Dance United

Merge Cru at the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival

One of Northern Ireland’s leading youth dance groups had a fantastic opportunity representing Northern Ireland at this major cultural event in July.

Merge Cru – an exciting Belfast based youth dance group fusing contemporary dance and breakdance – were selected to perform at the first ever Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival in Glasgow, 10th to 12th July. With 36 spectacular youth dance groups from across the Commonwealth countries taking part including a blend of talented young people from Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Malta, New Zealand and the UK this was a prestigious invitation and an exceptional opportunity for the eight young members of the Belfast group.


Clare Adamson MSP, Education & Culture Committee said     “I write to both thank and congratulate all members of Merge Cru for your   contribution to the recent YDance Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival. I was able to attend some of the Festival. It was a truly uplifting experience – stunning performances, humbling enthusiasm and sparkling creativity which gave me even more confidence in our young people and their ability to shape our future positively.”


Thank you to everyone who helped support Merge Cru through donations.

Photographs: YDance/Paul Watt; DU Dance/ Joe Fox

DU Dance wow the cultural & corporate world at the Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards

DU Dance, NI Opera and Square Pit brought their own unique style of creative collaboration together for the final act at this prestigious awards ceremony at the Ulster Hall on 6th February 2014.
Images courtesy of Arts & Business NI /Joe Fox
Using the illustrious 1862 Ulster Hall as a back cloth – which itself has seen classical and contemporary, piano recitals and punk performances – guests were treated to a multi-component dance performance fusing contemporary dance and opera with urban street forms – Breaking, Free Runners, BMXers, and a Rap Choir. This bold, exhilarating fusion of classical and urban, the cultural and corporate impacted on the audience as performers leapt from balcony to stage, high speed bikers teared down the aisles whilst contemporary dancers and breakers blended a narrative through a variety of movements and styles on stage. An urban-influenced score, mixing a rap choir with opera and the sweeping tones of the Ulster Hall Mulholland grand organ provided the energy and tempo that underpinned this exhilarating performance.

All the more powerful that this performance merged professional performers alongside young people from DU Dance, New Lodge Arts and Square Pit – some of whom had never performed before in a venue – and so the standing ovation was a fitting tribute.

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir @newsbelfast  Feb 6
From a night of spectacular highlights, a real triumph @DUDanceni & New Lodge Arts Finale #AABNIAWARDS



See the Belfast Telegraph online Awards Supplement for full coverage of the event.

Back to the Wall

One of the leading figures in international contemporary dance has been in Belfast, working on a ground-breaking new inter-generational piece entitled Back to the Wall.


Berlin-based choreographer Royston Maldoom is well known and highly respected for his work over the years with a vast cross section of people of all ages and backgrounds.  As one of the founder members and artistic consultant for DU Dance, Maldoom continues to visit Northern Ireland on a regular basis and has a long-standing professional partnership with the company’s artistic director Mags Byrne.

Back to the Wall brings together three generations of men and boys, aged between 7 years and 80 years.  The group comprises boys from Elmgrove Primary School in east Belfast, young men in their 20s, all of whom have dance experience, and older men from Clanmil Housing (some of whom are the grandfathers of the younger boys).

As enthusiastic and positive as ever, Maldoom is clearly relishing the way in which his current project came together.

“Every single member of the groups is incredibly willing and receptive,” he says.  “I have been working separately with the groups and together in a single entity.”

“Our theme is Walls, something I have a lot of experience of, from living in Berlin and working in so many contentious, contested and divided environments.  But this piece will be more physical than political.  It will ask what’s on the other side, how do you get from one side of a wall to another, what are the physical possibilities posed by a wall?  The young boys are extraordinary in their energy and creativity; the young men are bringing their varied experience of dance, from contemporary to hip-hop; and many of the elders have amazed themselves in how much they have been able to do.”

This piece culminated in a short film, Back to the Wall, produced and directed by film-maker Gerard Stratton, of Triple Vision, who is responsible for several award winning short films.   The film was shot in a number of locations in Belfast over ten days.

There will be a special screening of the film for participants, friends, family and invited guests on 20th February at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast where the film will also then be screening throughout the City Dance 2014 event.




North Belfast Merge

DU Dance presented an exciting multi-component dance performance fusing contemporary dance with urban street forms – Breaking, Skateboarders, BMXers, Fire Dancers and a Rap Choir – in partnership with New Lodge Arts at the North Belfast Lantern Parade in the Waterworks Park on 30th October.

Thanks to all who took part.







DU Dance youth group member takes a step across the waters!


A lovely note to us all from one of our dancers heading off to university to further her dance studies .. We wish you the very best and thank you for all your work with the company, keep in touch!

Dear all of you,

I haven’t known you for long but have a lot to be thankful for.  The last, barely two years, were amazing and full of new and exciting experiences for me, both on professional and personal level.  I’ve got to know many great people and all and everyone inspired me in some way.  Thanks to the many projects I had the chance to take part in, I’ve become a more confident dancer who believes there is light at the end of the tunnel after all.  I’ve got a taste of real hard work and I finally could be passionate about dance in the right environment.  I’ve also learned that being shouted at may actually mean encouragement.. still having doubts at times but it surely toughens one up – in the right way :)  I think the work DU Dance is doing is incredible, amazing and definitely something everyone should know about and experience.  While I’m leaving for university and for getting more experience in dancing and life, I’m hoping I can still be helpful in one way or another.

Need to keep in touch! Like pinky swear!

Irish Youth Dance Festival

Our Dungannon based integrated youth dance group Sutemos was delighted to take part in the Irish Youth Dance Festival at the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, 28th -29th June.

The group of 13 talented and hard-working young people performed alongside other youth dance groups from Dublin, Kerry, Laoise, Waterford and Wexford  together with Diverse Space Youth Dance Theatre, USA. The groups did an amazing job raising their own funds to take part and thank you also to the many individuals who supported them.
IMG_sutemos 2014

Unanimous – youth dance platform event

Our third platform event took place on April 14th, 2014  at the Waterfront Hall Studio, Belfast with a fantastic line up of youth dance groups including Alternative Energies, Ballymoney; Equinox & Pulse from Down Arts Centre; iD from Derry/Londonderry; Merge Cru, Belfast; Sutemos, Dungannon and two solos from Belfast Met.

A unanimous thanks to all those who took part.

Unanimous 096 Unanimous 082 Unanimous 126 Unanimous 051 Unanimous 067 Unanimous 05 Unanimous 020




Dance from Northern Ireland featured at the British Dance Edition 2014

Big Congratulations to Sheena Kelly & Eileen McClory who were both selected to receive the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Emerging NI Dance Artists bursary, in collaboration with Dance Resource Base, to attend British Dance Edition 2014 (BDE). This industry event will take place in Edinburgh & Glasgow from 30 January to 2 February.

Further congratulations go to Maiden Voyage who have been selected to perform at BDE 2014, the first NI based company to be selected to perform a fully staged piece in the showcase’s 20 year history.…

To support the development and promotion of dance companies in Northern Ireland, including DU Dance, Dance Resource Base have produced a DVD which will be distributed at BDE to promoters, venues and festival programmers. This project was supported by the ACNI through the Creative Industries Innovation Fund.

See a montage of the DVD here or contact DU Dance for a copy.

Dance from Northern Ireland


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Photography by Joe Fox ©DU Dance.