Artist Profile: Katy HewisonThu 17 February 2022
Part of: Artist Support | Accelerate: A Skills Development Lab
Originally from West Yorkshire and a graduate of Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, dance artist Katy Hewison is passionate about lifelong learning and the joy dance can bring to people’s lives, especially children.
Back in 2019, Katy took part in a paid development programme for 10 artists at the beginning of their career. The Accelerate programme, led by Yorkshire Dance in partnership with Northern School of Contemporary Dance and supported by Leeds Dance Partnership, enabled Katy to learn, grow and develop. The programme offered Katy inspiring workshops, mentoring, a support network of peers and time in the studio to develop her project ideas.
Katy created a project called ‘Moving Stories’, an interactive performance work bringing together children and adults to observe a solo performance and as the experience unfolds invites them to interact with the dancer and each other. It is an invitation to move from observation to participation and from imitation to decision making.
During the development of the work Yorkshire Dance invited children from Twinkles Nursery, who are a stone’s throw from the Yorkshire Dance building, to watch and take part in the piece. In early 2020, Katy and the Moving Stories project was programmed at the Family Encounters Festival.
One of the participating parents said: “My child liked that no one was talking, she enjoyed the calm bits and the energetic bits, yes to non-verbal communication!”
Katy was successful with an application to Arts Council England to fund the development of Moving Stories and its partner project Improplay. This is a wonderful recognition of her creativity and ambition and launches her career as an independent dance artist.
Katy says: “Accelerate helped me to dig deep into the area of work I am really interested in and start to establish myself as an artist working in the early years field. The project has given me trust, knowledge, awareness and support about how to talk and write about my work.
I feel really supported by Yorkshire Dance and it makes me want to and believe that it is possible to create high quality dance work in Leeds. The Encounters Festival opened up international interest and connections and this has been a launch pad to receive recognition, vital support and further funding for my work. Even though we’ve come through such a tough year, I have been on an amazing journey and I have gained confidence in my work, the value of it and the people it connects with.”
Katy’s project Improplay was performed in 2021 at Yorkshire Dance as part of PDSW’s Children and Their Grown-Ups Showcase. Find out more here.