me, we, it - Jamaal Burkmar [Anna reviews]

I am lately quite obsessed with my body. Wait, let me rephrase this...if I am my body and my body is me I should therefore say that I am lately quite obsessed with me. That’s more accurate. It may not be big news for some, but me, I have recently become aware that most humans live in permanent body-mind dissociation, unaware that those two elements could not exist separately. It being a simple fact, its implications have become a complete ‘head fuck’ of mine. Muscles, bones, organs, fluids, gases, thoughts, emotions... all that I am and so are you.

If this wasn’t enough, this week’s guest teacher Jamaal Burkmar has added an extra layer of existential drama into my dilemma. His session begins with an exhaustive exploration of densities within the body. Through improvisation Jamaal guides us in and out of textures, viscosities and grades of solidity. Using terms such as honey or fresh cement he triggers our brains into searching for those qualities in our system; I can’t escape from relating to the consistency of glands, bones and tissues. The class then moves into crossings where Jamaal encourages us to challenge velocity when changing from one quality to another. We spend enough time to break through stress and soften into speed.

The last section of the session brings in the universe, the immaculate synchrony of the solar system. We work as an ensemble refining the forces of attraction and gravity between us. We listen, we connect and we respond moving as one body, as one mind. Maybe we are me, maybe me is them or maybe we are just all one big it.


By Anna Cabré-Verdiell


You can still catch Jamaal’s class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.00 to 10.30 at NSCD.



ProDanceLeeds and Möbius Dance Co-present Class

Photo: Danilo Moroni

Photo: Danilo Moroni

ProDanceLeeds and Möbius Dance are excited to co-present morning class over the coming few weeks. Whilst in residence, Möbius will open up two weeks of morning class as part of ProDance’ regular programme:

w/c 11 Feb - Jamaal Burkmar
w/c 18 Feb - Gianluca Vincentini

Möbius will also be opening classes w/c 11 March at Yorkshire Dance when ProDance are on a Spring Break.

Note that these classes will run a little bit earlier than ProDance regular classes: 9am - 10.15am.

Möbius’s residency will result in an explosive, passionate and highly physical performance featuring two robust contemporary dance works choreographed by celebrated artists Jamaal Burkmar and Douglas Thorpe, and a new short-film directed by Gianluca Vincentini.

Lovers of both dance and music will be enthralled by Burkmar’s Time Moves Slow, an incredibly passionate, fast-paced and dynamic work. A long serving ex-Phoenix dancer and Leeds-based artist, Thorpe creates a powerful, theatrical and compelling piece for the company formed of 4 international dance artists based in the North of England. Vincentini’s new film Encounter Two explores what it means to be a man in today’s society, and why men are still discouraged from showing emotions.

Kala Sangam, Bradford - Thursday 21 March 2019, 7.30pm
Civic, Barnsley - Saturday 6 April 2019

Do you have a residency or project that includes morning class? If so, ProDance may be able to support it! Get in touch with us on programming [at] - we’d love to hear from you!

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia

Feeding connections - Eugenia Demeglio [Anna reviews]

Triggered by my last review, I must admit a new guilty pleasure. Some wear crocs shoes secretly; others get orange fake tans and claim it’s their natural skin tone; well, I currently read through the Collins dictionary for my delight. Today I haven’t woken up at an indecent time to seek definitions; instead, today I have studied the sacred book of vocables at midday, after attending ProDance class. As this week sessions are dedicated to Countertechnique, the prey of my search keeping my brow furrowed was the term ‘counter’. As I scroll my eyes down through its synonyms (opposite, respond, react...) I’m left wondering, craving to find connections.

Walking into the studio I bump into Eugenia Demeglio, a red headed woman whom I recognise as the Countertechnique master. Her daring energy gets us quickly moving through the space. She talks us through the body parts which precipitate the travelling forwards and backwards. Soon we get working on a series of exercises where the purpose of Countertechnique gets increasingly clearer; although the patterns resemble conventional dance routines, the approach is the antipode of the harsh dogmatism that one would relate with traditional dance practices. Imagine her majesty the queen rioting against monarchy and you’ll get a good depiction of what I mean; the shape is familiar but its behaviour is revolutionary.

