UCLanDance is a Centre for Excellence in Learning, Participation and Advocacy, developing programmes which are deeply rooted in and responsive to our communities in Lancashire, alongside national and international work.
We aim to inspire and empower whole communities, with access for all at the heart of our practice. We create opportunities for our students to work closely with industry professionals, undertake expert training and be part of exciting new collaborations in the sector. Students build key networks as well as important skills to succeed as dance artists and enrich our communities through their future work.
Three of the region’s most inspiring dance companies are bringing new opportunities to students and local communities in Lancashire, embedded into the heart of UCLanDance as our first ‘In Residence’ Companies.
We work with each Company to create bespoke collaborations that support their ambitions for development, alongside providing our students with invaluable industry links, skills development and employment opportunities.
In 2018–2019, students trained as translators for Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance, Assistants for Preston Youth Dance Companies, and Performers for About Time Dance Company.
About Time Dance Company are inspired by forgotten tales of northern life and involve local people in celebrating their shared histories through public performances.
‘We are excited to be In Residence at UCLanDance and to offer apprenticeship opportunities to students and alumni. We are thrilled to call UCLan our base and love dancing, creating and making in the fabulous studios.’
Jenny Reeves, Artistic Director, About Time Dance Company
Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance travel around the country delivering workshops and creating new performance work. Lisa’s creation and sharing of the Simpson Board, enables artists with little or no verbal communication to choreograph.
‘This partnership with UCLanDance has been a continuous support and development for Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance, the students, the university and myself as artistic lead. I can see that the wealth of knowledge and expertise within the Dance department and the university as a whole can initiate new collaborative projects. I’m keen to be responsive to new ideas as they arise and excited to discover what lies ahead.’
Lisa Simpson, Artistic Director, Lisa Simson Inclusive Dance
Preston Youth Dance Companies work with young dancers aged 7-19 to develop their dance technique and creative practice, producing high quality performance work.
‘It has been a really exciting first year as part of the In Residence programme, with the opportunity to really develop our strand of work delivered by UCLanDance students, giving them the opportunity to independently choreograph and present youth work on the regional stage.’
Sarah Hall, Co-Artistic Director, Preston Youth Dance Companies
"Having the opportunity to work with Preston Youth Dance Company has given me more confidence in facilitation, which I have been able to transfer to my primary and secondary school placements. It has also given me the opportunity to meet other groups in the area and attend events such as Big Up North and U.Dance."— Hazel Loftus, BA (Hons) Dance Performance & Teaching student
The Dance and Somatic Practice Research Group work independently and collaboratively to develop, deepen and disseminate their understanding of somatic, choreographic and pedagogical practices. These strands are closely interwoven within the teaching on the dance course at UCLan with its strong inquiry-based ethos. Undergraduate and Postgraduate staff are engaged in inter-disciplinary research inquiries working in collaboration with the Psycho-social Research Unit and colleagues in Social Work and Travel and Tourism. The social relevance of practice is prioritised in much of the research group’s work; from the community dance perspective, engagement, accessibility and opportunity are key; while for somatics, embodiment, self-efficacy and well-being are central concerns.
We recently held the Making Presence Felt Symposium, celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA). Through workshops, provocations and presentations, the symposium profiled practice and research inquiries being carried out by practitioners and graduates in the areas of health, wellbeing, Social-Prescribing, education, social care/other community contexts.
Connecting with our local communities is at the heart of UCLanDance, whether with schools and colleges, community groups, professional dance artists or public audiences. For our graduates to be ready to work with and enrich our local communities, we embed development of these relationships and skills within the work of UCLanDance.
Our most recent work includes the following:
- Choreography into performance seminar series: Led by an exciting mix of National and International Choreographers, including Kapow Dance Circus Theatre, TRIBE://, and Rachel Krische. Students and local Dance Artists explored different choreographic ideas and creative processes, challenging their own creative habits to develop their practice.
- Dance artists in education: Our students work with a variety of schools across the region to explore and develop their practice, working with young people from a variety of backgrounds in an educational context.
- Vanishing point: A community dance showcase celebrating performance work from local dance groups and companies, alongside the first performance piece of the year from our 1st Year BA Dance Performance and Teaching students.
- Embodying health series: Masterclasses developing practice in movement and health, led by UK based practitioners Miranda Tufnell & Cai Tomos, and Fred Sugerman from Canada.
- Project 190: Internationally renowned choreographer, Risa Jaroslow, was commissioned to create a performance which celebrated 190 years of UCLan’s history and the surrounding community. The cast featured UCLan student, staff and alumni, alongside members of local dance/arts organisations.
We also work in partnership with a variety of Dance Artists and organisations, creating a wealth of industry experience for our students. These partnerships include Ludus Dance, About Time Dance Company, Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance, Preston Youth Dance Companies, Dance Syndrome, LPM Dance Theatre, Dance United, AJ Dance Company, Curious Minds, M-Power Dance and Mel Brierley (Dance for Parkinson’s).
"Having International professional artists coming in to UCLanDance has given us the opportunity to explore more about ourselves as an artist because we’re getting a bigger insight into what’s out there. I believe I have gained a lot of skills in creating movement, developing as a performer and an artist and how I can put this into practice."— Abigail Corr, BA (Hons) Dance Performance & Teaching student
Collaborating with our In Residence Companies, local arts and cultural organisations and community groups, our recent performance opportunities have included:
- New work choreographed by our 3rd Year Undergraduate students was performed at Preston Train Station and Bus Station as well as The Harris Museum and Art Gallery.
- Our 1st Year BA Dance Performance and Teaching students collaborated with students from Burnley College to create a performance piece, which was the curtain raiser for National Dance Company of Wales at Blackpool Grand Theatre.
- We commissioned Rachel Krische to work with UCLanDance Company to create a new performance piece that was toured to schools, colleges and platforms across the region.
- We invite local community groups to showcase and celebrate their work alongside work created by our Undergraduate students at our annual platforms, In Motion and Vanishing Point.
"Meeting the next generation of makers is really inspiring; people we could potentially work with in the future. Seeing all of the skills and availability they had today was really insightful and exciting. We can take this back to the studio, inspired by the creativity that was brought into the room today."— Kapow Dance Theatre, Choreography into Performance Seminar Series