The residents of Barnsley celebrate their history and heritage in a dance spectacular, with the help of West End performer and choreographer Steve Elias.
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In one corner of Britain, it's a special day.
On this bright summer's morning, hundreds are gathering.
They're taking part in a street performance
to celebrate the heritage and history of their town.
We're here in the 21st century.
And we need to be put on the map.
A spectacle that tells the story of what makes their town unique.
There were pits in this valley.
It were like Dante's Inferno.
-The smoke, the steam.
Helping to bring those stories to life
is West End choreographer Steve Elias.
Dance can do so much.
It unites, it allows people to express themselves,
it celebrates, it entertains.
Dance, I believe, has the power to be life-changing.
Steve's spending the summer in Yorkshire,
where he wants to get three very different towns dancing.
-Hiya, do you dance?
-He'll be persuading everyone from beginners...
I don't even know... That's a hell of a challenge.
..to gifted amateurs to join together
for the performance of a lifetime,
through the town's streets.
I'm drawing on flash mobs and viral videos
and the London Olympics opening ceremony,
where you witnessed the power dance has
to bring people together and show the world
who they really are.
At the end of the summer,
Steve's master plan is to bring all three towns together, in York,
to stage on final extravaganza that celebrates the whole of the county.
Personally, I think he's raving bonkers.
And it all begins in Barnsley.
Three, four, five, six...
Oh, my God!
As I thought - carnage.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
Yeah. Ka-da, ka-da, ka-da.
So, there's that little jazz feel coming from here...
Choreographer and award-winning performer Steve Elias
has a career spanning 25 years.
Growing up in South Wales,
a budding prop forward and the son of a brickie,
it wasn't a foregone conclusion that I'd end up on the stage.
One, two, three, four, five, six.
A-ra, ra, da, ra...
'I remember the moment like a lightning bolt.
'I was six,'
in St Peter's Civic Hall,
watching my oldest brother in an amateur production of Oliver.
That was the moment I went, "That's what I want to do."
And two, and three...
After studying dance and choreography,
Steve went on to play roles in some of our best-loved musicals.
Za-pa-ta, da-pa-ta, da - ah!
I spent a glorious 25 years working in the West End.
The original company of Billy Elliot,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls.
And I feel thankful and lucky
that I'm able to do a job that I love.
As a choreographer, Steve's impressive client list
includes the Scottish Opera and the BBC Proms.
That's it, triple it. Romantic.
But none of his work to date matches the scale of this new challenge.
Dance has this power to let people express themselves.
Can I achieve the same result for a whole community?
That's the challenge.
I want to go to the people,
find out about their lives and stories,
and use that as a springboard
to create choreography which is
personal to them.
Steve's heading to Yorkshire.
Covering 6,000 square miles,
it's Britain's largest county.
I have a fond spot for Yorkshire. Having worked there as an actor,
I found the audiences to be warm,
I want to find out more, and whether they'd be willing to join me
on this journey, to get them to dance.
The first stop on Steve's Yorkshire odyssey is Barnsley,
an ex-mining town 16 miles north of Sheffield.
Come on, Barnsley.
I want to see for myself,
and discover - what is Barnsley?
Who are the people who live in Barnsley?
And where Barnsley is now.
So, this is the war memorial, and town hall...
..and there's a fantastic monument which celebrates mining...
..which has all the names of the pits.
-Bag of bananas, 50p a bag.
People from Barnsley, you know,
they're built on solid working-class roots - so am I.
The town centre is very reminiscent of where I was brought up.
I'm a working-class boy who works in theatre.
Am I going the right direction for the working man's club?
-Yeah, just top of the street.
-It's all right. Cheers.
Steve's arranged to meet local historian Dave Cherry.
-Hiya, mate. How are you getting on?
-All right? Good.
-I'm Steve, nice to meet you.
-Yeah, wonderful, mate.
-Where you from, where you from?
-Originally, South Wales. Carmarthen.
-Very much like Barnsley...
-..an old mining...
-In the Valleys?
-So, you were a miner?
-A job for life, if you like, in them days.
-Or so we thought.
I started at a pit called Barrow,
and I used to catch the 5.20 bus, when I was 15 years old.
There'd be, like, three or four hundred men...
-..waiting on the bus, you know?
Once the pit started closing down, what happened?
-When one miner went..
-..15 more ancillary workers lost their jobs.
Even the blokes who made the pies for the canteen,
the steel works, the railway.
-You know, it were a big knock-on effect...
..a devastating blow, and that was it.
-Roy Orbison - It's Over.
-All gone. It's Over!
-It had gone.
Coal mining in Barnsley reached its peak
in the early part of the 20th century.
30,000 local men worked more than 50 pits,
generating wealth that lasted into the 1960s.