The class moves on and Eugenia guides us into more intricate routines. We cross the space floating side to side and it gradually becomes obvious that Countertechnique uses body opposition as a principle to facilitate the moving body, the dancing body. Eureka! I’ve found a connection!
Fed yet not satiated I will surely go back tomorrow, as each day bring a new chance for uncovering hidden connections.

By Anna Cabré-Verdiell


You can still catch Eugenia’s class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.30 to 11.00 at RJC Dance.

How can we help?

Tomislav English2.jpg

Do you have a creative project or company? Do you sometimes run classes in the area? Please let us know! Why? So we can collaborate!

We need your help though. We’ve been incredibly busy lately with sister project Gracefool Collective, meaning we’ve had less time to catch up in class and hear about who’s around, creating work and, in this case most importantly, opening out their classes. As we’re still a relatively small community, we can’t afford to compete for participants. If you’re planning on running classes in the region, there are two ways in which we can help:

  • We can programme you! It means paying you a full teacher fee, which with enough time in advance can go towards an ACE application. Whoop! In return we would use your studio space for the classes. You would also be expected to pay for any dancers you bring.

This route is not always an option, as our programming choices depends on lots of different factors to serve the programme as a whole. When we can’t programme you, we can still:

  • Have a ProDance break in the week of your residency. Then you can open out and charge for your classes without competing with us for participants. We would also re-direct people to your classes from our website and social media.

Our capacity for research is at this point limited, so do give us a shout and let’s help each other out! It may be helpful to know that we programme quite far in advance, typically 3-6 months, so get in touch even if plans aren’t set in stone yet. It is also helpful for us when you include us in your Arts Council applications - as that evidences to the Arts Council that we are here and needed.

If you don’t have a project, but still want to influence our programme - you can. Please let us know who you would like to invite,  give us recommendations of good classes you have taken and teachers you are interested in.

Kate, Sofia, Rebecca and Rachel

ga·ga - Natalia Iwaniec [Anna reviews]

Following my boyfriend’s promise, I woke up at 6.15am this morning hoping to see a ‘once in a lifetime’ blood moon waving at me. Well, the red moon did not turn up to the appointment; I was stood up, sleepless and far too early for class, so I had a matinee wonder through the mysteries of linguistics. I grabbed a dictionary and, in an etymological attempt to prepare for Natalia Iwaniec’s arrival, I looked for the word ‘gaga’. Under such term the dictionary offers three definitions to the reader, which I found rather informative of the gaga movement language:

ga·ga/gaga adj. wildly enthusiastic
For those who know Miss Iwaniec and for those who are still to meet her, she is genuinely an enthusiastic teacher. Gaga sessions work under the structure of a guided improvisation, which demands from the provider to be spirited and attentive to the room’s vibe. Natalia conducts the session with the use of an eloquent multifaceted repertoire of phrases which feed the dancers imagination.

ga·ga/gaga adj. madly in love; infatuated
It’s when infatuated that we break rules, jump forbidden walls and go against the conventions. Gaga is a venture to help dancers search beyond what they perceive as familiar, to take risks and discover new movement horizons. ‘Disconnect the ambition and tune into your passion to move’, Natalia shouts as her love hymns push our quest.

ga·ga/gaga adj. demented; crazy; dotty
As the session goes along, the dynamics, textures, images and feelings that have been explored separately melt into one big collage of movement. Gaga works with the multilayer of tasks as part of the discovery process, which results in a crazy dance where a bunch of people are dancing together alone. One could think that we are not sane if it wasn’t for Natalia’s voice making sense of that beautiful chaos.


By Anna Cabré-Verdiell


You can still catch Natalia’s class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9.30 to 11.00 at RJC Dance.

no CAN’T do - Azzurra Ardovini [Anna reviews]


On my way to the studio this morning, I was feeling cheerful; I was excited to meet Azurra Ardovini as I hadn’t seen her for quite a while. I expected her to be her joyfully Italian self, as always; and so, she was. I expected her buzzing energy and her generous smile to welcome me to the studio; and so, it happened. I expected her to hug me warmly; and so, she did. What I did not expect was to find out that she is expecting!! She will soon renew her motherly vows while being a testament that motherhood and dance is a possible match!

