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Published on: Friday April 16, 2021

Beyond Borders is an ambitious region-wide participation Dance Development Leaders Group (DDLG) project that will bring together dance artists, aspiring young leaders, young people, digital artists and a variety of specialists to collaborate and produce original work in response to #OnewithNature.

This theme was chosen by over 100 young people through a pilot #DanceConnect 2020. Beyond Borders 2021 will focus on a creative enquiry approach to dance and digital collaboration and the unique experiences and perspectives of young people as lockdown restrictions begin to ease. The work will be premiered at Birmingham International Dance Festival (BIDF) 2021.

Beyond Borders aims to provide a high-quality meaningful experience for professionals and young people working together on an equal basis, amplifying young people’s voices at a critical moment in human history and exploring innovative ways to create high quality digital and dance collaboration that is fully accessible and inclusive for young people and artists of all abilities, backgrounds and experiences.

I am thrilled and excited at the prospect of collaborating with a fantastic team of artists from across the region and having a creative opportunity for our young people to explore, learn, share and develop with others. A digital collaboration creates the chance to meet new people, explore new technologies and allow our young people to feel seen and heard.

Anna Belyavin, Shropshire Inclusive Dance (Professional Dance Artist)

I can’t wait to smash expectations of dance and bring it to the 21st century! Telling stories and inspiring others in a new way to expose the beauty and truth of society through movement.

Sydnee Thompson (Young Aspiring Leader)

We are thrilled to share the amazing artists, groups and young leaders who will take part in this inspiring region-wide collaboration:

Core Team

Aaron Howell (Digital Artist)

Anthony Shintai (Digital Artist)

Martina Bussi (Creative Producer)

Rachel Liggitt (Inclusion Champion)

Zoie Golding (Artistic Facilitator)

Plus, specialist input from Rachel Freeman (Everybody Dance), Helen Mason (Freewheelin), Motionhouse, Wayne Sables (Digital Artist) and Orit Azaz (DDLG and Project Facilitator).

Dance Artists 

Aspiring Young Leaders

  • Beth Dale
  • Delphine Wise
  • Devon Nelson
  • Eden Andrews
  • Kieran Covell
  • Ella Stanton Warren
  • Katie Holtom
  • Natalie Haslam
  • Sharmila Biswas
  • Sunny Marko-Bennett
  • Sydnee Thompson
  • Helen McLaughlin
  • Daisy Kettle

About the partners

Dance Development Leaders Groups / DDLG comprises dance professionals from core funded and project funded organisations as well as independents, working in all parts of the West Midlands. A membership of 70+ meet twice a year to explore the potential for collaboration, shared ambition and mutual support. With a collective history of delivering high quality participatory dance projects successful in reaching large audiences, the impact of our work across the region has inspired many young people to seek further training and development in dance with significant numbers going on to work professionally.

Arts Connect /  A Midlands-based development agency connecting and supporting communities across the West Midlands, to enable children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life. We deliver the Bridge programme in the West Midlands for Arts Council England (ACE) and work with partners in education, arts and cultural organisations, local government and others to lead change and improve opportunity of access and engagement. We know that involvement in the arts and culture contributes to a thriving childhood and evidence shows this. We want this for all children and young people in the West Midlands.

DanceXchange /  An internationally known Birmingham-based dance agency that presents and produces some of the best UK and international dance with a focus on work that is current, new and choreographically driven, and that is artistically ambitious, engaging and inspiring.  dx is committed to supporting and showcasing high quality dance that resonates with our city’s young and diverse audiences.  We are the producer of the award-winning biennial Birmingham International Dance Festival.  dx has a strategic role in developing the artform, supporting dance artists and choreographers to create and develop their practice and build sustainable dance careers.  dx delivers dance classes for adults and young people of all abilities, and runs a tailored schools programme. In partnership with Sampad South Asian Arts and Heritage, dx leads the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), an elite training opportunity for talented young performers aged 11-18, in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Contemporary styles.

Bidf Dx
Arts Connect