-There is little doubt that Barnsley owes special thanks
for her prosperity to the presence of the rich coal-bearing seam
beneath her boundaries.
Boom town Barnsley.
The closure of Cortonwood Colliery in 1985
marked the steady decline of the industry.
When I was a young kid, this was a massive market town.
-Wonderful, wonderful place. It's just a shame, a proud town.
-We've had the stuffing kicked out of us.
We've lost its pride, its identity.
-Can you explain to me this Yorkshire pride?
-It's this resilience...
-..when you've got nowt, you're at the bottom of the pile, you're...
-That you fight against it.
-That you won't give in.
So, then, Steve, why are you here, then? What's...?
Well, I'd better come clean, then, Dave. You know that I'm an actor...
-But I'm also a freelance choreographer.
-So, I'm on a mission.
I want to celebrate your community...
-..and the people who live in it...
..and create something which is all about Yorkshire pride.
I want to get Barnsley dancing.
-Am I being too ambitious?!
I don't know. You want some luck...
-..like any other project.
It's getting the word out.
Personally, I think he's raving bonkers. You know...
It's very, very ambitious.
Hundreds of people dancing through these streets?
I just wish the lad all the best in the world.
I think he loved the idea.
Is he confident that I can pull it off?
I'm not quite sure.
Steve has just four weeks to put on a spectacle
unlike any he's staged before.
Part of my inspiration is all those
viral videos and flash mobs,
that collective power of people dancing together.
One of my main inspirations
was the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
The central message and theme was about
all communities coming together and celebrating
what's great about being British,
and that's what I want to bring to Barnsley.
Steve plans to stage one continuous dance,
snaking through the streets with more and more groups joining,
eventually building to a grand finale.
For this to work, I can't have tens of people,
it needs to be hundreds.
You know, moving through the streets of Barnsley,
picking up different groups, creating choreography
which is designed for them to tell their story.
That's why I think this performance is important.
Obviously, I can't do any of this
without the people of Barnsley behind me,
so I've got to meet the people, meet my cast,
and go from there.
-Can I give you one of these?
-Thank you very much.
Steve wants to get as many locals as he can to the town meeting
he's holding in three days' time.
Can I interest you in some dancing?
-Not right now?
-I'm going into hospital on the 17th of June
for a new knee, I can't dance.
I want to get Barnsley dancing.
-I'll see you there.
-I'll bring 'em.
-All right, all right, mate, cheers.
Throw a few shapes...
The only time I dance is when I'm drunk!
Or when I'm in Benidorm!
-Would you like to dance?
-If you want to.
-Ah, come on, then.
-Come on, then. Let's go.
Right. I'm going to turn you round.
I'm going to take you into a back bend.
I got you!
We're like Fred and Ginger!
HE SINGS A MELODY
Which way? Show me which way you're going.
-You just keep that hand down.
He does ballet already. Show him your ballet.
What? Like this?
It's not about me, it's about them. It's about Barnsley,
and about celebrating the people who live and work within in it.
Strawberries for 1.50.
Can in interest you in some dancing? I'll get you shaking your hips...
I can see you're interested now.
-She's definitely interested now!
-Do you dance?
-Not at all, no.
-I'll do it.
Do I get a vodka?
-You could get anything you want.
Hello, lads. What do you think about dancing?
Oh, God, you've asked the right guy.
-I used to do tap, ballet.
-Come round the back....
-..and if you walk round...
-..and I'll just come here and have a chat with you.
I got up to level six in classical ballet, tap dancing.
Ballroom and Latin...
I've competed at the Blackpool Tower.
So, you are the real Barnsley Billy Elliot, then?
Yeah, you've somehow managed to find me in a chip shop!
-Come and show me some moves.
All right, yeah, I'll come out now.
-What if we started off with single pirouette...
..going into a double pirouette?
Whoa. I can't believe how it's just gone. See, it's horrible.
-You're young enough and fit enough for it to just, kind of, click back in.
And what about if we take it into more of a kind of classical...?
Swing leg and then cut behind. Brilliant. It's there.
-It's coming back...
-This is strange.
-I'm going to be dancing all the way home, now.
I'm going to get in the garden tonight and just keep practising.
-Yeah? See you in a bit, mate.
-See you later, bye.
-Thank you, mate.
That's great. You know, he hasn't danced for six years,
but I could tell, when he was talking about it,
his face just comes to life.
His eyes are sparkling.
And you can't teach... That's somebody who really loves it
and who really misses it.
So, it'd be criminal not to use him.
Steve's keen to get as many groups as possible.
He's discovered a nearby charity who use dance as therapy.
They're a group for people who are suffering from dementia,
where they and their partners can spend two hours
learning very simple steps.
Can I squeeze in? Do you mind?