With this wonderful news and the vigorous sun illuminating the studio, we were guided into some sun salutations, which set off the beginning of the session. Azzurra’s class follows a traditional and reliable structure and combines elements of the Release and Limon techniques. Her material helps us get back to the fundamentals of a plié or a twist while challenging the participants to deal with a fusion between explosion and dynamism. As the class moves on, the rhythm of the combinations accelerates. At the same time, the sequences increasingly melt in an out of the floor. Pointing at her belly and shouting ‘if I can do it, you can do it!’, Azzurra stimulates the dancers to push their boundaries; definitely, seeing her moving, one wonders if there’s such thing as limits. She is detailed in her corrections and explanations, which she delivers with that tone typical of a supportive mum.

This class is a progressive work-out, ideal to awaken the body from head to toes. You can still catch Azzurra Ardovini’s class on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9.30 in The Dance Studio Leeds.

By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

The wonderful Friends Card


Hello ProDancers!

I hope you enjoyed our first week of classes with Martina Bussi last week? We certainly did!

We wanted to do a little shout out to you all here at the beginning of the year to remind you that you can be a Friend of ProDanceLeeds by buying one of our Friends Cards!

The Friends Card is super useful if you are a regular to the classes. It costs £30 for 10 classes, meaning a total saving of £10 - bargain! To top that up, it also includes some perks that we have gobbled together with our partners to treat you all:

At Yoga Hero you only pay £5 for morning and lunchtime classes instead of £6.

Yorkshire Dance offers discounted rate on certain performances.

And at The Dance Studio Leeds Friends of ProDance get 10% discount on studio hire. You also get 10% discount on advanced series classes using a discount code. Ask for the code when you buy your card!

Remember that the easiest way to pay is to bring cash, as we don’t take cards. From this term, it will also be possible to do a bank transfer if you can do it before class and show that the payment has gone through on your smartphone. Our bank details are:

Lloyds Bank
Sort code: 30-98-93
Account number: 60414068

See you in class!

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia

Spring Programme Launched

Happy New Year Leeds!

A whole term has gone by already and we have had a selection of amazing teachers and equally amazing participants. Thank you so much for continuing to support this project by keeping on coming to class! We have, of course, booked in a fantastic line-up of teachers for the coming months and it’s about time that we launch… drum roll… ProDanceLeeds Spring Programme!

Martina Bussi

Martina Bussi

This term will see us welcoming 4 new exciting teachers with Motionhouse dancer Martina Bussi kicking off the New Year on the 7th of January. Alesandra Seutin/Vocab Dance is another new face - we’re thrilled to experience her distinctive hybrid movement language, focusing on musicality and fluidity of the limbs and spine. Sandrine Monine is new to ProDance but not to Leeds - having danced with Phoenix in the past - which makes us extra happy to have her on board the ProDance train. And finally, Heidi Weiss will be coming all the way from Berlin to teach a class based on her *weissman technique at the end of March.

Alleyne Dance. Photo: Kooneìpics

Alleyne Dance. Photo: Kooneìpics

Then there are three firm favourites coming back to Leeds, all bound to draw in a good crowd. We know how much you like Gaga, so Natalia Iwaniec will be here already in the third week of January. The week after, Eugenia Demeglio is back to teach Countertechnique on popular demand - that’s a January treat for you. And later on in April, Alleyne Dance bring back their eclectic and stamina building class. Having worked with both Akram Khan and Ultima Vez, they teach a special fusion of styles which always makes us push our limits and sweat buckets.

