Yorkshire Dance, with partners DanceEast and Take Art, have launched Little Big Dance. Leeds Dance Partnership are proud to support this new national initiative, which sets out to pioneer a new blueprint for creating dance with and for under five year olds.
Little Big Dance stems from the belief that very young children are an undervalued and overlooked audience for the arts in general but particularly for dance. Over two cycles, during 2019-22, eight artists will be selected to work with children in nursery settings to develop ideas for new dance works aimed at very young children and their families. All of the artists will receive support from a dramaturg and early years development specialists to ensure they take away new skills and knowledge from the experience.
The artists will pitch their ideas to a Commissioning Circle which includes the Artistic Directors of Dance Umbrella, Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, The Birmingham Hippodrome, the co-Artistic Director of Strike a Light Festival, Starcatchers, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and artists who specialise in making performances for children.
Of the eight projects pitched over the life of the programme, four will be selected for production and will go on to tour nationally to venues and pre-school settings in autumn 2020 and 2022.
The programme will be evaluated by Dr Angela Pickard from Canterbury Christchurch University, who in November 2019 was awarded the Dance Research Impact award from One Dance UK. Dr Pickard will contribute to a best practice toolkit to ensure the wider dance sector can benefit from what is learned.
In this first round of Little Big Dance, taking place during 2019/20, four artists have been selected for development with nursery children in four areas of England with little or no access to the arts:
In Yorkshire, the artist will be George
Fellows, co-Artistic Director of Four Hands, who
will create a new work with children across Yorkshire
using a simple question as a starting point: “What would you like to say to the adult world and how would you
like to use dance to say it?”
The other three selected artists are Takeshi Matsumoto, Stopgap Dance Company, and Anusha Subramanyam.
Little Big Dance is supported with more than £371,000 investment from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England; and by Leeds Dance Partnership, Dance Umbrella, Birmingham Hippodrome and Strike a Light Festival.