Dance United

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.








Y Dance Scotland will celebrate the best of youth dance from across the Commonwealth, taking place from 10 to 12 July 2014 bringing 30 groups from Australia, Canada, England, India, Malta, Namibia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales together – up to 400 young people and 30 youth dance leaders.

Come See – 30 of the best youth dance groups from across the Commonwealth will perform over 3 nights in the beautiful surroundings of Tramway in Glasgow

Come Dance – a jam-packed 3 day workshop programme of sessions in different styles, contemporary technique classes led by world renowned teachers and choreographic workshops led by companies like Marc Brew Company and Retina Dance

Come Learn – it’s not just about the young people there will also be number of events especially for dance leaders aimed at joining up dance across the Commonwealth and looking at how we can move forward from the CYDF


If you need more specific details please call YDance on 0141 552 7712.

DU Dance are proposing to hold a Youth Dance Platform, for Northern Ireland, on the 11 April 2014, in Belfast.

This will provide an opportunity for YDance to assess applications made from groups in Northern Ireland, but this event itself is non-competitive platform and all youth dance groups in Northern Ireland are welcome to attend. If you require any further information about this platform event in Belfast please get in touch with DU Dance.


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

Unanimous#2 – youth dance platform event

DU Dance (NI) and the Crescent Arts Centre present an exciting night of youth dance performances at Unanimous




A brilliant showcase celebration of youth dance from a diverse range of groups and dancers from across Northern Ireland including Academy Dance Team – Banbridge;  Alternative Energies – Ballymena; Belfast Metropolitan College; Equinox & Pulse – Downpatrick; iD Youth Dance  Company – Derry/L’Derry; Merge Cru – Belfast; Revolution Dance Crew – Belfast; Sutemos Youth Dance Company – Dungannon. Thanks to all the youth dance leaders for their hard work & the participants.

Unamimous 2013

World Police & Fire Games 2013

The World Police and Fire Games (WPFG), the third largest international multi-sport event in the world, was officially opened on 1st  August at a spectacular ceremony at the King’s Hall, Belfast. Organisers estimated around 7,000 competitors are taking part from 67 countries. Running until 10th August it will be the largest sporting event ever held in Northern Ireland.

Belfast aims to deliver the friendliest and most successful Games ever, both on and off the field of play. The event represents an amazing opportunity to raise the profile of Northern Ireland internationally and leave a lasting legacy.

DU Dance Artistic Director, Mags Byrne, was engaged to deliver the opening ceremony with the theme of “Dare to Dream”.  Drumming, ribbon poise and dance groups led out the participating country flags and athletes who all interacted with the spectators .  This was followed by “Exodus” – a performance piece about traveling and looking out -a lively carnival parade featuring floats representing travel by land, air and sea which created a visual feast with a giant whale, a bath tub on stilts and a multitude of volunteers all in big bright, fun costumes. BMX’ers, skaters and free runners excited the crowd with their daring skills bringing an element of street culture to the ceremony.

The second performance element of the ceremony, “Melting Pot”, was a fusion of music and dance cultures from around the world.  Japanese Taiko Drums blended with Fan Dancers and Chinese Dragons, Irish and Scottish Dancers performed to the beats of Indian Dhol Drummers, contemporary dancers, aerialists, cheer leaders and breakers worked alongside the pulsating beats of samba drums. The overall ceremony displayed Northern Ireland as a truly modern and inclusive society.


2013 World Police and Fire Games Opening Ceremony at the Kings Hall Complex Belfast.



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