Liverpool’s dance sector has a spring in its step after 15 brand new dance commissions have been awarded vital funding.

More than 40 artists from across Liverpool have submitted applications to receive a Culture Liverpool Dance Creative Commission grant, allowing them to create a brand new piece of work – many of which will be performed at the Leap Dance Festival, which returns next month for the first time since the pandemic.

Following a judging process, the new commissions were selected and received funding ranging from £400 to £2,500 in order to make the creativity of Liverpool’s dance professionals and artists a reality.

Some of the new dance pieces are:

  • Finding Refuge – this dance and spoken word piece tells the story of people who have resettled in Liverpool, after arriving as asylum seekers from Iran, Namibia, Syria and Ukraine. Clementine Arts will work alongside performance poet Amina Atiq.
  • Banshees! – movement director and choreographer Grace Goulding will bring together five artists to explore what it is to collide the wild and powerful feminine energy of the banshee with Liverpool’s protest and anarchic community heart.
  • Seagull Lake – a light-hearted and comic take on Swan Lake, drawing on elements of ballet, contemporary dance, folk dance, physical theatre and everything in between. And even expect an appearance by Liverpool’s iconic purple wheelie bins!
  • Movement Megaphone – working with Random Acts of Wildness Disability, neuro-diverse artist Patrick Bannon will create a new film to explore how dance gives him a voice.
  • Dockside Breakers – a celebration of hip hop and breakdancing culture to our streets.
  • The Joy of Swing – a collection of interactive swing workshops will celebrate the dance style and the jazz diaspora.

There is also a yet-to-be-named project from House of Suarez which celebrates the Queer vogue culture and its origins through dance and costume, and another so far untitled commission, by critically acclaimed performance artist Rowena Gander who will explore lesbian identity, relationships and experiences.

Details of all the successful commissions can be found on the Culture Liverpool website.

Dates for all of the dance shows will be unveiled by Leap Festival organisers in the coming weeks.

The funding has been made possible thanks to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and its partnership with Liverpool City Council.

Leap Dance Festival takes place from 26 April to 10 May with a packed programme of professional dance, dancing in the streets and youth and community performance platforms. For more information visit the official website.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Culture, Councillor Harry Doyle, said:

“The response to our funding call-out was overwhelming, and is indicative of how important the dance sector is when it comes to our identity and creativity.

“The high-quality submissions made the judging process challenging, but we’re incredibly proud of the final list which is diverse and will undoubtedly result in a rich, thought-provoking, fun, entertaining and educational showcase.

“The hard work now begins for all those organisations and artists lucky enough to receive funding and  we can’t wait to see the final products when they form part of Leap Dance Festival.”

Bea Bholah from Clementine Arts, said:

“Being awarded this grant has enabled us to work with children and local artists on a piece that brings together people from different cultural backgrounds, celebrating their heritage and life stories through dance and joyful creativity.

“Finding Refuge aims to foster empathy and understanding for the challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers, emphasizing the importance of recognising everyone as a valuable part of our community.”

Paul Doyle , Director Leap Dance Festival, said:  

“We are delighted that Culture Liverpool has been able to support artists in the city creating work towards Leap. This is a massive boost to the dance sector in the region. We can’t wait to see the finished works.”

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