'The whole point - it's to embrace everyone.'
-Hello, my name's Steve.
Erm... I'm in Barnsley for a special reason...
to get the whole of Barnsley dancing.
So, if I've got any volunteers, hand's up now!
So, all the details are on that flyer.
-I'm glad we're doing all this dancing...
..because it's something I miss.
Dancing means the world to me,
and I can be up in the garden,
perhaps hanging the washing out,
and my feet are going
all the way up the path, hanging my washing out.
And my husband wonders why it takes me so long!
But it, you know, this would mean the world to me.
Can you do a time step, or...?
I can do Roy Castle's, eh...
-Oh. Can you show me, Joan?
-That's good, isn't it?
-Yeah. We call it... Yeah.
Da-ka, da-ka da. Yeah.
For 72-year-old Joan, dance has been a lifelong passion.
I'd be about ten, there.
I wanted to go dancing, but Mum and Dad said,
"Right, you can go, but it's only for one lesson."
And I went from nine years old to 15.
Just before I got to 15,
I'd a chance to audition for the Bluebell Girls.
It was heaven.
And I went for the interview,
and I was almost certain for going through,
but the council wouldn't allow me to go, cos I was still at school.
And that were devastating.
Ken came on the scene not long after.
We got married, and I never dreamt a month of Sundays
that I would be in this position with Ken.
-Are you right, love?
-Come on, then.
Ken had a brilliant job.
He was in management in steelworks,
but Ken went into hospital,
and he finished up with a triple heart bypass.
-Do I get my morning kiss?
Couple of years later, Ken weren't remembering things,
and it came out that Ken had got vascular dementia.
Get your chair a little bit nearer, love, please.
So, I'm giving to him what he's given to me over all these years.
So, Joan, what would it mean to you if I could get you dancing
through the streets in this dance... let's call it an extravaganza,
-this celebration of Barnsley?
-It would mean a hell of a lot to me.
-I know I've something to live for in Ken,
but it'll give me that little bit extra energy.
I want you to have the best time in this celebration,
-that's what I want you to do, is walk away and go...
-..ever so much.
'There's a lot of people like Joan,
'who just find the simple expression
'of just moving together a comforting bond.'
When people go, "What does dance mean to you?"
well, you've just got to look at Joan.
After three days of leafleting and meeting local people and groups,
Steve's hoping tonight's town meeting will be packed out.
I'm bricking it.
If there's only 20 people, I'll take that quite personally,
as in, I've failed. This performance, it's a big deal.
You know, in my head, I see masses...just hundreds of people.
'It just has to work like that.'
Are you for the meeting?
-Hello! Are you for the meeting?
-Can you tell?
-I didn't like to presume, you see.
You could have been on a hen party, I don't know.
-What group are you from?
Barnsley Longsword. The sword dance team.
Oh, fantastic. Good to see you. Good, good, good.
Hey, I think you're doing well.
'Word has definitely got out.'
I just can't wait to get started now.
In my head, I need a cast of hundreds. It's a fantastic start.
So, this piece of music is why I got involved in dance and theatre,
and I used to jive with my aunties to this.
Keen to gauge the dance skills of his first raft of volunteers,
Steve invites them to take to the floor.
Everyone just join in to the circle here. That's it.
Open it out, open it out. Use the whole space.
Take away the dance term, yeah?
You're just walking, so, you're just... One...
And if you want to kind of use your arms,
let's get a little bit of swagger.
I think it's called "flavour" these days.
JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS
I thought it was just going to be a meeting, we're just going to come
and have a few cakes and teas and then we're dancing.
And here I am now, shattered.
We're very fit, as you know, for our age.
Well, we've done it often enough, haven't we?
So, Joan, you told me about your dancing as a child
and how you had the offer of becoming a professional,
so I've got something up my sleeve which I think you'll like,
but I'm not going to tell you what...
-I'm not going naked?
No, you're not going naked.
'Tonight was a great start.
'There's no shortage of energy or talent or commitment.
'They really embody the reason why I'm in Barnsley.'
This lot, these lovely people, it's like preaching to the converted.
They do it week in, week out, all this dance steps and, you know,
all this Good Vibrations, all this stuff.
He's got to go further afield,
bring the old culture of the town back, you know.
So where are we off now, Dave?
-We're going to Mount Vernon, a very scenic view, if you like.
Dave's taking Steve to a hilltop on the outskirts of town
that offers a glimpse into Barnsley's industrial past.
Look at this for a view, hey? How Green Is My Valley?
-This is the Barnsley you never see.
-Absolutely. That's fantastic.
I was born down here in this council estate here and there were five pits
in this valley - Platts Common,
Barrow, Rockingham, Pilley, Wentworth Silkstone.
