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Yorkshire Dance announces full line up for its upcoming innovative and vibrant Encounters Festival

Thu 23 May 2019
Part of: Encounters Festivals
Performing Gender 18 © Jesús Vallinas

Yorkshire Dance has today announced the full line up for Encounters, a 2 day Pay As You Feel festival, exploring gender diversity through dance.


The third festival of its kind, Encounters brings together inspiring dance artists, local families and diverse audiences to share food, conversation and performance at Yorkshire Dance’s venue in Leeds. At the heart of the festival’s ethos is inclusivity, accessibility and celebration – with that in mind, a Pay As You Feel initiative has been implemented to ensure everyone is able to participate in this innovative and vibrant festival.


Yorkshire Dance has assembled an eclectic range of workshops and events to explore and celebrate gender diversity. The performance programme line-up includes Spanish artist Daniel Mariblanca with 71BODIES 1DANCE and a double bill of Marikiscrycrycry’s He’s Dead and Joseph Mercier’s Desperate Gestures.


71BODIES 1DANCE is an interdisciplinary performance, inspired by 71 personal experiences and testimonies from transgender individuals in Europe. This groundbreaking performance gives visibility and awakes curiosity about the transgender community.  The performance will be accompanied by an exhibition of 15 portraits, as well as a workshop that invites audiences to reflect on the ideas in the piece.


Marikiscrycrycry (Malik Nashad Sharpe) is the recipient of an ArtsAdmin Bursary and is currently artist-in-residence at Tate Britain/Tate Modern.  Their bold and innovative performance He’s Dead explores multiple themes of Blackness and Queerness. The second half of the Double Bill, Joseph Mercier’s Desperate Gestures, is a performance project that draws on queer subcultures and explores themes such as the culture of convenience, a fetish of the new and a commodification of the now.


There will be a wide variety of workshops and talks taking place during the festival including The Joy of Moving in which participants are encouraged to playfully re-connect with their bodies and a Voguing workshop, where participants can explore both the moves of Vogue Femme and the history and context of the art form.


Amy Bell returns to Yorkshire Dance following her performance of The Forecast last year to present TOMBO(Y)LA, which uses dance to explore what it means to be a ‘tomboy’ and to move differently within rigid binary-gendered structures.


Other workshop highlights include Performing Gender, which follows a recent European project where artist Hannah Buckley and playwright and dramaturg Sergio Martinez delivered an 8 day workshop for local dancers in Madrid. They invite dancers and people with a movement practice to join them as they share their research and explore different expressions of fluid identity.


Wieke Eringa, Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance said:

“During two years of international work around dance and gender, three critical questions kept emerging:

  • Who does it affect and how and who is talking and/or dancing about it?
  • How does our experience of gender rub up against that of class and ethnicity?
  • And… how does dance make a difference?


Is it only people in the LGBTQI+ communities who are interested in this topic or does it affect us all? If each of us is an expert in our own real-lived experience of gender, can we connect and learn with each other whilst using our bodies through movement?  With curiosity and creativity we hope to explore themes such as power, agency, gaze, cliché, embodiment, safety, sensuality, care, pleasure and joy!”

Encounters Festival takes place at Yorkshire Dance from Fri 28 – Sat 29 June, 2019. You can download the brochure here

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