The Dance City and Gillian Dickinson Trust Residency/Commission is a three-year programme during which six artists or companies, two each year, will embed their practice within the thriving dance community in the North East of England. During each residency period, the commissioned artists will not only take advantage of Dance City’s studios and theatre to develop new ideas and present new works, but also engage with Dance City’s communities, including professionals, students, audiences and participants across the region.

Today we are happy to announce the panel who will be shortlisting the applications and the the panel who are interviewing.


Anand Bhatt, Artistic Director, Shantel Ehrenberg, HE Programme Leader and Alex Anslow, Producer will shortlist all Gillian Dickinson Trust Residency/Commission applications.

Anand Bhatt, Artistic Director
Anand Bhatt is a dance enthusiast and producer from Leicester . With an interest in all things Michael Jackson and Bollywood, he stumbled upon contemporary dance in 2007 when he was dancing in a Kathak show along with dancer Aakash Odedra. As Aakash and Anand found their creative talks and dreams aligned, the clearer it also became the Anand was not in fact a dancer. He started to help out Aakash with his shows, and ended up as his producer. Their first project ‘Rising’ featured commissions by Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant. Anand toured into the UK the works of artist’s including Lali Ayguade, Marcos Morau and Aditi Mangaldas; and worked with Aakash on projects collaborating with Damien Jalet (Inked), Ars Electronica Futurelab & Lewis Major (Murmur) and Shubha Mudgal (Echoes). 

Anand’s vision is to work with dance as a language without words to build better understanding amongst communities and share culture across the world. Commercially Anand ran a studio space in Leicester, and his resident Bollywood dance school Desi Masti was a force for South Asian dance in the Midlands. In 2014, Anand closed Desi Masti (as Aakash’s work was getting too busy) and partnered with– ‘Shiamak’ the world leader in Bollywood Dance. Anand was artistic director of MJ Timeless, a summer residency show at Blackpool ‘s Globe Theatre which featured an international award winning cast and the show was ravely reviewed.  

At Dance City Anand became Artistic Director and Chief Executive in 2020. Anand hopes to be a servant of dance to the communities in the region. Twitter: @Bhattatweet 

Alex Anslow (2)

Alex Anslow, Producer
Alex is a Creative Producer, Programmer and Events Manager working in the Cultural Sector. Having worked as Executive Assistant and Programme Coordinator at Dance City since 2010, Alex was appointed Producer for Dance City in 2021 and is committed to supporting dance artists, developing opportunities for artists to realise their ambition and potential, programming dance that inspires people to consider the world in new ways. In her role are Dance City Alex specifically advocates, supports and champions Dance and Dance Artists working and living in the North East of England. 

Alongside working at Dance City Alex is the Creative Producer for dance theatre company Society of Strays and works as a freelance Event Manager at arts festivals across the region including Festival of Thrift and Lumiere Durham. Alex graduated from York University with a BA Hons in History of Art and is a Postgraduate of Northumbria University with a Masters in Cultural Event and Conference Management.

Shantel Ehrenberg, HE Programme Leader
Dr Shantel Ehrenberg is a researcher, artist, and academic. She has held positions in dance programmes across the UK and USA, before coming to Dance City, most notably the University of Surrey, Trinity Laban, Bath Spa University, and University of California, Irvine. Shantel’s choreography, performance, research and teaching cross practice and theory and span site-specific, studio, stage, written, and digital contexts. She is the author of Kinaesthesia and Visual Self-Reflection in Contemporary Dance (2021) and her research can also be found in journals such as Choreographic Practices, Research in Dance Education, and Dance Research Journal. 

The interview panel will then expand to have representatives from the Dance City Higher Education, Centre for Advanced Training and Artistic Teams, a second year Degree student and a professional artist external to the organisation.


Anand Bhatt and Shantel Ehrenberg will be joined during the interviews by Laura Connolly, CAT Manager, Tara Watson, Second Year Degree Student and Karl Jay-Lewin, Creative Director of Dance North.

Anand Bhatt, Artistic Director

Shantel Ehrenberg, HE Programme Leader 

Laura Connolly, CAT Manager Mat Cover 
Laura is a keen dancer, specialising in English clog dance (former championship competition winner). A graduate of B.Mus. Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle University (Major in Foot percussion); longstanding member of Breaking Tradition – the UK’s original folk and hip-hop dance show; star of BBC4’s Come Clog Dancing documentary, clog dance tutor at Newcastle University’s Folk and Traditional music degree and owner of preschool music business, Little & Loud. 

Laura has been working in arts education since graduating in 2005, working with the Early Years and Family Learning team at Sage Gateshead, as Music and Dance Officer at Beamish Museum and Dance Development Manager at the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Laura has just started a new role as Dance City Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) Manager where she looks forward to bringing together her skills in the arts and education with her lifelong passion for dance. 

Tara Watson, Second Year Degree Student
Tara has just completed her first year of her BA Hons in Professional Dance at Dance City. Tara has thoroughly enjoyed participating in workshops with the guest choreographers for Residency Week which became part of her end of year show. She is keen to learn as many different styles of dance from as many different choreographers and is looking forward to her second year with Dance City and the challenges ahead.

Karl Jay-Lewin, Creative Director of Dance North

The deadline for applications is the 3rd July, the shortlisting meeting taking place on the 6th July and interviews due to take place on the 14 July, in person at Dance City or online.