Azzurra Ardovini

Azzurra Ardovini

It’s exciting also to realise how many great teachers we have just around the corner. Azzurra Ardovini’s track record includes Phoenix Dance Theatre, VDT and Luca Silvestrini. She was also incredibly supportive in our early ProDance days by brokering contact with many of our best teachers. We feel lucky to have caught Vanessa Grasse for a week of teaching, as she seems to be everywhere at the moment: running Leeds Contact Improvisation Leeds, whilst touring her new work MESH and teaching at conservatories and universities. And favourite Jennifer-Lynn Crawford will be back this term too, filling up the studio as per usual.

Jennifer-Lynn will also be a mentor in one of the two Graduate Artist weeks we have on this term, offering teaching opportunities to recent graduates. The call-out will go up in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out if you would like to teach for us this Spring! The first Graduate Artist week is now programmed and we’re super excited to invite Samuel Burkett and Matilde Torres Laborde to teach two days each in February with mentoring by Gianluca Vincentini.

We will also continue our collaboration with Mobius this term, by programming Gianluca Vincentini and Jamaal Burkmar to teach a week each when Mobius is working in residence.

As you can see, this Spring is jam packed with exciting teachers and we’re super excited to get started. See you in class!

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia

Thursday Class Covered by Vanessa Grasse

Hi all, a slight change in schedule means that tomorrow’s class, Thursday the 22st of November, will be covered by Vanessa Grasse. Read more below:


This dynamic class will begin with guided explorations and suggested movement pathways that will support us to explore: center to periphery and periphery to center; nurturing our capacity to guide our inner flows of energy; the under-curves and over-curves of our swinging and spiralling movement; multidirectionality; listening to our fluid weight. As we access our full dancing body we'll be encouraged to remain curious and attentive to our individual discoveries. We will also nurture our playful and relational selves by relating and responding to others around us, and through some contact explorations. Vanessa's classes nurture a curiosity about how the body transforms as a result of imagination, active shifts of perception, attentional dynamics and a clear relational engagement with the environment and others. Whilst finding clarity and playfulness in our awareness of the physiology and physics in motion.

Vanessa is a dance artist from Sicily, based in Leeds. She explores the crossover between choreography, walking-art and installation through site-specific, improvisation, participatory and cross-disciplinary practice. Her work has been commissioned amongst others by The Great Exhibition of The North, Dance4, Yorkshire Dance, Still Walking Festival, The University of Leeds, Ludus festival, Juncture festival. She has been an artist in residency in several visual arts settings such as Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Hepworth Wakefield , MoMa Oxford, 4Bid gallery in Amsterdam. Her recent touring work MESH is a participatory choreography for public spaces in response to a divisive global political climate, inviting audiences and passers-by to join public rituals of togetherness. She holds an MA in Creative Practice from Laban and Independent Dance in London. She teaches regularly at Universities as guest and part-time lecturer, including Leeds Beckett University, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Trinity Laban. She teaches Contact Improvisation across Europe and runs Leeds Contact Improvisation.

A belated welcome back


Well hello again dancers of Leeds. For a while now we have wanted to welcome you all back to an exciting term of new classes, but due to a busy Gracefool autumn (for those of you that don’t know, the ProDance team’s creative alter ego is Gracefool Collective) we have had a somewhat slow start at ProDance HQ. As things are calming down now, we thought it’s about time that we say hello and introduce the project properly!

So - hello to all of you who are new to ProDance and welcome back all you regulars! We’re so excited you are all around in Leeds! We’re absolutely delighted to be able to say that we’ve been awarded funding to start up ProDanceLeeds again, and since the start of the programme in September we have already had ten absolutely fantastic teachers lead physical, challenging classes for professional dancers.

The programme of inspiring teachers over the next few months contains many familiar favourites of the community, so we look forward to welcoming you all back to class to get sweaty with us!

Tomislav English1.jpg

There are a few changes this year to take note of:

Most of our classes will now start at 9.30am to allow time for you to travel into Leeds. We understand that public transport can be a nightmare! Please double check times e.t.c. before you come along as a few will still start at 9am.

Our classes will run Monday-Thursday. Fridays can be spent with the excellent Dance Open Training.