-It were like Dante's Inferno in them days.
You know, the smoke, the steam, you know,
they used to call it "the steam feast" and they used to have
this whistle on a morning, 4.40, 20 to five in morning,
that was to get all the miners up, and it were a shrill, loud whistle.
Five minutes. It were ear piercing.
-It used to waken everybody up.
-How many men?
-Oh, lock, stock and barrel, oh, 10,000. 10,000.
-Yeah, yeah, 10,000.
And I researched it,
there were three Yorkshire miners killed every week.
It's a hard, hard life, you know.
That's the last remnants of the mining in Barnsley...
Dave's arranged for Steve to meet with former miner Eric.
-How are you doing, Eric?
-I'm all right, Dave.
-Hi, Eric, I'm Steve.
-Thanks so much for agreeing to meet me.
It's a pleasure.
After 50 years at the coal face,
Eric now works at the local mining museum.
I started here as a volunteer. It's like walking back in time.
Morning, Graham. Are we busy?
Miners, they were proud men.
In them conditions,
they looked at the job as a challenge and if something
went wrong, we'd help each other,
the camaraderie is just unbelievable.
They also socialised together, so it wasn't just at work,
it were out of work.
The announcement of Barnsley's first pit closure in 1984
marked a year-long strike.
Barnsley and other mining towns witnessed 12 months
of often violent clashes between miners and the police -
the bitter rift between the two lingers to this day.
When we look back, we got involved in the '84,
'85 miners' strike and it really got dirty, no doubt about it.
It were frightening, it were frightening.
You can't believe the devastating effect
that it had on us communities.
It is emotional and I've got to sometimes talk
a bit more slowly to rid my body of that emotion.
That's how proud we are. That's how proud we are.
We're proud of being miners.
I'm here because I'm on a mission.
I'm creating a dance piece to celebrate Barnsley, its heritage
and the people who live and work in it.
I can't do this without miners being involved.
Without them, you know, I've no performance.
I think... I think we have to tell what happened
in the past and we were part of it, we worked together,
we socialised together and then we've had sad times together.
That's what the miners prided themselves on.
-So it's not impossible.
-I'd really appreciate that.
-I'll try my most.
It's going to be difficult.
Dancing miners, I'll tell you now, that's a hell of a challenge.
I'll try climbing Everest before getting miners to dance.
-The figure of a miner is given prominence on a coat of arms.
His companion is the glassblower,
second only in importance to the mining industry in Barnsley.
Alongside coalmining, glass manufacturing was historically
another of Barnsley's bedrock industries.
The first glassworks opened in 1632,
with many more springing up over the following two centuries.
But cheaper imports and the arrival of plastic
drastically reduced demand.
This place is huge.
Oh, God, here we go.
Ardagh is the last remaining glass factory,
producing 700 million bottles and jars a year
and employing a 470-strong workforce.
Steve's arranged to meet them today.
'It's not going to be easy.
'As soon as I mention the "dance" word, there'll be fear.'
I've come here to create a performance
which celebrates Barnsley
and you are the heart and soul of Barnsley in my eyes
with the miners...
Now here's the big bombshell.
This performance is a dance performance.
I am not going to put you in Lycra and tutus, you're not...
I can... There is room for a solo, so I'll take your name after that.
That's not what it's about.
It's not trying to degrade Barnsley folk in any way, is it?
-You're not trying to present us in a bad light.
-Not at all.
No, no, no, no. It literally is celebrating.
I just need to know, are you in or out?
-Are you in or out?
I personally ain't done a lot of dancing and I don't think
a lot of these people will have done a lot of dancing neither,
so it should be interesting to see how we go on.
I'm up for them kind of things, I've got two teenage grandkids
who think I'm crazy anyway, so that will be good.
That will be good.
One week in, and Barnsley's starting to limber up.
Steve's holding his first rehearsal,
for two groups from the town meeting.
The line dancers...
-Have you brought your dancing shoes?
..and RMC, a local theatre group.
I've had to take into account
people's ages, physicality.
So, I need to find a piece of choreography
that can suit everyone.
Steve will select a song and choreograph
a unique dance routine for each group.
The final performance will hopefully bring all these routines together,
set to a medley of tracks carefully chosen by Steve.
It's very stylised, very 1940s kind of gangster's moll.
Don't clench your buttocks.
Just let them fall away.
-They do anyway!
The song selected for today's session
is Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing.
I want you to give me
your 1940s glamour.
So, as if you're flashing your diamonds. Flash your diamonds.
Here we go, five, six, seven, eight,
and right, left. Stretch! Stretch!
Section one is a little bit tricky,
because they're having to do opposition,
which is right leg forward, opposition with the left leg.
And the second section is much easier, which is...
I need it much easier, cos then that's the section
that's going to really travel.
