New international collaboration programme

Today we were delighted to be announced by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland as one of seven projects in Cultural Bridge, a new pilot programme promoting partnerships between the UK and Germany which foster artistic collaboration and cultural democracy.

Along with Belfast-based Beyond Skin, we will be working with community arts organisation Die Villa in Leipzig on an exciting youth cultural exchange project.

Artistic Director Mags Byrne said “At this time of climate emergency I am more than pleased to hear the news that members of our Youth Steering Group will have the opportunity to engage and create work on this important issue during our project – Ode to Earth. Thank you to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for putting us forward for the Cultural Bridge programme.”

For more information:

Choreographic Commissions Complete

Over the summer, six commissions were awarded by DU Dance (NI). The opportunity was offered to young people aged 16 and over taking part in the company’s Youth Engagement Programmes. With the help of the group leaders, five young people were chosen. (You can read more about them on our social media). The sixth commission was a little different as it facilitated six of the older Belfast Boys members to develop their skills over a choreographic weekend. The group headed to Bushmills and much fun ensued. In between sea dips, they worked hard on a devised piece that formed the basis of the showing.

All six resulting pieces were revealed at an informal showing on 13th August 2021 at the Hill of The O’Neill & Ranfurly House in Dungannon to a highly appreciative audience.  Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Drama and Dance Officer at Arts Council NI, expressed her joy after attending the showing “My jaw always aches after a DU Dance (NI) sharing – I grin from ear to ear at the power of young dancers finding self-expression in dance. Their bravery & good grace in embracing the vulnerability of standing up & sharing creative work is inspiring. Each one of them is amazing.

This programme is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland – Stability and Renewal funds.

Summer Sessions were a HUGE success

Sharing some pictures from our Summer Sessions in August. These were really well attended with visits from Belfast Circus School to Sutemos and Suteminis and Belfast Boys were back at The Crescents Arts Centre – happy days!

Following an informal showing at The Hill of The O’Neil and Ranfurly House to friends and family, our dancers from Dungannon and Belfast were delighted to join in the fun at the Belfast Maritime Weekender in September with pop up performances at the buoys.  It was great to perform live and our drunken sailors made quite an impact!

All our Youth Engagement Projects are up and running with a BRAND new junior group of Belfast Boys.  It has been great to see so many new faces. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for highlights and live videos from the groups as they work towards our ‘Day of Dance’ in December. (More detail on this to follow.)

Young Carers Jamboree

Young carers and their families from across Northern Ireland came together in Magherafelt on Sunday 26 September to celebrate the on-going ‘Building Bridges’ project which is being delivered in partnership with Barnardo’s NI.

Building Bridges’, running over the past three years, uses dance and film for young carers to creatively tell their own stories.  Five short, arts-based films featuring young carers were screened at the Jamboree for all to enjoy whilst the sixth film, made in August, premiered with a live performance from local rapper Jay Sutton. Jay had collaborated with the this group of young carers to devise a powerful and catchy soundtrack to their film.

At the fun-filled Jamboree young people and their families enjoyed arts and crafts, old time games, bouncy castles, graffiti wall and a surprise visit from an ice cream van.

Speaking of the Young Carers’ Jamboree, Fionnuala Walsh, National Head Northern Ireland at BBC Children in Need said: “After a period of immense challenge and uncertainty for young people, we’re very proud to support partnership projects like Building Bridges, which provide a lifeline and also help participants navigate through the current impact of the pandemic”.

Dance floor is down in Addis Ababa

We are thrilled to see the lovely new dance floor, kindly donated earlier this year by Harlequin, is getting lots of use by young dancers from the local kebale (township) at the Meseret Yirga Dance Centre in Addis Ababa. Meseret’s extremely talented youth dance group are loving the new floor and the developments in technique classes which are now possible to work on. As part of our on-going work with community dance in Ethiopia, we now plan to help the centre with studio mirrors. Watch this space!

Elsewhere in Ethiopia, our colleague Shiferaw Tariku is just about to launch his book – The Unfortunate Art – which talks about what the art form of dance has “…inside, beside the movement”. It has been a long haul to raise the funds for this but thankfully we are in the final stages and the book will be launched on 23rd October 2021 at the Ethiopian National Theatre.

The 11th September was Ethiopian New Year (2014 rather than 2021) and to celebrate another colleague who we support, Andualem Amare, took his students to Mount Entoto Park to dance. He reported that two great days were had by one and all.

For more information on this important area of our work check out this page.


We are excited to welcome back our Suteminis and Sutemos classes in Dungannon during Good Relations Week 2021. Involving young people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds in intercultural dance work, this programme of work has successfully used dance to provide a safe environment to build connections and celebrate differences for the past six years. New members are always welcome. Visit this page for more information on the classes or to book a place.


NEW Belfast Boys group for younger boys

We are delighted to launch a new Belfast Boys group for younger boys aged 7 – 11 years, in addition to our current group aged 12 – 16 years.   Building on the success and popularity of our programme, no experience is necessary and everyone is welcome! It has been great to meet lots of new faces.

  • 10 sessions from 18th Sept – 4th Dec 2021 (incl. 2 week Halloween break)
  • 2pm – 3pm on Saturdays
  • ONLY £5 membership fee; £1 subs per session
  • The group is led by dance artist Sean O’Neill
  • Meet at Crescent Arts Centre, 2-4 University Road, Belfast BT7 1NH

Please spread the word!

If you would like to find out more about Belfast Boys and how to join, please call us or email

Popping up at #BelfastMaritimeWeekender

We are thrilled to set sail this Saturday 4th September and dip our toes in the water at the Belfast Maritime Weekender. It’s been a while!

Young people from our youth engagement projects, Sutemos in Dungannon and Belfast Boys, will be entertaining the crowds with their short devised performance pieces at 11:30, 12:00 and 12:30. Watch out for the drunken sailors!

You can find us at the Buoys on the Maritime Mile so come along and say hello! We will also be sharing exciting news about our new sessions starting this month in Ballymoney, Ballycastle, Dungannon and Belfast.


Little Stranger Project

The premiere of this inspiring short film, developed over the summer, was screened at the EastSide Arts Festival on the 14th August 2021. In partnership with Tinderbox Theatre Company and Powerstone Productions, 15 young dancers from Sutemos and Suteminis took part in two weekends of rehearsals and filming to create a short film around the impact of migration on child refugees. The event also involved an interesting panel discussion after the film screening.

New Team Member

We’re delighted to welcome to the team Morag Stuart as Marketing Co-ordinator. Morag has over twenty years marketing experience across a broad spectrum of organisations and since 2007 within the arts in Northern Ireland. This includes Wheelworks, Young at Art Events, National Museums Northern Ireland and as a volunteer with the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. She has worked collaboratively with a number of artists, events and partners such as Belfast City Council, Cathedral Quarter Trust, Island Arts Centre, Barnardo’s and QFT.

Morag will bring a wealth of professional knowledge and experience to this new role with a genuine passion for the arts in Northern Ireland.