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Meet the dance artists selected for Accelerate: A Skills Development Lab.

Fri 20 September 2019
Accelerate, a skills development lab participants

Accelerate: Skills Development Lab is a new artistic and professional nine month paid development programme for early-career dance practitioners, led by Yorkshire Dance and Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and supported by Leeds Dance Partnership. After receiving over 40 applications for this opportunity, we’re delighted to announce the 10 early career dance artists who have been selected.

Áine Reynolds

“Originally from Cornwall, Áine is a dance artist and performer based in Leeds. She graduated from London Contemporary Dance School and completed her MA as an apprentice dancer with Tilted Productions. Áine has worked with artists such as Liz Aggiss, Dam Van Hunyh, Ine Claes and Ruby Portus. As part of Accelerate, Áine is excited to connect with artists in the North, and to develop on her vocal and movement experiments.”


Alethia Antonia

“Originally from Derbyshire, Alethia Antonia is a freelance dance artist currently working around the UK who recently completed her MA at NSCD. She hopes that through the Accelerate programme she will be able to continue to develop her practice, build further connections with the dance community in Leeds, and develop project management skills to take her work forward.”


Alexah Tomey-Alleyne

“My name is Alexah Tomey-Alleyne and I am an mixed Afro-Caribbean female artist based in Leeds. From Accelerate I wish to gain both knowledge and confidence on how to increase engagement with my work and also start to build contacts with venues/events and other artists whom I share interests with.”


Catrina Nisbett

“Born in London, I’m a freelance dance artist & mathematics tutor. I began dancing at a young age learning street-styles within my local community. Currently in company Spoken Movement I’m exposed to different ways of expressing, both organic & unorthodox. Accelerate will hopefully provide skills that further pushes my career with longevity.”


Imogen Reeve

“Imogen Reeve is a choreographer and founder of Excessive Human Collective, a dance theatre collective that creates person-led, politically motivated work in Leeds. Having graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance last year, Imogen has since set up artists studio space ‘The Middle Floor’ which hosts dance residencies, exhibitions and workshops. Imogen is looking forward to learning as much as possible through Accelerate at the same time as completing her masters in Contemporary Dance.”


Inari Hulkkonen

“I am a dancer based in Leeds. I studied at NSCD and SMASH Berlin. I perform improvisation, make solo dances, and work as a dancer with artists such as Vanessa Grasse and Swen Steinhauser. During Accelerate I most hope to gain tools and strategies for sustaining a practice as an independent artist.”



Katy Hewison

“My practice uses improvisation/physical theatre approaches, making solo work and collaborating with professional artists and young children.  Accelerate will support further investigations into engagement, awareness and attention within early years learning environments & dance performance settings, continuing development of an interactive dance work for children & families.”


Matthew Rawcliffe

“Matthew Rawcliffe is a dance artist from Manchester. He trained at the Rambert School and was recently selected as a grand finalist in BBC Young Dancer 2019. Matthew is interested in theatre, technology and queer art. He is excited to research play and nurture his choreographic voice as part of Accelerate.”


Ruby Portus

Bristolian and proud, Ruby Portus trained at London Contemporary Dance School (First Class BA Hons) and Northern School of Contemporary Dance (MA Dist as dancer with Verve). She now works as freelance dancer and choreographer and is a Young Associate at Sadler’s Wells. She is excited to develop a new idea with the support of Accelerate and Yorkshire Dance.


Stephanie Donohoe

“My name is Stephanie and I am a dance artist originally from the West Midlands now living and working in Leeds. Accelerate is such an exciting opportunity for me, especially at this stage of my career. I am looking forward to developing my work and practice with other dance makers from the region, learning ways I can approach with producers, dramaturg’s, dance houses and interacting with other industry professionals.”


The dance artists will have the opportunity to participate in a week-long residency for initial research into project idea. They will also have access to mentoring from industry professionals and  independent producers. There will also be three professional development lab weekends, which will enable the arts to develop skills in a specific area.

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