Just really boxy-like springs.
Ba, ba, ga, ga, ga.
Here we go. Five, six...
A-five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
One, TWO, three, four, five, six,
SEVEN, eight. Flick, flick! Slide!
Slide! Step turn! Up down!
We'll get that. That's brilliant. We will get that.
And five, six, seven, eight.
And right, left, stretch, up, up...
It is a bit ambitious, but I think,
us, as a group, we're really excited to do it,
and we can't wait for the next rehearsal.
We're not all quite sure what's it's all about, yet, to be honest,
but we're a bunch of just-do-its.
As well as the large groups that form the building blocks
of Steve's dance, he's also keen to recruit gifted soloists.
Sing, Sing, Sing is an epic number,
and I need someone who can really front it,
and drive the dancers down the street,
and that lad who I met in the chip shop,
I think he could be the one.
-How are you?
-Not bad at all.
He's the soloist I need.
It's kind of this Gene Kelly thing where...
It's the lamppost - you're going to go... Buh, buh, buh, swing.
Dah, dah, swing, dakka-dakka.
Up, down, clap! Left, right, left, head!
21-year-old Nick lives with his parents, Helen and David,
who own the fish and chip shop where he works.
-You want a cup of tea?
-Oh, yes, please.
Growing up, Nick had very different ambitions.
I just love putting on a show.
I just got this buzz, like, I want to... I want to do it.
I loved every kind of dance I did.
That's my dance wardrobe, like, all...
Oh, they're... All my dance outfits.
That was ballet.
At 16, Nick had the chance to realise his dream.
I went down to this audition in London.
I can remember, sat in the corridor,
and all these, like, really big ballet boys,
all doing their stretches and showing off.
And I didn't have that much confidence.
It just made me think I weren't as determined as them.
So, I just couldn't do it.
So, that's why I stopped.
I just started working, then never went back to dance.
Yeah, I do miss it.
It was his decision, and we never questioned him.
He just stopped, and that was that.
We felt so proud to see our son
up on stage dancing,
doing something that he loved.
Do you want a tissue?
If he came and said,
"Dad, I'd like to go back to take up dance,"
it'd be amazing. Yeah.
Dah, dah, dah, yah, kah, dah.
Ha-HA! Buh, buh, huh.
'I've basically chucked him into the deep end.
'So, he knows what he's'
having to achieve,
but his body and muscle memory is playing catch-up.
-Was that? Oh... Sugar. Yeah, right. Yeah.
-And again - that's good.
I've just forgot how to use my body.
And Steve's good, he's pushing.
Slide. Head! Step to, step to, step to.
That's it! One, two, three, four...
'Nick lacks confidence. I've got to push him,'
but it's hard, it is very technical.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
I'd like to think that it ignites the flame again for him.
I need to pull that confidence out,
you know, rebuild that confidence.
That's it! Dah! Great, mate.
Right, smile. I want to see teeth. Here we go.
A-five, six, seven, eight. And stretch.
more and more groups are rehearsing
their individual dance routines.
Momentum is definitely building.
I'm running from board meetings
to car parks
to shopping centres, to meet groups and rehearse with them.
Can you move and play?
I need a brass band, cos Barnsley and brass bands go together. Yeah?
Oh, fantastic. Put on your dancing feet. Cheers, Sam.
Da, da, da, da. Brilliant! Stop!
Their energy's infectious, it's fantastic.
I love working with that type of... that age group.
One, two, and three, four, and five, six, seven, eight.
ONE, two, three, four, five.
Don't break yourself, yeah?
Joan! Good to see you.
Steve's dropped in on Joan to work on her solo.
You said the Roy Castle step,
a little time step going into something there.
'I want her to feel like a Hollywood idol, you know?
'Back in the 1930s, 1940s, black and white musicals.
'I want her to be transformed in this dance performance.'
So, out of your little time step,
the men will be swaying behind you.
We'll do one, two, three, four.
And then, either side they'll go onto their knee.
We think that's the end,
but then they're going to lift you up like the Queen of Sheba,
put you back on your feet,
and then Ken will come and join you and go,
"This is my woman." And then we're just walking down, yeah?
I just thought he was coming to show me one or two steps
that he wanted me to...either to learn...
But I never expected this.
I can't tell you how I feel.
I feel like a little girl
that's just going in for her first exam.
And I am, honestly, I'm really, really excited about it.
With rehearsals gathering momentum, Steve heads
to his stage - Barnsley's streets -
to map out the route for the dance.
So, this is where the performance is going to start.
It only seems fitting to start in front of the war memorial
and town hall. And then, as the music starts,
we have a representative of the miner,
a representative of the glassblower,
and they come forward in the centre, and they shake hands,
and then, that for me symbolises the coat of arms of Barnsley.
