City life | By Laura Hill

Urdang appoints new Director David Blake from London West End’s The Lion King


City has recently appointed David Blake as the inaugural Director of Urdang, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the renowned performing arts degree.


David is an international performer, lecturer, choreographer and creative director with an extensive career in performing arts appearing in commercials, TV shows, films, and print. He has performed in Disney’s award-winning musical, The Lion King, playing the role of Banzai in London’s West End.


David is looking forward to contributing to the legacy of Urdang and the Department of Performing Arts at City, University of London.


“I am thrilled to be joining this wonderful community at City. The University’s commitment and contribution to the arts is clear as it strives to mould and inspire the dreams and aspirations of its students so they can achieve global success and recognition. I look forward to what we will accomplish together.”


Strong industry links and transferable skills


Urdang continues to take pride in its strong links with industry professionals, giving students the opportunity to learn from practising choreographers, directors and experienced teachers. This not only provides scope for professional networking, but students also benefit from up-to-date training relevant to current industry expectations. At Urdang, training aims to enhance not only performing skills, but also provides students with transferable skills for their future career path including communication, presentation, creativity, leadership and team working.


Showcasing student talent


Throughout their time at Urdang, students take part in a variety of performances, including the annual Summer Show and end of year productions. These shows reflect the high standard of talent among Urdang students and are open to the public – something not to be missed.


Third year students also take advantage of the opportunities presented through the agent/industry showcase, performing to top theatrical agents and casting directors. These performances are invaluable to students for graduate industry prospects. Many Urdang graduates go on to work in the West End, national and international theatre, TV and feature films, as choreographers, and as dancers for major arena tours.


Urdang joining City, University of London and forming the new Department of Performing Arts in the School of Communication & Creativity, along with the appointment of the new Director David Blake, reflects strong focus on continued engagement with the creative industry, through practice as well as networking opportunities in the professions.

About David Blake


David’s performing arts training was at the Cathi Levy Performing Arts, California State University and the Ailey School. He is a certified Lester Horton Technique instructor, a Fellow of the International Dance Teachers’ Association and holds an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths, University of London. As a former principal dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, David toured throughout the Caribbean, United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In addition, he has been a guest artist for various dance companies and choreographers in California. David is founder and creative director for Blake Arts a multidisciplinary dance collective for over ten years. His work has been nominated for best dance on film by One Dance UK and featured in the Miami ScreenDance Film Festival at the Perez Art Museum. In 2020, David was recognised as Best Teacher for Performing Arts as a Subject in the Black British Theatre Awards.