We are delighted to announce DU Dance (NI) have been awarded funding through the Cultural Bridge programme for 2023 – 2024 to continue to develop the Ode to Earth project!

The aim of the Cultural Bridge programme is to act as a platform of artistic exchange, enabling others to discuss social issues, strengthen the exchange between the UK and Germany and foster collaboration and cultural democracy.

With Beyond Skin and VILLA Leipzig (Germany) we are now in a position develop phase 2 of the Ode to Earth project which allows for cultural engagement on multiple levels, including engagement with young people from another country, travel and new cultural experiences, as well as interaction with music, dance, theatre and civic engagement as cultural mediums. The result is that young people will build a global network, feel more connected to the global community and other countries, and experience art as a medium for creative and cultural political expression and activism.

Thank you to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their continued support of this important initiative.

For more information: CLICK HERE

Young people from Beyond Skin, DU Dance and VILLA Leipzig in County Antrim, Summer 2022

At the end of last year, DU Dance NI were pleased to be granted approval by the Education Authority as an authorised Body of Persons, in accordance with Article 137(3)(b) of the Children (NI) Order 1995.

Body of Persons Approval (BOPA) can be granted to an organisation for a single OR series of activities and performances within a specified time providing no payment is made to the child or to anyone else in respect of the child taking part in the performance and the child does not require absence from school.

A BOPA removes the need to apply for an individual licence for each child invited to, for example, annual DU Dance events such as UNANIMOUS as the license is granted to the organisation that is responsible for the performance.

This will significantly reduce the administrative burden for all parties and we’d like to thank the Education Authority for their support in this matter.

Christmas Wishes 2022

Please note that the DU Dance (NI) office will be closed from Wednesday 21st December to Wednesday 4th January. See you in 2023!

Earlier this month, on Tuesday 6th December, our Alternative Energies group performed to a packed room at the Ramoan Centre in Ballycastle.   The group of twenty elders and young people were well rehearsed and keen to share the work they have created with friends and family.  As a result the place was buzzing with enthusiastic chatter about the project.   The performance was focused and very moving and it was clear to all how well this group have gelled and are supportive of each other.   Accordingly the participants have been very positive in their feedback:

“It is so relaxing with all the fun and fellowship together.”    “Delighted I joined DU Dance, great fun with lovely friendly people.”     “…. if I had not joined the dance group….I would be a lonely soul sitting watching TV.”    “Really enjoyed the experience. Thanks to all involved.”   “It has been such a pleasure to do dance and to meet such wonderful people.” “Thank you ……. this term had been great fun and so stimulating.”

The audience feedback on the sharing was equally glowing:

“Thank you. That dance was amazing.”       “Lovely show. So happy and joyful.”     “Was absolutely lovely to watch you all.”    “Thank you! We really enjoyed watching you all perform – so happy and relaxed.”      “An absolute joy to watch. A feel good display by everyone involved.”    “Excellent performance . Really enjoyed watching everyone.”      “Absolutely marvellous!! Co-ordination skills excellent. Fantastic. Well done everyone!”    “Dancing for all – how good is that! Thanks to all concerned.”

At the end of the evening, the group presented Michaela, who has ably assisted on the project, with a card and gift as she leaves to have a baby.  Good luck Michaela from all the DU Dance (NI) team!

The Alternative Energies project continues to blossom under Philip Johnston’s guidance and we look forward to their next sharing at Flowerfield Arts Centre on 28 March 2023.

If you would like to find out more, please email deborah@dudanceni.com
















We had a brilliant DAY OF DANCE 2022 on Sunday at the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh. Despite the wintery weather, the young people from Belfast Boys, Sutemos and Suteminis were glowing with energy and enthusiasm.  After warm ups, ice breakers, games, rehearsals, food (and more food!), they worked really hard on a magical, joint Christmas piece. This was their first time creating together as they devised tableaus in small groups.

Later in the day, we were joined by families and friends to enjoy the sharing in a professional theatre setting.

Suteminis were first up with a piece called ‘High Hopes’ based on their dreams for the future.  Some of these 7 to 11 year olds have just recently joined the Dungannon-based group and  it was so encouraging to see them come together and move so confidently.

Belfast Boys Juniors followed with ‘Starman’ inspired by watching Disney’s Toy Story spinoff ‘Lightyear’ and it certainly felt cosmic.   This group was set up just 15 months ago and continues to have a waiting list with more boys, aged 7 to 11, hoping to join.

