** COVID-19 Update**
We’re currently planning our own ‘road map’ out of lock down including continuing to work digitally with partners to ensure we’re still able to support the delivery of high-quality dance provision across Bedfordshire.
Please keep an eye on our website or sign up to our newsletter to be updated.
Dance Beds is a collaboration between BCA, University of Bedfordshire and Dance East to create a centre for dance practice in Bedfordshire.
The project aims to make Bedfordshire a hub of excellence for choreographic innovation, youth dance engagement, widening participation and increasing diversity in dance. With Bedford being the fifth most culturally diverse town in the East of England, we seek to raise aspiration in the area and champion an innovative and inclusive practice to share regionally and nationally.
The programme commenced in November 2019 and runs until mid 2021.
Dance Beds engages young people and supports both emerging and established dance artists through three strands of activity: a series of commissions, CPD (continuing professional development) and mentoring. We will explore and develop dance activity that reaches gaps in provision for participants, attracts diverse dance artists to the local area, and connects experienced and emerging artists with cultural organisations and the youth dance sector.
A group of specially commissioned artists will be brought together to focus on choreographic creation in the context of engaging hard-to-reach audiences, including three emerging artists (Ashley Goosey, Katie Boag and Simon Hoang) and three established partnership artists (Urja Desai Thakore, Rebecca Evans and Julia Cheng).
In order to connect with wider Bedford audiences, especially those who may not usually experience dance, we will hold free outdoor public performances at Bedford Riverside Square and Bedford River Festival. We will hold Dance Dialogue Days throughout the project to bring together dance professionals to debate, share best practice, learn and network. These events will be open to professionals outside the project, so do check this page or sign up to our newsletter for updates.
Over the next few months we will feature interviews with dance artists working in Bedfordshire and how they see their work serving the communities of the area.
Listen below to Tamara Ashley, Artistic programme leader of Dance Beds talk to Urja Desai Thakore about her work Kattam Katti, created with Indian heritage dancers and live musicians, weaving storytelling through kathak and contemporary dance.
WHAT IS U. DANCE? – Saturday 27th March
U. Dance is a national celebration of performance by young people aged 11 – 19 years, and up to 25 years for young people with disabilities. The Regional Platforms are part of the U. Dance programme, which is delivered in partnership with One Dance UK.
The Eastern Region hosted a sensational online showcase of dance from the finest youth dance groups, companies and schools in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire. The day of activities, workshops and digital interaction provided an opportunity for the region’s finest dance groups to come together and celebrate dance.
Dance in a Pandemic – 18th November 2020
Hosted by Dance Beds project partners, Bedford Creative Arts, DanceEast and the University of Bedfordshire, this on-line event welcomed a combination of dance teachers, arts organisations, community dance leaders, established and emerging dance artists to share experiences of how they have responded to the challenges for delivering dance in the context of Covid 19 restrictions.
Contributions by Damian Slade (Hot House dance), Lisa Risedale (Two Thirds Sky) and Sadie Hunt (UOB convenor of Dance Beds youth dance activities) stimulated discussion of innovative ways of engaging people in dance on line and measures to work safely in the studio. Tamara Ashley (UOB convenor of Dance Beds artists’ projects) reported on how Dance Beds project participant Pagrav Dance Company directed by Urja Desai Thakore had created and filmed a new dance work ‘Kattam Katti ‘by working in a self -contained bubble.
Lucy Bayliss Head of Creative Programmes at Dance East, the regional dance agency, updated participants on plans for this year’s U.Dance regional event to celebrate youth dance. The event in March will be digital with the aim to ensure it provides opportunities for audience engagement and participant feedback. Dance East will be coordinating with OneDance UK to provide further details of how to be involved and support available. The University of Bedfordshire also has funds as part of Dance Beds project to support Bedfordshire based groups to work towards this event.
Looking further forwards, Dance Beds project participants Katie Boag, Julia Cheng (House of Absolute) Rebecca Evans (Pell Ensemble) and Ash Goosey shared their progress towards creating work for a planned festival at University of Bedfordshire in June. Rebecca Evans also shared an insight into Pell Ensemble’s workshops for schools that provide an innovative combination of dance and (computer) coding.
For further information about the Dance Beds project please contact Jane.Carr@beds.ac.uk