On Tuesday 28 March, our Intergenerational Dance Project, Alternative Energies, gave a short performance at Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart to a lively audience of friends and family.

This project is part of DU Dance (NI)’s focus on intergenerational work celebrating how age is no barrier to dance and reflecting how historically dance has been a social gatherer of people of different ages and genders.

Alternative Energies seeks to address the lack of connection between the generations. The work is physical, impacting on participants’ general health and also very sociable which helps with feelings of isolation and bolsters mental well-being.

The piece called ‘Teranga’ has developed out of work which the group has been engaged in over the past seven weeks.  Material for the performance began as movement ideas for the class that were then further expanded for the stage. As always members of the group have brought themselves wholeheartedly to the process of making and creating work.  The weekly classes at the Ramoan Centre in Ballycastle are filled with great energy.  Dr Philip Johnson, who has been leading the group since it started in September 2021, says of the importance of the project: “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.”

Let’s hear from some of the audience at ‘Teranga’:

“Inspirational, Warm, Truly special for Ballycastle, Encouraging, Uplifting.”
“It was good. My grandparents were in it.”
“I thought it was pretty neat and Rita was very good.”
“The performance was very enjoyable and really relaxing as well as entertaining. Thank you.”
“Well coordinated and choreographed.”
“I thought it was lovely to see all the different generations dancing and enjoying themselves.”
“The whole performance was filled with joy, I loved it!”
“Tonight was very good I enjoyed it.”
“What a wonderful performance. It was fun, a joy to listen to! Congratulations Philip, you make a real difference to Ballycastle and area.”
“A great experience seeing so many faces that I knew from Ballycastle, the performers have enjoyed their dancing immensely.  Impressive!”

This is the second of three performances the group will deliver in 2023 and they are working alongside a filmmaker to record the process and performances as the group develops.

Every Thursday, for the past five months, women living in West Belfast have come together with Mags, Sheena and Debs to dance, create, share and celebrate at Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich.  The women come from a diverse range of backgrounds and  from places such as Iraq, Syria, West Bank, Gaza, Pakistan and Egypt including the local neighbourhood.

At the end of last year, the group worked on a ground-breaking dance film project called “Ode to Gaia” which was premiered at a special event on Thursday 9th March, in celebration of International Women’s Day.

This was followed by a beautiful showcase of dance and poetry by the women, and then an opportunity for everyone there to dance, chat over a coffee and enjoy delicious homemade Arabic food.  The audience feedback says it all:

“A beautiful and very moving experience. Congratulations to all involved.”  Mary Shannon

“I enjoyed the music and dance so much I cannot express it. It was so moving and I felt emotional. The grace of the women was so beautiful.  It said so much nonverbally. The poetry and dance I love as well.”

“Really enjoyed the performance.  Nice to witness another culture. Music and video (were) very cinematic. We need more…”  Mary Harvey Molloy

“I love the show and I really had fun and enjoy.”

“It is so beautiful party.  Friendly people. Thank you.”

“My soul rose and my feet followed.”

“Thank very much. I love too much and happy women day for all women.”

“She was happy.”

“The warmth and hospitality at the event made it a truly wonderful experience and I was so impressed with the work being carried out to celebrate women of all cultures”, Dawn Mallon, Blessed Trinity Belfast.

This project has meant so much to this group of women and we thank you the Community Relations Council Cultural Diversity Fund whose generosity enabled us to continue the project this year.

(Due to cultural reasons we will not be showing photos from the women’s only event but instead some stills from the film.)




Belfast Boys and the DU Dance team had a fantastic day at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade last Friday.  The boys gave it their all with jumps, lifts, waves and fun freestyling.  We were so impressed with their energy and enthusiasm.  Hats off to Sean too who kept the choreography going the entire route and even threw in a few of his own handstands!

It was our first time joining the festivities and such a great experience.   The sun came out, the crowds were huge and welcoming plus the event was really well organised by Beat Carnival.

Hope to be back at it next year!



With one month to go, tickets have gone on sale for Unanimous 2023 today!

