About Us

About Leeds Dance Partnership

Leeds is already a place where great dance is made, where artists from around the world train, and where dance is a pivotal part of people’s lives. Leeds is home to world-leading dance companies, the only dance conservatoire outside of London, major universities and a wealth of independent artists who make work for national and international touring and deliver high quality engagement work in communities across the City.

Leeds Dance Partnership is an exciting sector-led initiative that reimagines how organisations and individuals can work together to support this amazing dance ecology in Leeds and beyond. We believe that through excellent collaborative working we can do more and have an even bigger impact.

With this mindset, we strive to:

  • Increase Leeds’ profile and recognition locally, nationally and internationally for its vibrant and diverse dance scene
  • Increase investments and resources for dance in the North
  • Support a strong and growing independent sector
  • Provide more opportunities for artist and producers development, commissioning, programming and touring

Underpinning this mission is a commitment to diversity, ambition, skill, talent, export and research.

Governance

Leeds Dance Partnership is led by an unincorporated consortium of organisations with a shared set of values and aims who are each represented on the Partnership Board. These organisations are Northern Ballet, Yorkshire Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds Playhouse, Phoenix Dance and Leeds Beckett University. A co-opted member of the independent dance community also sits on our Board.

Over the coming 12 months, our governance model will develop to include more voices from the independent sector.

Background

The concept for Leeds Dance Partnership has evolved from a three-year process of consultation and development.

In 2015, Arts Council England initiated conversations with major dance organisations in both Leeds and Birmingham to explore what ‘dance hubs’ for both cities could look like. It was recognised that each city already had a strong dance infrastructure that could be built upon to enable them to do more through partnership working. Nationally, there was a recognition that the dance ecology was too London centric and a drive to decentralise resources to the regions was felt to be of strategic importance to the long-term development of the artform.

During 2015/16, consultant Susanne Burns was appointed to explore and refine what a Dance Hub might look like for Leeds, and what it might bring to the already strong ecology in the City and to dance in the North.

From this, a 10-year vision for dance in Leeds was created and our ambition for Leeds Dance Partnership was launched at a celebratory event of performance at Northern Ballet. This 10-year vision encompasses;

  • Developing Pathways and Excellence
  • Increasing Participation and Engagement
  • An Internationally Facing Ecology
  • Developing People and Capacity
  • Developing Places
  • Improved Profile and Advocacy

Following our successful launch event, Arts Council England invited us to submit an application to their Ambition for Excellence grant scheme for a three-year programme focused on developing the dance infrastructure along with dancer and choreographer development. This application was provisionally agreed in spring 2017 and following this Shirley Lundstram was appointed as Partnership Director to develop and refine the vision for this work. In December 2017, final sign-off was received from Arts Council England, enabling work to start on the programme in 2018.

Delivery of the Ambition for Excellence programme is the focus of Leeds Dance Partnership’s work for 2018/19. We are currently fundraising to start to deliver on other elements identified in the 10-year vision. Information about Leeds Dance Partnership’s current work programmes can be found here (link to What We Do Section).

Leeds Dance Partnership continues to work closely with the team at Birmingham Dance Hub to share learning and support the development of the dance sector. To find out more about the work in Birmingham, click here.