And then, literally from nowhere, where have this sound effect of
the siren which used to wake up the miners.
The siren screeches, breaks the mood,
and we go from heritage and history,
what Barnsley was built on, straight to the modern day.
So, you've got the miners coming down here...
As the parade leaves the town hall,
more and more groups join the dance.
We hit this point.
That's the end of section two, Rebel Rebel.
So, from this exact point here,
spilling right down here...
..we'll have 100 people,
all dancing, all choreographed.
Just a celebration of life in Barnsley.
The performers will dance through the town's streets
before coming together at the miners' column for the grand finale.
Possibly too ambitious,
but I have to get the best
for the people involved and for Barnsley.
To fill the route he's planning,
Steve needs far more people than he has so far.
Luckily, he's discovered that Barnsley
already has a thriving dance scene to tap into.
Tonight, I'm going to a Northern Soul night.
I know what it is, I've seen it,
but I've never experienced it first-hand.
The Northern Soul scene emerged in the '60s out of clubs
specialising in American soul by lesser-known artists.
Devotees, known as Soulies,
were unique in their dance style and distinctive dress code.
The music's fantastic.
The people are booted and suited.
You know, they really come dressed for an occasion.
Today, it still has a loyal following,
and Diane has been a die-hard fan for over 40 years.
I were 13 years old,
and we used to sneak into a club,
dance all night,
and we got a good hiding when we come home, but it were worth it.
We used to put weights in the bottom of our skirts
so that, when we spun, the higher the skirt,
the better you were at dancing.
All right, then, I'm going for it.
Are they signature steps? Are they steps you call by name?
-No, nobody can teach you Northern Soul dancing...
-..regardless of what anybody says.
They just can't, because it comes from here.
It's how you interpret the music.
-If you feel like freaking out...
MUSIC: I'll Never Stop Loving You by Carla Thomas
I haven't sweated like this for years. It's fantastic.
I would love to get a group of Northern Soulers in.
There's a section just before the finale where I'd love us
just to turn a corner and there they are,
one by one, they get up and individually freestyle,
because that's what it's all about, it's freestyling.
The fact that Steve's asked me to get a load of Soulies for this
huge parade, I think it's a fantastic idea.
I really do. It's brilliant.
Do we have a Barnsley Beyonce somewhere hidden in the room?!
With two weeks to go, Steve's on one final push to get as many
people in Barnsley on board as he can.
Are you up for it?
Seven, eight, and left. Two, three, four, five, six, seven, head.
And one and two and three and four and five.
I think you're so brave! Well done!
And one and two and three and four...!
'80s style. One, two, three, four, five, six.
Gather your thoughts. Back in. Slow, slow.
-You're our dance captain.
Here we go, once more before I lose you.
PC Craig has served with South Yorkshire police for 29 years.
-You joined the force in '87?
-Just after the miners' strike,
right in the teeth of the closure of all the pits.
My father was a miner and lots of relatives were miners.
In some families, of course, it split families asunder.
Did that affect your relationship with your father?
It had a positive effect.
I recall, my dad actually didn't want his lad going down the pit.
After all, they were very difficult places to work in, dirty.
A tough job, particularly on the coal face.
So what's the relationship like now between police
and the ex-miners, 30 years on?
Time hasn't healed all the wounds, I'm afraid,
but Yorkshire people and Barnsley people in particular
are very broad-minded and we can move on
and put our differences behind us.
If somebody had said in 30 years' time, you'll be taking part
in a dance in Barnsley alongside ex-miners, I'd have said,
"No, you're off your head."
Steve still isn't sure he's persuaded the miners to take part.
-Eric. How are you?
-All right, Steve.
-How are you?
-Good to see you.
They will come, but as long as you're not wanting miners to dance!
So we've got to simulate an old-fashioned miners' march,
-that's the thing.
It's as simple as that.
Well, everyone around this table, are you on board?
-Yeah, we're here, aren't we?
We do have to have a rehearsal, it's a huge event.
Are you expecting the same number of men at rehearsal
as we'll have on the real thing?
-If you're prepared to show that bit of confidence in us...
We have... We have got ability.
We can, without rehearsal, can march from the town hall.
We don't need a rehearsal, we've marched through London,
we've marched through...
in Birmingham, we've marched in Norwich Docks.
We don't need no trial run, I can assure you that.
I'm not going to know how many I've got until they rock up.
I've taken a huge gamble.
10 days to go and Steve's ever-growing cast now
-includes everyone from the local ladies' rugby team...
-Five, six, seven, eight, go!
..to the theatre group from the very first meeting.
What we've got to get used to now is...
not on the spot.
Yeah? That's how far I need you to move now.
Let's pick it up from the top of the dance break, yeah?
