Creating brave and ambitious work

January proved the perfect time to launch the next phase of the community dance artist training programme – just before a busy year of classes and projects begin.

So delivering on our commitment to provide exciting opportunities for collaboration with fellow practitioners in community dance, we were delighted to welcome Robby Graham, award-winning choreographer and Artistic Director of Southpaw Dance Company, to host a two day workshop.

Southpaw Dance Company is based in Newcastle, England and, under the artistic direction and unique vision of Robby, who is originally from Omagh, the company creates epic visual spectacle and dynamic physical storytelling sequences in which movement, music, and dialogue are seamlessly integrated.  Southpaw is well known for its mass movement projects such as Rush bringing together both professional and community casts to create high quality and innovative work.

“So pleased to be back home sharing Southpaw’s process of co-creating with community. We had a fantastic few days together exploring choreographic processes. Projects like this are vital, allowing space for artists to develop their practices and create the next wave of brave and ambitious work.”  Robby Graham, Artistic Director, Southpaw Dance Company

A group of 13 community dance artists met at The MAC, Belfast to start their new year refreshing their own practice and filling their creative cup. Robby generously took us through his artistic process for co-creating with communities, highlighting the importance of facilitating the community voice and ensuring due diligence in the research and development stages to ensure communities are represented appropriately.

“Excellently set up by DU Dance NI, and the delivery by Robby was highly informative, professionally delivered and Robby showed a significant emphasis on the needs of the group and on feeding the group with guidance, tools and experience in preparing and working with communities.”      Participant

Not only does this training programme ensure that community dance artists in Northern Ireland are able to keep their practise up to date, the programme also creates an informal network of local community dance artists who can learn and support each other.

“Maintaining connections with local artists, opportunity to be part of that larger dance community and revising and developing skill sets in the area of dance within the community.” Participant

If you are a community dance artist and are interested in finding out more about the programme and further professional development opportunities with DU Dance NI, please get in contact with