‘Wild Sea’ by Sutemos was a powerful example of how well this group of dancers listen and work with the music.  Their poised start to the piece was really striking.

The last group to take the stage was Belfast Boys Seniors.  Sharing the first part of a longer piece called ‘Tribe’ they worked creatively to explore what a being part of a tribe means to them.  To be continued….and we can’t wait.

The afternoon ended with the festive piece made by the groups earlier that day called ‘Snow Globe’.  Each performer made their own entry on to the stage – we had penguins, falling snow and figure skaters to name but a few.

After pass the parcel, mince pies and of course the annual dance off, everyone left with a big smile on their face.

Thank you to both Sheena Kelly and Sean O’Neill for all their hard work this term and on the day.  Thank you to the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre for being our excellent venue.  Let’s do it all again next year!


It is December and that can only mean one thing for the young people involved in our Youth Engagement Projects…our annual Day of Dance is almost here! Oh no it isn’t.  OH YES IT IS!

So on Sunday 11 December 2022, the Belfast Boys and Sutemos and Suteminis groups from Dungannon will come together for a sharing workshop and performance for family at the stunning Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre in Armagh.

It is always a wonderful day with lots of festive treats and, of course, the annual Christmas dance off!

Sutemos performing at Unanimous earlier this year

Belfast Boys performing at Unanimous earlier this year                                                              (Photos credit Jim Corr.)





We were pleased to receive support from the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Arts Fund in partnership with Business to Arts for our intergenerational dance project, Alternative Energies.  Other support for this group comes from the Baring Foundation and the Arts Council Northern Ireland Arts & Older People Programme.

Meeting once a week on a Tuesday from 4pm to 5:30pm, the group is led by Dr Philip Johnson and meets at the Ramoan Centre, 3 Station Street, Ballycastle.

This project brings young people aged 15 to 18 years together with the elders of the Ballycastle area to meet, move, share ideas and create dance performances. If you, or someone you know, is interested in finding out more, please email Debs at deborah@dudanceni.com or give us a call on 028 9023 0877.



This week we’ve been busy printing and packing over one thousand Young Carers Information Packs with our partners at Barnardo’s NI Young Carers Service.  Next, they will be sent to every primary and post-primary school in Northern Ireland.

The pack – called ‘They Care. Do you?’ – has been created as a practical and straight-talking resource for teachers.   It explains who young carers are and highlights their specific needs, such as having someone on point to talk to and always having access to their phones in school.  Additionally, it provides recommendations for a school’s Young Carer Policy and a poster to introduce the school’s designated Young Carers champion.

Have a look here:  They Care Do You? leaflet

In the pack, teachers will find a range of creative ways to explore the issues faced by young carers with all their students.   As well as class-based activities and discussion points, the schools will receive a branded USB stick containing the series of six, short dance films we have made with Barnardo’s NI.  These powerful films have been widely recognised as giving voice and emotional expression to Young Carers.

Niki O’Kane, Schools Liaison – Barnardo’s Young Carers Service, said of the joint initiative, “Barnardo’s Young Carers Services believe that every child matters and so we wanted to partner with schools to support the Young Carers that we know are present and likely hidden. It is so important that we empower these young people to balance their wellbeing, caring roles and education so they can learn and achieve most effectively. We hope this information will help schools to ensure Young Carers feel confident they are in an environment where they are seen, understood and supported. At Barnardo’s, we care that you care.”

Thank you to The Community Foundation Northern Ireland and BBC Children in Need for their ongoing support.

Throughout the year our dance artists Sean and Sheena really enjoyed being involved with the Creative Schools Project with Blessed Trinity Belfast.

Working with the Year 9 students they devised workshops which explored emotions and positive mental health through the medium of dance.

Have a look at this wonderful film created by the students in which they talk about how the dance workshops were of real benefit and demonstrate exactly how involvement in a spectrum of the arts can impact positively on wellbeing:

Be Active, Learn, Give, Connect & Take Notice!

We look forward to our ongoing involvement in the project with Blessed Trinty in 2023 where the focus will be on intergenerational work and a new partnership with Newington Day Care.

The Creative Schools Project is delivered by the Arts Council Northern Ireland, Urban Villages and Education Authority.