And finally, we have started a Graduate Mentoring Scheme. The scheme will be an opportunity for recent graduates and emerging artists interested in developing their teaching skills to be paid to teach two days of professional level class for us. They will receive guidance and mentoring support from highly experienced teaching professionals in the field: Tiia Ourila, Gianluca Vincentini and Jennifer-Lynn Crawford. We have already finished the first round of four, with Katy Hewison and Stefania Pinato sharing their practice with us. The next round for applications will open shortly so keep an eye out! We are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to help develop the practice of northern based artists and find new teachers for the programme.

Next week Marilena Dara will be teaching class, Monday to Thursday, 9.30am at RJC Dance. More info about her and her class can be found on our website.

See you soon!

Kate, Sofia, Rachel and Rebecca

Oh Wow, Here Comes João! - João Maio [Anna reviews]

Joao Maio enters the studio blessing the sun for being out and shining today, ‘I must play my Brazilian playlist’- he says as the sunlight brings his Latin character out. Originally from Porto, in north Portugal, Joao moved to Leeds six years ago to complete both a degree and masters at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. A strong member of the local dance community, Joao is also currently touring MK Ultra, the latest piece of Rosie Kay Dance Company.

His class starts in the floor, nice and easy, to help the body wake up into smoothness. Then he introduces a pattern which keeps evolving through every crossing of the space. Once we are warm and half way through the session, Joao lets the word ‘cardio’ slip out of his lips. I can smell the panic in the room as my survival instinct is begging for me to run out and save myself. Anticipating people´s reaction to the feared word, Joao plays the element of togetherness strategically, singing loudly the benefits of the everlasting ‘Together we’re stronger’ hymn. Ten minutes later, all covered in sweet sweat, the looks of panic have transformed into looks of pride.
We then jump into a conventional plié exercise which works in the side body whilst allowing us to get our breath back.

Bringing the session to its end, we work on a sequence which challenges the sense of rhythm as it blends together two different time signatures. The material is also a fusion, orbiting between animal inspired moves and a sort of west end resembling style.

Joao Maio hosts a well balanced class which mixes fitness and technique. A fantastic kick off to start the day with energy and with a smile, always with a smile!

                                By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

-You can still catch his class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at RJC Dance from 9.30 to 11.00-

Be Geeky My Friend - Jennifer-Lynn Crawford [Anna Reviews]

I remember the first class I had with Jennifer-Lynn.
For many years, I had been forcing my legs to turn out like there was no tomorrow; I had been squeezing my belly in, so it would eventually stop popping out when breathing; I had been dancing without the usage of the brain. For many years, I was a devoted parishioner of a dance religion which indoctrinates into ideas such as discipline, pain or dogmatic thinking. For far too many years, I pushed the body into inhumane shapes and then asked for it to move gracefully. Then, I met Jennifer-Lynn.

Jennifer-Lynn arrives with books and papers under her arm and asks us to gather. She passes the material around while sharing a couple of ideas to stimulate the brain-body cooperation. Today’s specific suggestions turn around the axis and the lateral body. After a brief introduction, we have time to relate the information within ourselves. We then move to one side of the studio to engage in a series of travelling patterns where everything is at a play. A woman of science, her teaching encourages us to find connections, to wonder, to question, to research in our body and through our mind. Always escaping statements, Jennifer-Lynn offers subtle clues to help understanding the body and its interconnections.

I remember the first class I had with Jennifer-Lynn.
I was rolling in the floor, feeling hopeless as my dogmatic world was getting destroyed by a woman making sense of things. Suddenly I notice a shadow over me: ‘Is everything ok Anna?’-She asked- ‘Jennifer-Lynn, I am very confused...’-I said craving for a healing answer- ‘Good. Confusion is a great place to be’-she said walking away.

A ‘must go’ class for those ready to let go of certainties and willing to enter the vast and unknown world of the intelligent dancing body.

                                By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

-You can still catch her class Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at RJC Dance from 9.30 to 11.00-

Casual Summer - Gianluca Vincentini [Anna Reviews]

Dear dancers,

Something is changing, can you smell it? Orange, yellow, brown... Little by little the wind is blowing off the green of the trees and redecorating the streets with the classic tones of the easting season. It is time to say goodbye to those naked sandals and pull hats and scarves out of the shadows. Because, inevitably, autumn is making its way in!
However, having said that, there is a room in the area where summer is kept alive all year long. Yes! My dearest heat-aholics, there’s a place where bare feet and sticky sweat are always welcome. Of course I am talking about the weekly professional dance sessions of ProDanceLeeds!