You've got to style it out, you've got to find your inner rock god.
So, Danny, you're here.
One, two, three, four, five, six and seven, eight.
And one, two, three, four, five, six and seven, eight.
# Da-da-da... # Step, step!
Up! Brilliant! Brilliant.
There's a lad called Danny and he's good, he's really good.
He's got potential,
so I want to push that and see what he can achieve.
People always say to me, "With the glasses
"you almost look like Tom Cruise."
One day I will wake up and I'll look as good as Tom Cruise
when I look at myself in the mirror. I'll be like...!
19-year-old Danny works for his dad's company,
a recruitment agency for HGV drivers.
-Morning, Danny. Are you all right?
My original dream when I were a bit younger was
I'm going to get on a cruise and I'm going to be a professional dancer,
but coming from school, I did get bullied a lot for doing dance
because it wasn't something that guys did.
I stopped dancing when I were 15.
I decided to just leave dance completely.
I thought I didn't want it, but I think meeting Steve,
it's made me realise that dance is what I've wanted all along.
Come on, just give us a small snippet.
It gets in like this and it turns into a Michael Jackson section
like that and then a bit of a kick, spin.
I didn't think you could dance, I'll be honest.
That was quite good, I'll be honest with you. It were good.
MUSIC: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
And five, six and seven, eight and one, two, three, four, five...
Danny's really special, very untapped, raw talent coming through.
So I've tried to make a featured section.
He's now become the solo rebel
and basically he's going to represent
the youth of Barnsley today.
I feel really excited about it, but I am a little bit nervous,
considering there's only weeks left before we bash it out
in the middle of Barnsley.
So I'm looking forward to it, but I am really nervous!
Joan was offered to be a Bluebell dancer at Blackpool
and she never managed to achieve that dream.
Hi, Joan. Hi, Ken.
'I wanted to make her that showgirl,'
to stand out amongst those 300 people in the finale.
So I've got you a very, very nice surprise, Joan.
They're just up on the playing field...
-Oh, my God!
..welcome to the Barnsley bodybuilders!
Come and meet the boys.
-Come and meet the boys.
-You stay there, Ken!
-This is our lovely Joan.
-My name's Ryan.
-Are you all right, darling?
-I am now.
Hello, Joan, I'm Jamie. Nice to meet you, sweetheart.
So, if the boys get down into position, you're going to put
your arms just there.
-There's one man under your one bum-cheek...
..another man under the other bum-cheek.
-I'm getting interested in this!
We hold one... That's it.
And then Joan's happy.
Arms up... and then we lower down, we lower down. That's it.
So what do you need more from the boys? You say.
Tell us what you need and we'll make sure we get it.
I daren't tell you what I need!
One week to go and Steve's holding his one and only
rehearsal of the entire performance at a local playing field.
There was no way I could close of Barnsley town centre for
the rehearsal and the performance.
So we've literally done a metre by metre scale of the route.
The route Steve's planned will start at the town hall,
then wind its way through the centre of Barnsley
before culminating with what he hopes
will be hundreds of locals gathered together
in a grand finale at the miners' column.
I'm just going to walk 20.
Invited to rehearse the route today,
everyone from the police to the local brass band.
The thing is, when you're rehearsing in isolation,
it seems so doable, but then it's not just one building block,
we've got 20, 30 building blocks coming together
for the first time... with music,
and they've got to cover distances within that time.
To add to the complexity of the final dance,
Steve will capture it all in one continuous and unedited camera shot.
What we get then is something special and memorable,
warts and all.
This never repeated moment, which is captured in real time.
Basically, you, theatre, need to be in front of these guys.
You do your first section and you punch.
That's the cue for the baton twirlers
to come in front of you.
Despite Steve's best efforts to corral all the groups,
not everyone has turned up.
We haven't got miners at the moment
and three glass manufacturers out of 30.
Now I've seen everyone here, it's getting pretty nerve-racking now.
This morning I woke up with butterflies, it were weird!
So instead of pirouette on the floor,
you're still moving that way. Yeah?
That it! Now, come on!
And punch, punch, punch, punch!
Move, move, move!
And one, two... Keep on moving forward.
Four, four, four, five, five, six, seven, eight and one!
RMC have to go!
As I thought, carnage.
Oh, no, now I'm getting nervous.
Five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Three, two, three, four, six, seven, eight.
I need you to move. Go, back, back, back.
No, centre, centre, centre, back, back, back.
So you're going to kiss and you're just going to walk
and give some room, Joan.
He's changed it.
I didn't know he'd changed it!
See, you can do it.
It really is brilliant.
Who'd have thought you could put Northern Soul
with a brass band and kids... It's awesome!
They all associate Barnsley people with working down the pit.
Them days are gone.
