In the year 2000, following nearly a decade of dance development work in Ethiopia, Mags Byrne and Royston Maldoom, together with independent television producer, Andrew Coggins, founded Dance United.
In April 2007 Dance United Northern Ireland was established as an entirely separate and independent company, with Mags as artistic director and Royston as consultant director.
In April 2012 Dance United Northern Ireland changed its name to DU Dance (NI).
It is a profound belief in these propositions, endorsed over many years of experience by respected dance practitioners Mags Byrne and Royston Maldoom, that underpins the work of DU Dance. Both as individuals, and in collaboration, they have shared their conviction in the power and joy of contemporary dance with people in communities throughout Northern Ireland and in many other parts of the world. They have worked extensively to deliver projects and programmes, using dance as a means of bringing about positive individual and community transformation, raising self-esteem, facilitating integration, and promoting attitudes based on tolerance and respect. Their approach is distinctive. Through a well-tested process of teaching, rehearsal and performance, participants are able, often for the first time, to reach high levels of focus, discipline and motivation. The search for creative solutions to artistic challenges encourages sophisticated social interaction and team work. The results frequently far exceed expectations of participants, their audience and their peers.
Dance is a performance art. This goal-oriented approach is essential to the success of the work. As a celebration and as a public and peer group acknowledgement of achievement, performance forms an integral part of the DU Dance programme.
DU Dance has formulated its approach into four separate but interconnected programmes of work using these generic titles.