Leeds 2023 Seed Commissions Announced

We are delighted to announce that in collaboration with LEEDS 2023, five seed commissions have been awarded for independent dance and movement-based artists and organisations in Leeds following an open call.

LEEDS 2023 will work closely with these artists and organisations to develop inspiring new projects which complement the world class dance offer in our city.

Seed Commissions

  • Gary Clarke, Artistic Director of Gary Clarke Company, will explore Leeds’ rich history and relationship with the River Aire. Using the river’s course as a pathway, Gary will create a fast-flowing river of people using movement, choreography, costume and live music. Currently regarded as one of the UK’s leading independent contemporary dance artists, Gary has worked with some of the world’s most prolific dance companies and choreographers and has developed a growing reputation for creating his own extraordinary dance work of various sizes and scales.
  • Keira Martin, Irish contemporary dance artist and musician, will collaborate with Romani Gypsy storyteller and award-winning picture book author, Richard O’Neill, to develop a performance of Ossiri and the Bala Mengro. With an international career spanning over 20 years, Keira is a versatile storyteller, telling stories of the underrepresented through mesmerising Irish contemporary dance, music, song and culture. From a working-class background, Keira’s work openly highlights social and political issues related to identity, gender, social justice, culture and class.
  • Joseph Mercier & Alexah Tomey-Alleyne will bring together 23 Leeds and West Yorkshire-based emerging dance artists who experience difference or otherness (because of their race, sexuality, gender, disability, class) and invite them to collaboratively create a series of solo performances connected by a large group improvised score. Alexah is a mixed Afro-Caribbean female artist from Leeds whose work balances making, performing, writing and advocacy. Her practice draws upon her culture and heritage as a means of exploring the moving body; her black identity is central within her work which she uses to explore blackness. Joseph is a queer artist working across disciplines, primarily in dance, live art and contemporary theatre. He works as an independent artist and also as co-director of performance collective PanicLab.
  • Douglas Thorpe (Mad Dogs Dance Theatre) will collaborate with Director Rod Dixon (Red Ladder) and Writer Andrea Heaton (Fidget Theatre), on a brand new physical dance theatre production based on experiences and stories from working as a local taxi driver in Leeds. After training at London Contemporary Dance School, Douglas joined Phoenix Dance Theatre where he danced over a twenty-year period. Since 2008, Douglas has developed powerful and highly physical dance through Mad Dogs Dance Theatre including commissions for ACE Dance and Phoenix Dance Theatre.
  • Akeim Toussaint Buck will collaborate with Ashley Karrell to pilot Beat Motion Mass, a flash mob experience where a multitude of people will meet in public to perform as a dance and vocal ensemble. Born in Jamaica and raised in England, Akeim is an interdisciplinary performer and maker and graduate from Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Akeim creates performance work fusing dance, film, poetry, beat-box and singing to tell stories for a wide range of audiences.

There’s still time to get involved in LEEDS 2023, who are regularly announcing new opportunities for artists, organisations and participants to get involved, continuing to celebrate our city region. Take a look on the LEEDS 2023 website.