Children and Young People's Dance Network - News, updates and opportunities #8
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C&YP Dance Network North

Updates, News and Opportunities 

This week newsletter has some really great opportunities for the sector. The network is hosting a North East Dance Network Meeting at 5pm on Thursday 8th October at Dance City. All are welcome and details are HERE. The meeting will finish before Gillie Kleiman's Dance Class - A Performance

The first ever School Dance Week is being launched nationally and will run from 12th - 16th October and in region the Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival tickets are now on sale...but starting with 10 Questions with...Anthony Middleton. 

Amanda Drago 
Children and Young People's Dance Network North Co-ordinator 

Check our Facebook page Children and Young People’s Dance Network North for more opportunities and events
10 Questions with.....Anthony Middleton
10 questions with...Anthony Middleton. West Yorkshire born artists Anthony is Artistic Director of theMiddletonCorpus, a company that combines contemporary dance and acrobatics for theatre and unconventional performance spaces. 

If you have someone that you would like to nominate to be part of this feature in the newsletter (just because you think they are doing great work in youth dance across the north) send me an email.
What was your inspiration to start dancing?
I have always been determined to be a performer, though I must admit that dance was never my considered direction. Since a young age I was intending to enter a career in theatre, as an actor. My interest in dance was really planted into me through the movement tutor whilst I was at Barnsley College studying acting; a fantastically passionate teacher called Liz McPolin. She had suggested to me that I come along to some shows with her dance course students, as I had expressed an interest in the work of Lloyd Newson with physical theatre company DV8. Following the first few shows that we’d been to see, Spiegel from Ultima Vez (Belgium) and Held from Australian Dance Theatre, I was immediately hooked with this exciting form of dance, that I was previously completely unaware of. To me dance was synonymous with classical ballet, men in tights and an expressive world that I just didn’t know enough about at all to identify it as a credible career for an 18 year old to suddenly dive into.

What I was so impressed by was the way that the body could express the same level of emotion. I felt that it touched me as a person. I could see elements of my life in the dance particularly the aggression that I had towards those who had made my teenage years rather difficult; an unacceptably too familiar situation for young men interested in the world of dance.  The work was an emotionally cathartic release for me, as well as being athletically and aesthetically exciting to witness too. 

Tell us one thing that has stayed with your from your dance training? 
The sheer passion that all of my teachers have had for their craft. It was such an inspiration to me, pushing me to work harder, to learn more about this new field of art for me, something that I always hope to carry into my own classes and to pass on to those who I teach

What are you currently doing? 
Since 2012, I have been creating my own work under the company name of theMiddletonCorpus, where I am exploring the combination of dance with acrobatic gymnastics, a physical discipline that I had trained in from  a young age until I was 18. I have most recently been presenting my new creation Without End, a trio performance that is performed in both theatres and unconventional spaces (eg. outdoor festivals, galleries and public spaces). The creation of the work was supported by Northern School of Contemporary Dance, the Lowry,  Rambert Dance Company and Dance City.

I also teach on the CAT programme at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and at Cathedral Academy for Performing Arts, Wakefield. I offer workshops for the professional dance community of Leeds, through the ProDanceLeeds network and guest teach at Northern School of Contemporary Dance on their professional training programme. 

What motivates you? 
My main motivation is my sheer love for dance. I have so much gratitude to those teachers that have encouraged me along my dance journey. Their passion for inspiring young people to discover the arts fuelled both my creative practice, my teaching as well as expanding my knowledge of the artistic capabilities of dance. I am always contemplating how my work reaches audiences, in particular those who may not have access to it. I hope that I will give that same magical experience that I once had when I was in the theatre for the first time, seeing a piece of dance. This is one of my main reasons to return to my home district of West Yorkshire, not only to push myself as a creative artist, but to hopefully inspire of those young boys and girls who might be unaware of the world of contemporary dance. 

What has been the most memorable moment in your career to date? 
As a performer, I have many fantastic memories. Whether that is performing on some amazing stages around the world or working with some truly amazing artists. The most prominent memories have been the audience reactions to my own work, which I hope doesn’t too self-indulgent.

We recently shared my new work Without End at The Lowry where we presented the work both in a foyer space, but also in a beautiful studio space that overlooked the Quays area of Salford. At the end of the work the performers remain rotating in the circular performance space as the audience leaves, as if we are left there to rotate for an eternity. In this particular performance there was a woman who remained for quite some time before leaving with the last few members of the audience. She appeared completely magnetised to the atmosphere of the work, simply staring at the lasting image of us rotating. I’m always very moved and touched, when people gain something so profound from something that we, the dancers and I, have created.

