Past, Present and Future


“Dance Collective – Past, Present and Future” by Uma O’Neill 

“Like all good things the Dance Collective was born over a creative cup of coffee between friends. Lisa Spaull and I were having a much needed and far too infrequent catch up. Through our chatting we realised that we were both struggling with similar difficulties living and working in North Wales. Difficulty accessing training opportunities, feelings of isolation, lack of opportunities for us to dance at our level rather than teaching all the time, lack of studio time for creative exploration or choreographic investigation possibly leading to performance opportunities, generally …. nourishment for our creative professional souls.  Luckily we’re a pro-active pair and so the Dance Collective was born delivering its first training project with Charlotte Vincent and Paula Hampson.  SInce then, our latest professional development opportunity was realised at ‘Casgliad’ (Sept 2012) in the piece ‘Moving Pathways’ (Sutcliffe 2012) following training and mentoring by Company Chameleon.

The Dance Collective’s first choreographic commission was “Switch’ choreographed by Lisa Spaull (2006). “Switch’ was an exploration of dance with the sculptural objects of visual artist Femke Van Gent.  This later developed to ‘Switch Moves’ which took us out of the traditional theatre space and into site specific performances across North Wales and on one very cold Febraury day in 2008 across the city of Liverpool as part of the Fringe Festival of the British Dance Edition.

As the Collective grew it became apparent that it was also providing support with open studio space allowing for creative and choreographic investigation which helped Associates produce their own work or other commissions such as ‘Trigger’ (Farrow, Jones, O’Neill 2006), ‘Ty Bach Twt’ (Harrop, 2011) and “Fuse’ (Harrop, Spaull, 2011).  The Professional development programme has ran along side this with new learning and inspiration feeding into Associate’s Professional work.

In November 2011 we held the Sound Moves Festival at Scala, Prestatyn, the focus of which was collaborations between dance, music, and film.  It was an evenet at which DC Associates showcased work and also invited a Youth Dance group to perform.  It launched the Sound moves Youth Dance Project, which culminated i performing at UDance and the National Youth Dance Wales Regional Platform at Galeri, Caernarfon in April 2012.

Sound Moves highlighted yet another area in which the Dance Collective needed to be pro-active, Youth.  For dance to have a strong and lasting presence in the region young people need to become aware of what is going on in the sector and the opportunities within the sector in North Wales.  This inspires and provides the next generation.  See our how to join section for more info for Student Associates.  Future ideas are to create a students associate facebook page, where questions can be answered by DC Associates.

We have been lucky to have had the support of ACW, Local Authorities across North Wales, Dawns-i-Bawb and New Dance.  Local businesses Andrew Paul Sutcliffe, Peter Harrop Optometrist and Mediapod are other funders who have supported our work.  We would also like to thank Coreo Cymru for their support for Casgliad 2012.

We look forward to hosting more Casgliad events in teh future and envisage it being a lively performance platform full of variety of latest work from our Associates.

In February 2013, Dance Collective became a Community Interest Company.  This has led to a new organisational structure with three directors positioned in each area of North Wales.  North West Wales is represented by Despina Goula; Central North Wales by Emma-Jane Sutcliffe and North East Wales by myself.  The hope being that each director is the point of contact for Associates in their area.

As we look to the future we are aiming to raise our profile, expand our performance opportunities, support more Associates and the wider dance sector, introduce new audiences to accessible yet innovative professional dance and inspire young people and support them.  We hope to be able to build further relationships with venues and partners allowing a possible tour of Casgliad in the future.

Please feel free to get in touch, and like I said, great things often start with a creative chat.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Dance Collective. “