We're here in the 21st century
and we need to be put on the map, because we're a proud people.
The dress rehearsal has stirred up doubts
about one of Steve's soloists.
'Nick still is terrified.'
Am I brutal enough to go, "I'm sorry, mate,
"I'm not going to allow you to embarrass yourself"?
'I hope it doesn't come to that.'
-All right, mate.
-You have a bag of sugar...
..connected here, right under your undercarriage.
Think of that bag of sugar drawing you, relax the knees.
I want you to think, "I am the best dancer in Barnsley."
It's all about the crown jewels.
You've got to go, "Yeah, baby!
That's the arrogance I need!
Find that inner rock god.
Yeah? And a one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Two, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three, four... Aww!
-Come on, we can do this.
Four, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, three and four, five and six and seven, eight.
One and two and three and four and five and six and seven, eight.
Bag it, wrap it. Good, good.
That's the first time, if I'm honest, that I saw Nick the dancer.
-It's the first time I felt it.
-Yeah? So now this is your benchmark.
Today, was the first time I found that confidence,
the right confidence, holding myself like that.
Where he is now today, if he can maintain that,
he'll deliver a great performance.
It's 72 hours until Barnsley dances.
Five, two, three, four, five and six and seven, eight. Pop!
Shoulders down, long neck. Lovely.
-Look at the smile on his face.
-I know! He's loving it.
He's grinning like a Cheshire Cat there.
Yes, yes, yes!
The room for error is huge.
When you're working with non-dancers, it's a big gamble.
There's a lot of things that can go wrong... weather.
What if the music's not on cue?
And stretch! Stretch!
It takes one person to trip and then it's a domino effect.
I mean, what if somebody falls down the steps?
You don't think, "What can go right?"
You're dreading, "What could go wrong?!"
We've got Danny on the bike, one slip, out.
My biggest worry is, will the ex-miners even turn up?
We have one chance and one chance only,
so who knows what's going to happen?
It's performance day.
I'm scared, excited....
It's an absolute huge challenge,
a one camera shot, no editing.
Once it begins, it continues till the end.
OK, stand by, track.
As soon as Matt's on, we'll go for it.
It's just now corralling people, making sure they're confident
where they're standing.
Nearly 250 people are descending on Barnsley's town hall.
We have glassblowers in a tableau. Yeah, that's it.
In all the time I've worked in the glass industry, 50 years,
I never thought I'd be doing this!
Despite Steve's fears,
in amongst the crowd are Dave, Eric and 30 ex-miners.
We have a handshake that goes into the miners' siren.
An immense feeling of pride when we march up back under those banners.
That's how we all feel.
That belongs to us and we're representative of that.
To see you all here is humbling, nerve-racking...
I want you to dance with pride, passion and commitment.
-I'd love you to get it right...
..but it's a celebration.
BRASS BAND PLAYS
MUSIC: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
MUSIC: Rebel Rebel by David Bowie
MUSIC: Beautiful Day by U2
MUSIC: Beautiful Day by U2
MUSIC: I'll Stand By You by The Pretenders
MUSIC: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics
SWING BAND PLAYS
MUSIC: You've Been Gone Too Long by Ann Sexton
BRASS BAND PLAYS
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I'm feeling top of the world.
As they say in Barnsley, it's the best thing since sliced bread.
It's the first time I've been part of a body of police officers
and we've actually been cheered to the rafters.
That was amazing!
I think we've nailed it. We pulled it off.
It's ignited that spark in me again that just wants to make me just
dance every week now.
What I've just seen is absolutely spectacular.
It warms the cockles of this old man's heart.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Barnsley, we did it!
I've accomplished what I came to do,
leaving Barnsley with something to remember, something to be proud of,
a shared experience that they won't forget.
That's all you can ask.
Next time, Steve heads to the Dales and the market town of Skipton...
I'm looking for volunteers. It can't do it without you.
Dancing and farmers just don't go.
..to pull off another dance spectacular.
I don't personally like dancing.
What do you think?
I'll have to start thinking of a plan B,
but, to be honest, I don't have a plan B.
To kick off this exciting series, the first of three Yorkshire towns celebrates its history, heritage and culture in a one-off dance spectacular through the town's streets, with the help of West End performer and choreographer Steve Elias.
Steve begins his Yorkshire odyssey in the ex-mining town of Barnsley, delving into its rich industrial past, as he attempts to recruit a cast of hundreds. On his mission to get Barnsley dancing, Steve encounters ex-miners keen to commemorate their camaraderie, taps into the town's thriving Northern Soul scene and unearths hidden talent in the local chippie. But can he successfully unite them, and any other locals he has won over, to pull off his ambitious dance parade, which will be immortalised with one camera, in one continuous, unedited take?