The energetic performance showcase of youth dance is being run in association with The MAC, Belfast, our host venue and is great event for families and individuals interested in the performing arts.

It will take place at The MAC on Sunday 16th April at 7pm.

Click here to buy tickets: https://themaclive.com/event/unanimous

Tickets are £8 / £6 under 16s.

For group rates, please contact The MAC on 028 9023 5053.

Photo of Dublin Youth Dance Company’s performance at Unanimous 2022.

Photo credit: Jim Corr.


You may have noticed on our social media feeds this month, we have shared three incredible films made by the young people who took part in the ‘Ode to Earth’ project.  This was the collaboration between ourselves, Beyond Skin and VILLA Leipzig as part of the #CulturalBridge pilot programme in 2022.

The project brought together young people from Northern Ireland and Germany who combined their skills in music, dance and civic engagement to create these videos reflecting on our cultural relationships to the land around us: how we find balance, how we appreciate its beauty, and how we protect it.

Watch them here. let us know what you think and please do share!


Thank you to Cultural Bridge funders Goethe Institut, Fonds Soziokultur, National Lottery, Arts Councils Northern Ireland and Arts Council England.

We are excited to announce the first of our community dance training events will take place on 14th & 15th April 2023 with no other than the Gary Clarke Dance Company! Join Artistic Director Gary Clarke himself and GCC dancer Shelley Eva Haden as they share their toolkit for working within communities.

Gary Clarke has developed a wealth of choreographic experience in creating site-specific works (in pubs, clubs, graveyards and galleries) as well as full-length productions for stage.  He is currently regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent dance artists who has received great appreciation for his work as a Choreographer, Director, Performer, Mentor, Teacher and Facilitator.

These events form the start of an on-going relationship with the Yorkshire-based project highly renown for producing contemporary dance theatre that comments on both popular and political culture.

The workshops are aimed at Northern Ireland based community dance artists looking to enhance their practice in sharing skills in a community context.  It will be a great opportunity to network too.

They will take place in The Factory at the MAC Belfast at 10am-4pm on 14th April and 10am-2pm on 15th April

If you are working with community groups using dance and are interested in attending please get in touch with sheena@dudanceni.com.

Gary Clarke

Last year, we shared news of the Young Carers Information Pack called ‘They Care. Do you?’ developed with Barnardo’s NI and sent to every school in Northern Ireland.

The pack was been created as a practical and straight-talking resource for teachers and included a USB stick with the six short dance films giving both voice and emotional expression to Young Carers.

In response to receiving the packs a number of schools have been in contact with DU Dance (NI).  So next month we are delighted that Mags and Sheena will be working with five primary schools to deliver the last stage of our Young Carers Project.   In these workshops Mags and Sheena will use dance to explore the issues of Young Carers with the aim of raising awareness and understanding of what is like to be a Young Carer.

The schools they will visit in March are:

St Caolans P.S, Ballynahinch
Parkhill P.S, Antrim
Ballymacccricket, Glenavy
Victoria College, Belfast
Ballyoran P.S, Portadown

Have a look at the pack here and keep an eye on our social media this Young Carers Day (15 March) to see how the young people in the schools respond to the workshops.

We are looking for backstage volunteers to help run Unanimous, our annual youth dance performance showcase with groups from across Ireland.

Join us for the day on Sunday 16th April at The MAC, Belfast and gain event experience, see the show, get a t-shirt. Refreshments will be provided.

To have a chat about this opportunity, please contact Louise on +44 (0)28 9023 0877 or email info@dudanceni.com!


Following on from the success of last year’s Creative Schools project with Blessed Trinity in North Belfast, Sheena and Sean are delighted to be back with a new group of Year 9s. This time the project called “Dancing Together” is an intergenerational project working with Newington Day Centre. After 3 weeks of separate workshops the groups have come together to create a short dance film with film artist Graham from Bounce Culture. There has been lots of sharing about the role of dance for both generations, memories the dance halls of Belfast and life as a teen now and in the past.

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