This week, the guest teacher facilitating the sessions is Gianluca Vincentini. Originally from Puglia in south Italy, Gianluca knows how to keep the temperature up. His class starts gentle, taking time to awaken the body through subtle mobilizations. Then we work on the floor, looping a couple of sequences which play with speed, dynamism and directions.
Adding an extra layer, Gianluca brings in his current research on the boundaries between formal and casual movement. Making our way to standing, he encourages us to explore that duality with a few exercises based, as a matter of fact, in formal dance patterns. While being able to relate to the formal tradition of a plié or a tendu exercise, Gianluca’s material juxtaposes spatial and level changes, somehow integrating the nature of casual decision making. With mainly commercial pop tracks feeling the room, also the musical selection seems to be there to challenge formality.
The class finishes with a cool down which leaves us ready to exit summer and enter autumn again. No matter how grey and windy is out there, the heat from Gianluca’s class will keep us warm until tomorrow.

                                By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

-You can still catch his class Tuesday and Thursday at NSCD, and Wednesday at RJC Dance from 9.30 to 11.00-

Flavour Infusions - Akeim Buck [Anna Reviews]

Dear dancers,

It has happened! It’s officially official and here to stay. You’d better play some imaginary drum rolls in your heads, because you won’t want to receive this great news in silence. Ready?? A whole new season of high standard professional dance classes opened up yesterday! Yes, ProDance Leeds is back!!
To celebrate such awaited return and to kick off the autumn term nobody would be better than the local Akeim Buck, a dance artist raised in Chapeltown where he also trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

Starting in a circle, Akeim leads a warm up interlacing wavy patterns with yoga moves and breathing, aiming towards a total body work out while sharpening our focus. When the tension of the yoga postures meets the undulation of the ripples our bodies begin to mobilize and soften. At this point of the session I can’t avoid but noticing the grooving sound playing in the room. Every so often Akeim runs to the stereo corner, grabs a mike and spits out some improvised beats which get layered onto the already existing ones. That corner job keeps ongoing during the class as he adapts the music to fit the demands of the exercises.

Then we cross the studio space with material that covers different levels, starting in the floor to end up standing. Contemporary dance patterns like animal crawling, rolls or balances precede; then Akeim’s Caribbean roots take over. The West Indian vibes challenge rhythm, mobility and gracefulness. At the end of the session, Akeim teaches a couple of phrases fusing contemporary and Caribbean dance with subtle traces of ballet and capoeira here and there. Oh! And all of these at the sound of live beat boxing.
Without a doubt Akeim delivers a spicy yet sweet infusion of flavours overthrowing convention and challenging the movers.

                            By Anna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

-You can still catch his class Wednesday and Thursday at NSCD from 9.00 to 10.30-

ProDanceLeeds awarded Arts Council Funding

We are delighted to announce that we have finally been successful in securing funding from Arts Council England for another period of ProDanceLeeds! Thanks to all our partners for believing in us and to all of you wonderful dancers out there for your patience and continued support.

We are currently out and about on different work and holiday adventures but will be back in the (imaginary) office in August to pick things up and get the ball rolling. Please bear with us in the meantime.

We are very excited to get going soon and to see you all in September! More details to come soon, so watch this space!

Much love from the ProDance team:
Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia

We've submitted!

Hello Dancers of Leeds,

Big news - we submitted another Arts Council Bid! So fingers crossed, there could be classes running again starting late summer/early autumn.

