Déda Associate Artists Programme

January 2017 – December 2017

Déda supports the development of Artists at a regional & national level, all of which are at varying career levels. All of the artists supported through Déda’s programmes share the organisation's aspirations and goals to deliver high quality circus, dance & outdoor arts that connect with a diverse audience.

To continue to support artists & build long-term relationships, our programmes have varying levels of support & time-scales. This gives Déda the chance to engage in a more in-depth relationship with artists & audience, whilst offering artists opportunities to test ideas & practices over longer time periods. The programme also enables artists to explore business models which lead to increased sustainability.




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.


Regional - Fran Widdowson
Generator 1 - Humanhood
Generator 2 - Nikki & JD

Generator is a Talent Development programme for emerging Circus/Movement based artists following on from previous initiatives such as our Artist Development programme and Lab:time².

The programme will, over a period of three years, look to offer more in-depth opportunities for emerging artists and offer a longer period of support to allow them to develop a well articulate creative practice and sustainable business model.

Déda Associate Artists 2017

benduke.jpgBen 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. 

In 2016, their piece ‘Zero’ has been awarded 1st Prize at Madrid Choreographic Competition. The company has performed its works around Europe and Asia and has now been commissioned by DanceXchange to produce it’s first group piece ‘Torus’ to be premiered in Spring 2019 at Patrick Centre, Birmingham. Rudi & Julia are founders of HumanhoodPractice, a movement practice that includes a surround sound sonic journey developed with international musicians and core collaborator Iain Armstrong. 

Rudi & Julia (Humanhood) are also Associate Artists at DanceXchange, in Birmingham. 


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.

For more information about Déda's Associate Artists Programme, please contact:

Phill Hargreaves Creative Producer

Tel: 07702 755705