The hunt is on for ten talented dancers with a learning disability, autism or both, to come together to form a unique new dance company.
TIN Arts, a leading inclusive dance organisation based in Durham City, in partnership with Yorkshire Dance, the Leeds-based dance development organisation, are launching a two-year programme called the Talent Hub on Thursday 1 March.
The project is supported by Inclusion North, an organisation dedicated to making inclusion real for all people with a learning disability and their families.
For two months, the Talent Hub will be accepting applications from dancers living in Yorkshire and the North East of England who’d like to “Join George”.
“George” is George Williams, from Thornaby in Stockton-on-Tees, who has worked with TIN Arts for several years. George was the first dancer with a severe learning disability to perform with the National Youth Dance Company and he has been appointed as the first member of the Talent Hub.
With funding from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence Fund and from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Talent Hub aims to provide a step change for the sector, enabling dancers with a learning disability, autism or both to progress professionally into dance companies or emerge as independent dance makers.
Dancers who would like to be considered for the Talent Hub are invited to submit a video of themselves dancing at yorkshiredance.com/talent-hub/ and to fill out an application form. Applications close on Friday 27 April.
Successful applicants will be invited to take part in one of two dance workshops in May, after which a final selection day will take place in June to pick the final ten members of the Talent Hub.
Over the two years, they will work together with leading choreographers to create new dance work which will be toured nationwide in 2020.
They will also receive individualised ‘wrap-around’ support where they live, alongside intensive periods of training together as a company.
Martin Wilson, Executive Director and co-founder of TIN Arts, says, “We are really excited to be launching the Talent Hub and look forward to finding new talented dancers who wish to forge a career in dance. For us the idea of the Talent Hub has been a long-held ambition so to finally be at the stage of being able to tell everyone about it is a dream come true for us. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any dancer with a learning disability, autism or both so I’d encourage everyone to apply!
Hannah Robertshaw, Programmes Director of Yorkshire Dance, adds, “The Talent Hub will provide a fantastic opportunity to nurture a new generation of dancers and dance makers. It will provide a step-change in how we support and develop dancers with a learning disability or autism that goes far beyond the current offer. We’re delighted to be working in partnership with TIN Arts on something so ground-breaking.”
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England, says “The Arts Council is passionate about ensuring that everyone can have the opportunity to take part in arts and culture and we’ve been working for some time with artists and organisations to develop the sector and its ability to embrace diversity in all forms. So I’m delighted that we have supported TIN Arts and Yorkshire Dance’s plans for a new company for dancers with a learning disability and/or autism though our National Lottery funded Ambition for Excellence Fund programme. I look forward to seeing how both the project and the dancers progress over the next few years.”
The full line-up of ten dancers forming the Talent Hub will be announced in August 2018.