisation for dance, has appointed Anand Bhatt as its new Chief Executive and Artistic Director who will take up the post on July 1st 2020.

Anand Bhatt, most recently Executive Producer at Aakash Odedra Company in Leicester, which he jointly founded in 2011 with Aakash Odedra, is looking forward to relocating to North East England.

He will lead Dance City, as it emerges from the challenges of coronavirus, into the next stage of its development, aiming to build a sustainable business model that successfully serves all the leading dance organisation’s audiences, communities and stakeholders.


Anand Bhatt, CEO Dance City said:

“Dance City is a unique and dynamic dance institution and I am delighted to be taking up the post at one of the leading cultural organisations in the North. My journey to Dance City began at the start of this year before any of us could have predicted the impact that the pandemic would have on society and the cultural sector in particular.

“I know that over the coming months Dance City will have to scrutinise all areas of our business, make savings and efficiencies, change the way we operate and think carefully about how we deliver our mission, vision and charitable purpose.

“The challenges we face with this pandemic are unprecedented but I’m looking forward to working with the talented team at Dance City so that we can continue to make a difference to lives of people in the North East and contribute to the regional economy.”


With venues in both Newcastle and Sunderland Dance City also works in communities throughout the region, ensuring that people in the North East have the same or even better cultural opportunities as the rest of the country.

During the pandemic 75 staff have been furloughed after the buildings had to close on March 17th 2020. However online dance training has been available to support current students, virtual auditions have taken place to assist next year’s intake of students, and other online activities and classes will be offered over the summer as Dance City adapts to the current social distancing rules.


Sharon Paterson, Chair of the Trustees, Dance City, said

“I am very pleased to announce that Anand Bhatt will be the new Chief Executive of Dance City. The board are very much looking forward to welcoming Anand to the region and working with him leading our talented team at Dance City.

“Dance City has a proud history as a charity, but one which is resilient and commercially minded – pre-lockdown we earned roughly two thirds of our income through trading and hires. The board will be supporting our new CEO and the senior management team to find new ways of working post Covid-19.

“We appointed Anand from many high calibre applicants, but Anand’s experience and passion for dance in addition to his vision for Dance City made him stand out. This is an unprecedented time, when the pressures on Dance City have never been greater but I believe that he will take us forward with passion, energy and confidence.”

Dance City is part of Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV), a consortium of non-profit distributing cultural organisations, operating visual arts, performing arts, music, dance, film, writing and literature, heritage, archives and museums and science communication venues in Tyne and Wear.


Abigail Pogson, Co-Chair of NGCV and Managing Director, Sage Gateshead said:

“On behalf of the NGCV network, we welcome Anand to Dance City and Newcastle Gateshead. This is a hugely exciting appointment and we are looking forward to working with him. The present time has shown how crucial the arts and culture are in people’s lives, for communities and for a place and it is therefore fantastic to have a new era at Dance City begin during this urgent and challenging time. Welcome, Anand!”

Anand Bhatt will take up his post on July 1. He will be taking over CEO responsibilities from Ian McKeown and Artistic Director responsibilities from Phil Douglas. Ian will continue in his role as Financial Director and Phil as Creative Producer.

Dance City is the North East’s leading development organisation for dance and the biggest dance employer in the north of England. Established for over 30 years Dance City exists to lead and support a thriving dance ecology in the region.

Image by Glen D’Mello.