What advice would you give to young people considering a career in dance? 
My advice for anyone who interested in a career in dance, is to be receptive to every opportunity that you have and be resilient through the hardest parts of training. The rewards that come from working so hard and spending those extra hours watching as many videos of different companies and choreographers as possible, will allow you to navigate your way through your training and achieve a well earned place in the creative industries. 

What are the challenges for dance artists working in the North? 
The main challenge that I have found, working in the North, is not too dissimilar to the challenges that I think artists all around the UK are facing. It can be challenging to build your creative networks and find the most appropriate partners to help you with the development of your work.

When I first moved back to Leeds, having spent my professional dancing career mostly resident in London, it was difficult to build up relationships that can support you through the earliest stages of your development as you begin exploring your individual choreographic voice. The most important lesson that I have learned, is to have patience and give yourself time to truly uncover what makes your work truly your own. This will enable you to establish where your own creative focus is and how to then use your interests, influences and philosophies to filter into your creative practice.

What are the rewards?
The rewards of working in the North, particularly as a West Yorkshire born artist, is to have the opportunity to give back to those who have contributed to my own creative journey, as well as hopefully beginning some of those journeys for young people myself. 

I have found a real sense of creative freedom and calmness to working in the north, amongst the beautiful countryside and greenness of the landscape that I grew up around. I certainly personally missed that when living in the hustle and bustle of the capital. 

What's next? 
With a few dates in negotiation already, both in the UK and overseas, I hope that over the next year I can continue to bring my work with the theMiddletonCorpus to audiences around the UK and beyond to people, whether they are experienced dance audiences, or are completely new to dance. 

Who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with? 
This is a question far too difficult to provide a singular answer to, as there are so many people whose company I would truly love. My first choice would be my wonderful fiancee Isabel Slingerland. Isabel has been with me, supporting me, throughout the difficult few years that I have gone through to get to the stage where I am now, working with me in the studio tirelessly as a dancer, helping me uncover and focus my creative practice.
 What is School Dance Week? 
School Dance Week is a brand new initiative spearheaded by Arlene Philips. It aim is to be a national platform where together, primary schools and professional dance companies celebrate movement and dance in education across the country!

Providing a free, online dance community, School Dance Week helps establish working relationships between education and professional dance. Join our very own network member Northern School of Contemporary Dance as a dance partner. 

SIGN UP as a school or partner and access our dance community now!

Yorkshire School Dance Festival 

Join us for a weekend of dance performances from schools across the region. 660 young dancers from 30 schools will present their interpretation of this year's theme: Light.

Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th November

Central Hall, The University of York

Tickets for each day of the 2015 Yorkshire Schools Dance Festival are available to purchase online via our box office provider TicketSource or at the venue on each performance day. The performances begin at 3pm.

Online ticket price (available up to 6pm on the day before the event):

Adults - £5.50

Children (3 to 16 year olds) - £4.50

On the day ticket price* (available at the venue - CASH ONLY)

Adults - £5.50 

Children (3 to 16 year olds) - £4.50

* Please note that there are a limited number of tickets available for the Festival. We recommend booking tickets in advance where possible.


North East Network Meeting 

Martin Wilson (Tin Arts) Co-Chair of the Children and Young People's Dance Network and Amanda Drago, Network Co-ordinator are holding an open network meeting for the Children and Young People's Dance Network North and inviting you to attend. It is suitable for anyone who works with children and young people in the field of dance.  

The purpose of the meeting is to introduce the network, find out a little bit more about you and ask you opinion on how a network run intiaitive, the Dance Ladders, could work and what they should look like. 

The meeting will be at 5pm on Thursday 8th October at Dance City and last an hour. 

North East based dance artist Gillie Kleiman’s A Dance Class, A Performance starts at 6.30pm so a good opportunity to come and support our peers.

We would really value your attendance and if you are not able to attend please respond any way and let us know why and when would be a better time to meet. 

If you have any questions please email me, Amanda Drago on

Sign up, Like and Share
The Sign up, Like and Share campaign is still running. Please could you help extend the network by sharing the newsletter with you contacts, encourage people to sign up to the Network and like our Facebook page. This way we can keep the conversation going and reach people.
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The network is governed by the Strategic Action Group, currently made up of the Bridge organisations Cape UK and Creative Minds, Dance City, Cheshire Dance, Ludus Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, TIN Arts, The Lowry, Yorkshire Dance and 2 Independents working in the field of dance Pete Huggins (Gateway Studio, Gateshead) and Sarah Hall (Blackpool and Fylde Local Authority). The network is financially supported by the SAG and Arts Council England. 

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