We know it’s been over a year now without ProDance classes, so we thought we’d give you a brief update on what has happened. After getting the news that our bid was unsuccessful in August last year, we had quite a busy Gracefool autumn which left little time for bid writing and visioning future plans. With the new year came new energy (and more time on our hands!) and we had some time to ponder what the best way forward was. In the end we decided to re-submit the bid with some changes to the budget as the feedback from the Arts Council was that the project was just plainly too expensive. We are hoping that this bid will be more successful than the last one and if  it is, classes will start late summer/early autumn. Wish us luck and cross your dancer toes and fingers! In the meantime, Open Source Arts are running classes on a Thursday morning, taught by teachers in our local community - go check it out!

Much love from the ProDance team

Meeting Notes

On the 14th of September we held a meeting hosted by Yorkshire Dance to update the community on what had happened with our funding application and to open a discussion on what possibilities there are in terms of professional development whilst ProDanceLeeds is not running classes. For anyone who is interested in the discussion but who couldn't personally attend we are making the notes from the meeting available here on the website. We are also including a summary report of ProDanceLeeds' last development phase that was evaluated by Sarah Spanton. This is a condensed 5 page report, drawn from a much more extensive evaluation that she conducted for us. Any questions - give us a shout. We will continue to update you on how we decide to take the project forward so watch this space.

Notes from meeting on 14th September

Summary Report



We have some unfortunate news

It is with sad hearts that we have to tell you that our latest funding application to support ProDanceLeeds was unsuccessful.

As we have been in Edinburgh with our sister company Gracefool Collective for all of August, we have not yet had time to evaluate what the best path forward is. In the coming few weeks we will evaluate the situation and decide how to take it from here. We will of course keep you updated on progression and news.

We know that many of you have been anxious to hear about updates for the project and we are only sorry that at the moment we don't have better news for you - we're gutted to not get to take class with you in the coming few weeks. In the meantime, we'd like to thank you all for your patience and continued support of ProDanceLeeds.

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia

What is happening with ProDance?

Hello ProDancers,

I can hear you all screaming: what has happened to ProDance!?!?! We’re sorry that being really busy has meant that we have not quite managed to keep you in the loop, and that’s why we’re now doing an update galore to make sure you know what’s going on with your favourite artist led project in the region.

Since December, we’ve been working long and hard to create a G4A that will hopefully (fingers crossed!) provide us with funding to cover the running of our regular ProDance programme for another 18 months, starting early September 2017. Because the bid is much bigger than anything we have ever applied for previously, several challenges has risen in the process of writing it that we originally weren’t aware of, meaning it has taken us longer than expected to get it in. We will submit it within the next few weeks but because the bid is for over 15K we will have to wait 12 weeks to find out whether we have been successful or not. As soon as we hear, we will of course let you know.

The question many will be asking is understandably: what is happening with ProDanceLeeds in the meantime? Will there be more classes? The answer is unfortunately no, and we want to explain to you in a little bit more detail why that is.

Between January and March, we were kindly supported by  Northern Ballet, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Phoenix Dance Theatre, RJC Dance and Yorkshire Dance to run classes on a scaled down programme. We were hoping to submit an application by the end of January, which would mean that if we were successful, we could start the classes early May. The support that these organisations generously offered was a swift response to us asking them to support us in a set interim period, so that ProDance wouldn’t have to stagnate. This was from the very beginning an agreement to help us out for a set period of time and to ‘take us in from the cold’ while we were securing a future for the programme. We are extremely grateful for that support, and for the speed with which they all sprung to action.

There are several reasons to why the bid didn’t go in at the end of January, as we originally hoped. In October, we still thought that ProDance would be covered by Yorkshire Dance’s NPO. We had set a plan in motion for this, to get the GFA in in December and lined up a busy autumn and Spring for our sister company Gracefool Collective. When the NPO plan fell through, we had to rethink our whole strategic plan of where ProDance was going. The G4A we had planned to cover the interim period until the NPO funding was gonna kick in was now obsolete and we had to come up with a completely new project. As you may know, you can’t apply for funding to run a project you have already run once, so we had to think very strategically about how we could keep what’s so great about ProDance, whilst developing the programme to do something new. That has taken time, and as we are asking for such a big pot of money this time we felt it imperative that the application was given the time it needed to be properly constructed, planned and written.

