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Performing Gender | Leeds Training Week

Fri 8 June 2018
Part of: Performing Gender: Dance Makes Differences | 2017-2018 | Gender Moves Performance Project | 2018
Performing Gender Sharing - Jija Sohn - 1 Jun 2018 © Sara Teresa

We’re still buzzing from the visit by 13 international artists, dramaturgs and partners as part of the Performing Gender (PG) training week in Leeds last week. It is impossible to sum up quite how much conversation, fun, research, excitement, friendship, love and learning the week inspired, but for sure it was even better than we had hoped.

One of the favourite aspects was quite how many people the project touched whilst in Leeds, from the 15 local dancers who joined the professional class on Monday morning, the 10 nationally selected dancers who shared practice on Tuesday, to the 15 local LGBT dancers from Gender Moves who danced with the PG team on Wednesday:

“I can only speak for myself but this process has involved a certain amount of honesty, openness, letting go, in order to engage with the group and the wider aims of the project. I enjoyed the session with the pro artists, the chance to work with them on an equal footing is so enlightening.” Michelle Dee, participant in Gender Moves group

In that sense it satisfyingly brought together the different aspects of our organisation’s work coherently and with real impact.

It wasn’t only the size of the audience (thanks to Northern Ballet for the extra cushions) but also the very diverse, open and articulate feedback they gave during the post show chat which really impressed our international partners: there was a real sense of a community being built around a particular interest.

The exchange with the 4 dramaturgs was also hugely rich and rewarding, leading to many sparks and some ‘falling in love’, that is, professionally. The research conducted by the 5 artists was as varied as they are, with many of them drawing on personal experiences and histories as well as making connections with wider societal issues. We’re super grateful to artists Amy Bell, Beth Cassani, Joseph Mercier, LAB, Phil Sanger, Fernanda Prata and David Harradine for their expert and stimulating input which was hugely appreciated by the artists.

The Performing Gender team also had an awesome culinary experience in Leeds with one remarking that this was the first time they had been to the UK when she enjoyed the food.

We are now looking forward to welcoming one of the artists back to Leeds in October where they will be working with a group of local young professionals to develop their capacity around dance, gender and activism alongside dramaturg Tanya Steinhauser.

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