Nikki and JD

Déda launched its Artist Scheme
(now known as Déda|Artists) in April 2008.
It has had a significant impact both within Derby City and Derbyshire and beyond, with artists taking part in the scheme going on to tour co-produced work regionally and nationally.


In 2007 it was recognised that there was a lack of dance practitioners living and working within the East Midlands.  Dancers, choreographers and teachers were relocating to London and beyond in order to find work and access a support system of regular classes and a critical mass of like-minded professionals. In order to address this, Déda applied for Grants for the Arts to introduce levels of support for artists wishing to stay in the region.

Déda|Artists Aims

  • To raise the aspirations of local artists
  • To raise the calibre of local artists by increasing opportunities
  • To encourage people to take part in dance
  • To support professional training within the region
  • To link the work of high calibre artists with Déda and the region
  • To raise the profile of Déda & the region within the UK dance community
  • To encourage artists to relocate, return or stay in the region
  • To offer various packages of support that will develop the work of associate artists
  • To offer a safe place for developing new work
  • To form a national network of small scale touring venues concerned with the development of new work, encouraging debate and support in order to move new work forward


Déda Associate Artists 2017

Ben Duke

Ben Duke is Artistic Director of Lost Dog. He trained at the Guildford School of Acting, London Contemporary Dance School and has a first class degree in English Literature from Newcastle University.

As well as his creations for Lost Dog, Ben has been commissioned to create work for Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine) supported by Dance East and the Junction and numerous post-graduate performing companies including Verve and Intoto. He has choreographed for projects by The National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls), the Gate Theatre, London (Sexual Neuroses of our Parents) and Handspring UK (CROW). As a performer he has worked with Probe, Hofesh Shechter Company, Tilted Productions, The Gate Theatre, The National Theatre of Scotland, Glyndebourne Opera and Punchdrunk.

Ben Duke is a Work Place Artist, was Associate Artist at South East Dance 2012-2014 and was the recipient of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2011. 


Humanhood was funded in 2015 by Artistic Directors Rudi Cole and Júlia Robert Parés; the company is based in Birmingham and Barcelona. Since 2017, Humanhood has established its CoreCollaborators: Horne Horneman (light designer), Iain Armstrong (sound designer) and Mark Howard (costume designer) with who together with invited international and local artists they develop their productions fusing energy shifting sound&light&movement.

The research behind the company’s work resides in Humanhood's approach to physics, human consciousness and Eastern philosophy & movement application. They collaborate with physicists and astrophysicists to open a dialogue between scientists and artists as well as to integrate the researches and theories of science in their everyday practice. These conversations and exchange inform the creative process of Humanhood's productions. 

Nikki & JD

Nikki & JD are an acrobatic duo with a unique blend of skills in hand-to-hand, gymnastics, capoeira and contemporary dance. Since the beginning of our collaboration, we have sought to push and refine our use of acrobatics, dance and storytelling.

Nikki trained for 10 years as an artistic gymnast in Washington State, USA, and has since trained handbalancing and hand-to-hand at the National Centre for Circus Arts.

Jean Daniel (JD) Brousse has more than 6 years' performance experience with companies including Roundhouse Circus Company and Square Peg contemporary circus. He studied a BA (Hons) Degree at the National Centre for Circus Arts.

Fran Widdowson

Dance circus artist Fran Widdowson, originally trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, graduating in 2006. From there, her performance career side stepped into circus when she went on to study at Greentop Circus Centre.

A versatile performer, Fran is an associate artist of Citrus Arts and recurrent aerialist for Walk The Plank, for whom she has been suspended from multiple cranes in close proximity to various pyrotechnics.

Previous credits include Opera North; NoFit State Circus; STREB (NYC); PifPaf Theatre; Deviated Theatre (DC); and CircusMASH.

Notably, she has performed on the spokes of the London Eye with STREB as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival and, more recently, been suspended between the masts of a ship, in Malta, with Walk The Plank as part of Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture celebrations.


Creative Facilitator - Ben Duke

Déda is involved in a three year research programme which is exploring the relationship between dance and contemporary circus from the perspective of the artist, producer, student and audience. The programme will include activity in the following areas:

  • The physical commonality between Dance and Contemporary Circus
  • The fusion of the forms through creating work & productions
  • Shared narrative & characterisation
  • Understanding of audiences and art-form crossover

Over the course of the programme Déda looks to develop new works, commission artists and support the creation of a Research Paper that articulates our methodology and conclusions. The work is being supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the University Of Derby.

Previous Déda|Artists

Jorge Crecis