A COUNTY-wide dance festival is back this year with more moves and tricks up its sleeve.

Dancin’ Oxford Festival, now 14 years old, sees dance groups perform a variety of different styles encouraging people to try something new.

Starting on February 28 for ten days, this year’s festival includes 15 companies, a photographic exhibition, taster sessions, workshops and masterclasses delivered by professionals and local dance groups in venues around the county.

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It will also feature a new Dance Audience Club which allows people to see three performances together before meeting to discuss their experiences.

Claire Thompson, Oxford City Council arts officer, said: “I am so pleased that what was a tiny festival has grown to be such a valued part of the Oxfordshire cultural scene.

“This year I am particularly pleased that we are offering an intriguing range of performances especially at our free launch where we have six companies performing for more than five hours in the Westgate.

“The introduction of our Dance Audience Club this year we hope will encourage more people to see dance.”

Dancin’ Oxford is funded by Oxford City Council and Arts Council England.

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The Westgate Centre will host the launch event on February 29 which is free for the public to attend and will offer a range of dance from local youth groups to award-winning popping and animation dancers Pro-Motion, and family dance company Kapow Dance Circus Theatre.

There will also be opportunities for all to join in a Zumba party and learn some street dance moves.

Brendan Hattam, general manager of Westgate Oxford, said: “We’re proud to support the fantastic Dancin’ Oxford Festival once again, providing a platform for incredible local talent as well as dance companies known around the world.

“The free launch event will take place here at Leiden Square, showcasing spectacular performances and giving visitors the opportunity to get involved themselves.”

New this year is an exhibition of dance images at The North Wall by ex-dancer and photojournalist Colin Jones.

Some of the other highlights include the Moving with the Times performance, Neon Dance performing at Oxford University Natural History Museum, Oxford-based performer Joelle Pappas and Gecko & Mind the Gap.

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For more information, go to www.dancinoxford.co.uk.