Unknowing that we would have to write a £98,000 bid, we’d planned for Spring in Gracefool land:

  • Touring to six venues with Red Ladder Theatre Company

  • Working on the endless administration of said tour

  • Starting an R&D for a new piece of work with four week long residencies across the country

  • Rehearsing & performing the new work as part of Reveal Festival

  • Researching and meeting with rural touring schemes and programmers across the country

  • Planning two major projects (that we will announce in the coming few months!)

  • And of course, evaluating the previous ProDance project and writing that all important report for ACE.

And this doesn’t include all the day to day admin of the company: liaising with people, social media, writing newsletters, organising outreach, delivering outreach, writing applications, researching new opportunities, meeting with industry people, going to networking events, having bi-weekly meetings, maintaining the website, keeping track of cash flow and receipts ETC...

It also doesn’t include all the work we do as freelancing individuals to make ends meet and pay our bills.

You get the picture.

And I am sure that many of you can relate to this.

When Gracefool gets very busy, it would be great to be able to outsource some of the ProDance work to ensure both projects keep running smoothly. Unfortunately, there is very little money in running PDL, and although we keep working for free because this is our baby and a project we believe in, we don’t particularly like asking anyone else to work for us for free.

We are so excited about the work we are doing with Gracefool and ProDanceLeeds, and there is four of us in the company to share the load, but there is a limit to what we can do and we are having to be honest with ourselves about the limit of our capacity. We are a very positive bunch which is great at most times, but sometimes it means we are overly optimistic about how much we can achieve in a set amount of time.

We all had a very busy 2016 and the warning bells for burning out have been chiming pretty loudly for a while now. So we took a conscious decision of trying not to burn out i.e. actually trying to give ourselves weekends and evenings off. Being able to maintain relationships with friends and family. Talking about something else other than work on our lunch break. We are doing this because we want to be able to stay in this industry for a long time, without having a collective breakdown too early. And so the application has taken several months longer to complete than we thought it would.

We hope that you are as excited as we are that we will finally be submitting it (very soon!) and that you keep all fingers and toes crossed for it to be successful. And that when classes do start again, you’ll be banging on the door to come in to class and support the continuation of a flourishing freelance, professional, dance community. We are really grateful for your support and patience in the meantime - ProDanceLeeds wouldn’t exist without you guys!

Kate, Rebecca, Rachel and Sofia


ProDanceLeeds supported over the coming few months

Hello all you ProDanceLeeds dancers!

Finally, we can bring you some detailed news about the coming months.

Before Christmas, we explained where we were with our current funding situation and that our plans for ProDanceLeeds had faced some challenges.

We sent an email to the other fantastic organisations in Leeds delivering dance in the city, asking for help. All of our partners, RJC Dance, Dance Studio Leeds, Yorkshire Dance, NSCD, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern Ballet have been incredibly supportive and some have been able to offer some aid in bridging the gap between now and the time before another funding application can be written, assessed and (fingers crossed) granted.

So what will be happening behind the scenes to bring you these classes? Well, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Yorkshire Dance, NSCD and Northern Ballet have generously agreed to help us keep running the classes on a reduced schedule across the next few months.

Phoenix already run a company class, when they are at base,  that is open to freelancers.  Over the next few months Phoenix and ProDanceLeeds will work in partnership to amalgamate their existing offers. Phoenix have offered to cover costs for some of the artists that ProDance had already scheduled to teach these classes.   The classes have limited numbers and need to be booked in advance. Please contact to check availability and book your place. Please note that confirmation is on a first come first served basis.

When we are unable to take class with Phoenix, Yorkshire Dance will be covering the costs for some of their artists in residence to teach class. These classes you do not need to book for and are paid for on the day.

Furthermore NSCD and Northern Ballet have generously agreed a small cash contribution to help us cover a little bit of our admin costs.

We are incredibly grateful for these are generous donations which are not easy for these organisations to give.  We know we keep saying it, but in the current climate, everyone is stretched, trying to do all they can to run the projects that their organisation focuses on. Their support shows how much that they value PDL and our community, making us hopeful for the future of dance of the city.

Kate, Rachel, Rebecca and Sofia