Inclusive Dance - We Meet Again
Inclusive dance is a cornerstone of our work at We Are Epic because dance is for everyone. Dance is for people of every age, of every size, of every background. Wheelchairs spin and glide across a smooth dance floor. We turn the bass up to 11 so that D/deaf dancers can feel the vibrations of the music. These are things that make sense to disabled dancers and non-disabled people working in inclusive dance.
There’s still a need in the UK to develop artistic projects that nurture the talents of disabled dancers. At the moment there’s still a lack of learning and training opportunities for inclusive dance. It’s a topic that’s made it’s way to policymakers and funders, it can be seen in Arts Council England’s strategy and funding decisions where there is a strong commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
Inclusive Dance in Leicester
Given this need, We Are Epic has been running inclusive talent development programmes in the UK since 2018.
Our primary project is ID Dance Co. Based in Leicester. ID is an inclusive dance project that was set up as a way to provide opportunities in the Midlands for disabled dancers. ID gives dancers time and space to develop their skills in an inclusive creative environment.
The ID Sessions got off to a great start in 2018 and we were working with six talented dancers.
The dancers came to weekly inclusive dance classes, as well as Masterclasses which were hosted by established creatives. In our ID Masterclasses we had the pleasure of hosting creatives such as James Cousins and Tim Casson.
It was all going well until 2020.
The pandemic hit everyone in some way but this was especially true for the ID dancers – who’re based in Leicester, UK.
Leicester, was under the longest covid lockdown in the UK. After UK national lockdowns eased Leicester became the first city in the UK to be under local lockdown. The city was under some sort of lockdown until June 21 2021 – nearly 15 months after the city first went into lockdown. The longest lockdown in the UK.
Disabled Dancers Back At It - From Lockdown To Limelight.
After a few years of stop-starting the ID team are back. Emerging from lockdown we began to reform and reinvent the We Are Epic Talent Development Programme.
Lauren Russell and Kadafi Mulula met in our inclusive dance class, funded by Arts Council England and Attenborough Arts Centre. The classes brought together a group of dancers, including the pair. Led by Dance Leader, Charlotte Tomlinson, the classes created the opportunity for dancers to be in a creative, safe, inclusive space.
When the team came back together in 2021, the idea to develop a duet between Lauren and Kadafi began to take shape. The pair had worked on a short duet during an ID Masterclasses with Tim Casson in 2019. This became the beginnings of their new piece, ‘We Meet Again’.
Creativity in Limitations
Many artists agree with Orson Welles famous saying, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” And certainly the restrictions and limitations that 2021 threw at us helped us to produced a unique talent development opportunity. Without everything that we went through from 2020 onwards, we wouldn’t have the piece we have today.
Our First UK Inclusive Dance Performance – We Meet Again
Inspired by the story of Lauren’s grandparents, Bea and Phillip, an idea was born.
An upbeat and joyful performance, We Meet Again, is a new short film and pop-up inclusive dance performance set in the 1940s. The show brings about feelings that feel so modern, but in fact it was inspired by an eighty-year-old story that’s been passed down through the generations.
Is it a story about a couple reuniting? Or is it a reflection on what many people around the world have experienced over the last few years?
One thing is for sure, we’re finally meeting again in 2022.
We Meet Again was performed at Dancing Through the Decades Festival for Appetite Stoke in the summer of 2021 and is currently available for bookings.
Watch the Inclusive Dance Film: We Meet Again
Make sure that you take some time to watch the dancer’s new inclusive dance film, We Meet Again.
Inclusive Dance Talent Development at We Are Epic
We Are Epic’s approach to talent development is to support dancers with time, space and resources. We must work with dancers and creatives on an individual basis. We meet them where they are and support them where they need.
The We Are Epic team share their knowledge and experience of the business of the creative sector. Our team supports making connections as well as advising and supporting to develop funding applications for creative projects like, We Meet Again.
We Meet Again, is the first inclusive dance performance developed through the ID Dance Co. It’s a great show for community events and summer festivals. We’re excited to create new inclusive dance performances in the future.
For a production pack and booking availability send an email Producer, Laura.
Want to learn more? Find out more about ID Dance Co. and keep watching this space for exciting new inclusive dance projects.