Déda and Arts Derbyshire to Champion Dance with Disabled People

Déda, the Derby-based regional dance house, has been selected by Arts Derbyshire and Derbyshire County Council as the Creative Producer for a two-year project which will develop and celebrate the talents of disabled people.

Derby-based Déda, which has a national reputation for leading the fusion of dance, contemporary circus and outdoor performance, aims to establish Derbyshire as the leading county in the UK for championing the dance work of disabled people. The project will be the latest stage in the county’s pioneering All Dance programme, spearheaded by Derbyshire County Council, Arts Derbyshire and Arts Council England.

All Dance was launched as part of the Cultural Olympiad celebrations in Derbyshire in 2012. People with disabilities were invited to join a dance project which culminated in the county’s first disability dance platform in Chesterfield. A second All Dance project took place in 2015, when the programme expanded to two performances, one in the south and one in the north of Derbyshire.

In the latest stage of the All Dance programme, Déda is looking to recruit a team of eight Lead Dance Artists and four Support Dance Artists who will work with disabled people across the eight districts and boroughs in the county to create and perform new and unique pieces of dance.

Déda’s Head of Dance Development and Learning Clare Limb will lead the Creative Producing Team of the All Dance programme. She explained: “The underpinning notion of All Dance is to enable disabled people in Derbyshire to take part in high quality dance activities for the first time and to bring together participants with dance artists to perform in a professionally supported celebration event, one of which will be in The Déda Theatre in their highly accessible building on Chapel Street in Derby.

“This ambitious programme will be developed over the next two years and will involve elements of dance and contemporary circus. “Our next stage is to appoint a team of skilled dance artists to deliver the project at venues across the county.

“We will also be giving opportunities for the graduates and undergraduates on the University of Derby’s BA Hons Dance degree which is based here at Déda and other emerging dance artists to support the professional team and gain valuable work experience.”

Clare Limb continued that Déda - an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation - has a proven track record in creative producing of large scale community projects and developing activities for disabled people. The organisation’s £1.2 million ‘Games Time’ production, which was part of the Cultural Olympiad, involved 120 volunteer performers in each of the five locations across the region, including a number of disabled people.

Déda holds weekly accessible creative movement sessions for disabled people as part of its diverse class programme; holiday workshops for disabled young people and sessions for their carers in partnership with organisations such as Umbrella. Déda’s Dance Development and Learning Team also works with a range of special schools including Royal School for the Deaf, Derby.

The organisation also has a track record in programming performance work in its theatre by disability-led companies including Stop Gap, Candoco and more locally - Hubbub Theatre Company and 3D Deaf Drama.

The move was welcomed by local dance professional Madeleine Hudson who leads a Déda Academy for with young people with disabilities, as well as being an artist with Hubbub Theatre Company which is based at the venue. She said: “All Dance will be invaluable in helping young people access classes and programmes.

“Everybody has different ways of learning but communicating in the right way is key to ensure that each individual enjoys the experience and develops to a level that is right for them.

“There are a lot of disability labels but this project actually all about enabling individuals to grow their abilities and creating the right atmosphere and environment for everyone to learn and grow in their own way.”

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