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Little Big Dance

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Little Big Dance

Little Big Dance is a national project offering four dance artists specialist support to develop high quality touring dance work with and for under five year olds – an age group historically overlooked and undervalued in the arts.

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About Little Big Dance

Together with partners South East Dance, DanceEast and Take Art we have launched Little Big Dance, a new three-year national initiative setting out to pioneer a new blueprint for creating dance with and for under five year olds.

Little Big Dance stems from the belief that very young children are an undervalued and overlooked audience for the arts in general but particularly for dance. Over two cycles, during 2019-22, we’ll be selecting eight artists to work with children in nursery settings to develop ideas for new dance works aimed at very young children and their families.

Here in Yorkshire, we will be working with:

  • George Fellows, co-Artistic Director of Four Hands, will create a new work with children across Yorkshire using a simple question as a starting point: “what would you like to say to the adult world and how would you like to use dance to say it?”

The other three selected artists are:

  • Drawing on his experience growing up in Japan, artist and performer Takeshi Matsumoto will work with children in Suffolk and Norfolk to explore origami and the concept of ‘animism’ – the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.
  • Stopgap Dance Company, and the dancers from their apprentice company sg2, will be working with children from two nurseries in central Brighton & Hove to create a piece exploring the night-time world of ‘Slumberton’ – using nursery rhymes, Makaton sign language and sensory props.
  • Dancer, choreographer and Director of Beeja, Anusha Subramanyam will work with children in Frome, Somerset, to create a piece inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of a train journey in South East Asia.

We are delighted that George Fellows will be in residency in June 2021, with an Early Years tour planned for his piece titled, “It’s Ok” for the Autumn.

George was selected as one of four national dance artists, to research and create work as part of the initial phase of Little Big Dance, which commenced in October 2019. George visited four primary school/ nurseries across the Yorkshire region, carefully selected by partner venues, Cast in Doncaster, The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, Barnsley Civic and Square Arts Chapel in Halifax. George received support from early years dance specialist, Skye Reynolds, to test out the ideas for his new work and connect to a new generation of audiences.

Yorkshire Dance, our partner venues and schools are delighted to continue to support George on his journey and look forward to watching the work evolve.

In Autumn 2021, George Fellows will present it’s ok, an an intimate dance piece performed in a perspex cube, especially for under five year olds and their families created as part of Little Big Dance.

it’s ok invites us to follow Laura on a journey of discovery as she navigates feelings of uncertainty, fear, excitement, anger and joy whilst being supported and encouraged by Claire every step of the way. Join the performers as they discover that no feelings are right or wrong; they’re just feelings and it really is ok to feel them.

Recommended age: Three to five-year-olds and their families
Duration: 35 mins

Tickets on sale from 31 Aug, 2021 from Gulbenkian’s website

View the trailer:


Little Big Dance will be evaluated by Dr Angela Pickard from Canterbury Christchurch University, who in November 2019 was awarded the Dance Research Impact award from One Dance UK. Dr Pickard will contribute to a best practice toolkit to ensure the wider dance sector can benefit from what’s learned. The project is supported with more than £371,000 investment from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England; and by Leeds Dance Partnership, Dance Umbrella, Birmingham Hippodrome and Strike a Light Festival.

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