Dance City is pleased to share that amidst the difficult circumstances we are all living through, six of our commissioned North East dance artists have been successful with their Arts Council England Project Grant applications. Some artists are taking this time while they cannot access studios to plan the future of their projects and some have paused them for the time being due to the restrictions of lockdown, all are in contact with and receiving support from Dance City’s artistic team. We look forward to showcasing their performances and works in development when it is once again safe to do so.  You can find out more about each of the successful artists below:
Alicia Meehan – What Saturn Returns
(deferred from 2019/2020 commission)
Alicia is a dance artist living and working in Newcastle. After completing her BA in Performance, she gained an MA in Creative Practise at Laban in 2013. Alicia is interested in creating work that is both observational and autobiographical. Her work is driven by a fascination towards the complexities of human behaviour and the surreal everyday stories and experiences we all live and share.
When Saturn Returns will be a colourful, personality-full and rigorous exploration into the physical & psychological impact that societal ideas and narratives have on women. The creative process will be an embodied investigation that will stem from the autobiographical; unpicking how we (performers Alicia aged 31 and Alys aged 30) have ingrained ideas surrounding gender, relationships, sexuality and measures of success and happiness. Read more
Ellen Hathaway – Arose
Ellen Hathaway Dance Company is an emerging contemporary dance company based in the North East. Their work advocates and advances the notion that dance steers social change, encourages cultural exchange and unites people. EHDC is committed to producing informative and inspiring community based projects and performances of high cultural significance.
The company is collaborating with Lebanese Creative Consultant Lucy Boulos to illustrate through dance a profound consequence of conflict; solidarity, unity and mutual support.  The work will reflect on Ellen’s experiences in Lebanon in 2018, Lucy’s participation in a current national revolution, and the North East’s local refugee community. Read more.
Patricia Suarez  – La Llorona
Patricia Suarez is a movement director based in Teesside. Her movement work is inspired through combining storytelling, social dance technique and physical theatre. Patricia is a Movement Lecturer on BA(Hons) Musical Theatre at Leeds College of Music and an Associate Artist of Both Barrels Theatre.
La Llorona is a choreographic exploration of femininity, internalised emotion, and cycles of joy and violence through the juxtaposition of a Colombian oral tale of a woman who is abandoned and in her grief drowns her child and contrasted with lived experience as an Anglo-Colombian woman. Read more.
Jennifer Essex/ Fully Booked Theatre – How Long is a piece of string?
Jennifer Essex is Artistic Director of Fully Booked Theatre. She works to offer a unique experience to families: building conversations with audiences, encouraging creativity, play and collaboration.  Her previous work has been supported by Arts Council England, Canada Council for the Arts, Middlesbrough Council, and Stockton International Riverside Festival, among others.
Two creatures.  Both covered from the tops of their heads to just past their toes in long floppy, heavy “hair”. A new work for children 3+ and their grown-ups, How long is a piece of string? will use dance, acrobatics, slap-stick, interactive technology, and sound to tell a silly tale of two fairly funny creatures. Read more.
Mathieu Geffre – What Songs May Do
(2019/2020 commission)
After training with the prestigious Paris Conservatoire, Mathieu Geffré has spent the last 12 years performing throughout the UK and Europe with companies such as National Dance Company Wales and working with leading choreographers including Itzik Galili and Didi Veldman among others. Since choreographing his first piece in 2012, leading to a commission with National Dance Company Wales, Matthieu’s work has been programmed internationally in a number of platforms.
Created on the song Feelings performed by Nina Simone at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Music Festival, What songs may do tells the story of a couple expressing the emotional effect of the song on their relationship. Staged as if the two dancers were attending Nina Simone’s concert, we look at what happens when we challenge the tradition of our seat for the freedom to respond as emotional beings. In this duet, the two dancers remodel the performing space into their theatre seat. Read more.
Michael Heatley/ Hit The Ground Running Dance Theatre Company – Suitcases  
(2019/2020 commission)
Michael Heatley is a Choreographer and Dance Facilitator based in the North East with over 15 years of teaching experience and is founder and Creative Director of Hit The Ground Running Dance Theatre Company.
In an attic at the Willard Asylum, New York, 427 suitcases belonging to Willard patients were found… The suitcases. Beautifully preserved epitaphs to a few of those who lived and died at the Asylum and a poignant remembrance of the lives they left outside. Hit The Ground Running Dance Theatre Company are producing a piece of dance theatre which explores the stories behind the Willard Suitcases, examining the treatment of mental health and its devastating effects on the lives it touches. Read more. 
Both Suitcases and What Songs May Do had been programmed to premiere at Dance City this Spring before being postponed due to lockdown restrictions. We look forward to welcoming these promising performances into our stage at later dates when it is once again safe to do so.
You can read more about Dance City’s provision for professional artists in the North East here.

Lead Image by Luke Waddington.