Join us for an intergenerational performance

Alternative Energies – our intergenerational dance project – started in Autumn 2021 and has gone from strength to strength. We are delighted to invite you to join them for a short performance on Tuesday 14th June, 4:45pm at the Ramoan Centre, 3 Station Street, Ballycastle.

This project brings young people aged 16 to 18 years together with the elders of the Ballycastle area to meet, to chat over a cup of tea, move, share ideas, explore and create dance ideas together.

A young person currently involved in the project, said “The dance class is loads of fun, I’m really enjoying meeting new people and building friendships, everyone is so warm and friendly.”

At DU Dance (NI) we firmly believe that age is no barrier to dance and Dr Philip Johnson who leads the group said “There is great richness to be gained in an intergenerational dance class. It is a place of sharing between the generations that rarely happens outside the immediate family environment. The intergenerational class brings people together from all walks of life to share in the commonality of dance through: the joy of moving together, keeping the body in good health and creativity.”

Email Debs to book a seat at the performance at deborah@dudanceni.com.

Plans in motion to welcome Palestinian dance company to Belfast

‘We dance for life and freedom’ is the message Palestinian company Diyar Theatre carries to audiences through its performances. Their work combines Palestinian folklore with contemporary dance in a way that conveys not only a passion for dance but a commitment to revitalising its national heritage.

The twelve talented and committed dancers are keen to introduce their cultural and folk dance heritage to the world and, if – fingers crossed! – all visa applications are successful, we very much look forward to welcoming them here in Belfast this August.

During their visit, planned to coincide with the annual Féile an Phobail, the dancers will showcase folk dance (debkeh) and perform – for the first time outside Palestine – a piece choreographed by Royston Maldoom called ‘Taken’. This is centred around the testimonies of Palestinian children who had been – and continue to be – held, usually without charges, in Israeli prisons. The inspiration for Taken came from a television report, seen by Maldoom. It showed a young Palestinian girl called Tamimi, who, in an astonishing act of bravery, slapped an Israeli soldier who was trying to encroach on her family’s property. The piece also draws on personal testimonies of hunger strikes, detention in solitary confinement and their devastating effect on families. Its final scene of defiance and strength characterises the people that Maldoom says he has been privileged to meet during his visits to the Palestinian occupied West Bank and Gaza.

More details on Diyar Theatre‘s programme of events at Féile an Phobail from 4th to 14th August, including performances, social and family cultural events and of course the carnival parade, to follow.

Buzzing at the Easter Family Fun Day

The Hill of the O’Neill and Ranfurly House Arts and Visitor Centre hosted a wonderful Easter Family Fun Day on Saturday 16 April and our Suteminis and Sutemos groups were delighted to perform their new piece ‘Floating Through Space’ as part of the celebrations.

As well as performing to the crowd, Sheena, Director of the Youth Engagement Project, led an open, drop in workshop giving people a taste of what happens in a Suteminis session.

The young dancers had a fantastic time and enjoyed trying the other activities happening during the day.

Popping up at the Giant Family Day Out

What a fantastic afternoon we had at the Belfast Children’s Festival Giant Family Day Out on Saturday 12 March. With a powerful dance performance of ‘Do You Care?’ featuring rap artist Jay Suttin, our Belfast Boys and young carers popped up all over Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and did a great job of entertaining the crowds at this annual event organised by Young at Art.

One dad commented, ‘This was a thoroughly brilliant thing today… Our youngest played a rugby match this morning and then spent this afternoon dancing like an absolute legend as part of this incredible group of boys. Thanks for giving him the chance to take part.’

‘Do You Care?’ is the latest is a series of short dance films that recognises and gives voice and emotional expression to young carers, raising awareness of some of the issues they face. The carers, who are aged between 13 and 16 years, embarked upon an intensive series of exploratory workshops which culminated in filming at locations chosen by the participants.

This project, in partnership with Barnardo’s NI, is part of our Building Bridges programme supported by BBC Children in Need.

Primary Schools Dance Festival is Back!

We are delighted to announce that our 2022 Primary Schools Dance Festival is taking place on Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th May at Belvoir Players Theatre, Castlereagh.

