Dance City hosted its 2021 Soup on Thursday 25 March, the second of its kind. The event, like last year, was hosted as an online event following the restrictions on public gatherings due to the coronavirus.

Audience members joined online to hear from 11 artists pitching for 4 x £500 bursaries. Three of the bursaries have been awarded by a democratic audience vote and the fourth was agreed by a panel of industry experts. After viewing the pitches, which were all of an extremely high standard, a decision was made to award a fifth bursary of £500.


The SOUP audience wish to financially support the following artists and their projects with £500 each:

Toni Elwin

Toni is in the early stages of creating an inclusive dance film, hoping to become an immersive piece in the future. By creating a sensory experience for people who are blind as well as an insight for the sighted, she proposes the question, how we can change perceptions of this disability and specifically how we can challenge these stereotypes and restrictions.
During R&D she was able to create the first part of this project with her Dad, who is blind, in a short dance film. Although blindness has helped mould her father, by no means does it define him; the film provides and insight into his playful personality as well as vulnerability.
Toni envisages the next stage of this project plan to create a complimentary second film catered to those without sight, where visuals will not be relied upon alone; this will be done using soundscape, speech, and distorted visuals. She also intends to explore adding detailed poetic audio descript on to the first film. The vision is for both films to be accessible although experienced uniquely to the viewer.


Erin Hughes, Lily Dooks & Maria Giacchetto

Erin, Lily and Maria are looking to develop a piece surrounding the inner-conscious and subconscious workings of a woman’s mind, explored through a theatrical base of 1950’s working-class women in the home.
The basis of their idea formed following conversations about their existing individual solos created for the final performance module on the MA. Each work was performed in the home due to the pandemic. The themes explored separately had similarities and clear ways in which to link and develop. All three solos have different elements of performance: from scripted theatre, directed speech and choreographed dance, all of which they wish to explore further in our developed work, to offer a change in pace and dimension.

Ashling McCann

Ashling will be using the bursary to further explore the relationship of movement and sound, further developing her ideas relating to how movement is an integral part of noise and expanding upon the initial phase of her work. After preliminary research, she has created a board with contact microphones attached to it, linked to an amp. Using this board, every movement was amplified. Her bursary will assist her in developing the staging, creating a larger surface area for movement and investigate studio time to develop an accompanying soundscape.

The SOUP sector panel decided to financially support the following artists and their projects with £500:

Kate Stanforth

Kate runs a dance school in Longbenton which is fully inclusive, particularly supporting those with disabilities. People with disabilities have many barriers to accessing dance. This includes inaccessible studios, costs, and teachers who don’t have the correct knowledge or confidence to adapt to the person’s needs. Also, people with disabilities are even more isolated and exercising less because of lockdown.  It is said that a disabled person faces costs on average of an extra £583 per month. Currently, Kate has 16 people attending dance classes where they pay £20 a month for 4-5 sessions and tap is something they’d like to explore. Kate wishes to develop a ‘Beatz’ class involving disabled dancers learning to tap with their hands, instead of their feet. But, to do this, the dancers would all need the equipment. She intends to create tap gloves and boards which alongside tapping on the wheelchair would create a full tap experience.

Annesha Ong

Annesha is a hip-hop and contemporary dancer who wishes to develop her project ‘Roses of Reflection’ created as part of an Open Art Surgery project. She used a poem she’d written called ‘ Brown Beauties’ which celebrates black women’s culture and embraces their individuality, which all stemmed from her own personal experiences.  This project now is a work in progress, she is now looking to make mini pieces that all stimulate from her poems, thoughts, and personal journal. Annesha is hoping to use the bursary for studio time to develop my movement, and to get it filmed professionally, potentially with a musician


The artists who have not been awarded £500 bursaries will be offered a stipend for their pitch preparation and involvement in the event.

Our thanks to all the artists who pitched on Thursday evening and to our panel – Katie Hickham (Baltic), Pippa Fox (Northern Stage), Desi Cherrington (Arts Council England) Michaela Wate, Alex Anslow and Anand Bhatt, to Caroline Ryan, our BSL Interpreter and the wonderful hosts Phil Douglas and Kiz Crosbie.