The festival is a fun, exciting and non competitive event where children from P1 – P6 can share the dance work taking place in their schools. Joining the festival this year are Holy Rosary Primary School, Glenwood Primary School, Finaghy Primary School and Penrythn Prep. In the run up to the festival, workshops have been happening to support the schools in creating their piece for this year’s event.

There will be a special guest performance by DU Dance (NI) dancer and friend, Sean O’Neill with an energetic jazz routine punctuated with comedic twists created especially for the day.

The schools – and DU Dance (NI) team – are very excited to be back after a two-year hiatus for what will be the 12th year of the festival.

Thank you to funders The Honourable The Irish Society and Esme Mitchell Trust and Lidl Northern Ireland for refreshments.

Day of Dance 2021

On 19 December 2021, our Youth Engagement Projects came together for a fun sharing workshop and lively performance.

Over 80 children and parents travelled from Dungannon and across Belfast to enjoy the beautiful outdoors at Crawfordsburn Country Park, Co. Down. It was a great afternoon with beautiful choreography and moving music. The young people gave it their all and we look forward to seeing what else they will achieve in 2022.

One parent commented, ‘Our son has joined Belfast Boys Junior this year and has such a brilliant experience. The Day of Dance was a wonderful opportunity for him to perform what he had learned and to see others dance.’

We finished with hot chocolates, festive treats and, of course, the annual Christmas dance off!

Unanimous is back. Tickets available now!

Join us at The MAC, Belfast on Sunday 24 April at 7pm as we return to the stage for Unanimous, an energy-packed performance showcase of youth dance from across the island of Ireland.

This youth dance platform is an opportunity for young people, from the ages of 12-24 years, to get together in a professional theatre and share their work. It is a celebration of dance and a way of encouraging young people to actively take part in this creative and expressive art form. Having been postponed twice, we can’t wait to be back!

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS.

Join us at Belfast Children’s Festival 2022

Following the success of Through Our Eyes, we are thrilled to return to Belfast Children’s Festival 2022 with Do You Care?, a new film shot with young carers between lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.

The film recognises and gives voice and emotional expression to young carers, raising awareness of some of the issues they face. This project in partnership with Barnardo’s NI is part of our Building Bridges programme supported by BBC Children in Need.

The film will premiere online via QFT Player on Friday 4 March and run on demand throughout the festival. For more information and to book tickets: https://www.youngatart.co.uk/whats-on/do-you-care

Plus, watch out for the rapper, Jay Suttin, and dancers as they perform LIVE at the Giant Family Day Out in Cathedral Square on the afternoon of Saturday 12 March. Details at: https://www.youngatart.co.uk/whats-on/giant-family-day

International Project News

In Ethiopia, we have been working with our colleague Shiferaw Tariku to secure a project entitled We in Me. This will look at issues of peace within society and our individual responsibility, whilst providing work for 14 local artists in Addis Ababa. Performances will be at the new amphitheatre in Entoto Park and a military base near the city.

As we prepare to bring dancers from Bethlehem to Belfast in August, we will deliver a small Arabic Festival with project partner Yallaa on 6 May. We are currently talking with a number of Dabke Dancers, poets and storytellers. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved.

New community engagement artist

A new hat for a familiar face! We are delighted to announce Sheena Kelly joins the team in a new capacity as DU Dance (NI)’s first Community Engagement Artist. In this exciting role, she will be responsible for developing community links, reaching out to new audiences and increasing participant numbers from Northern Ireland’s most challenged communities.

Sheena has worked with DU Dance (NI) for a number of years as Director of Sutemos Youth Engagement Project and as freelance contemporary dance artist. With an long-standing inter­est in com­mu­nity dance prac­tice, she says of her appointment, ‘I am delighted to start 2022 in the role of Community Engagement Artist with DU Dance (NI). The last few years have been challenging for everyone but it has highlighted the necessity for connection and creativity. I look forward to collaborating with communities across Northern Ireland to develop exciting workshops and projects and continue to raise the profile of the incredible work the company does.’ Welcome Sheena!