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Performing Gender

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Performing Gender: Dance Makes Differences | 2017-2018

The European dance project on gender and sexual orientation differences

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About Performing Gender: Dance Makes Differences | 2017-2018

Yorkshire Dance has embarked on a 2-year programme alongside partner organisations from Italy, Slovenia, Spain and The Netherlands to provide European dance artists and professionals with knowledge, skills and tools to develop a new form of narrative for gender identities.

From 25 May – 2 June 2018 we hosted five dance artists, who took part in a week of training opportunities at Yorkshire Dance in Leeds:

Roberta Racis (Italy)
Nataša Živković (Slovenia)
Jija Sohn (The Netherlands)
Koldo Arostegui González (Spain)
Sophie Unwin (UK)

The training week gave the artists an opportunity to join a programme of workshops, lectures and presentations, while further researching and developing new solo works.

These were presented on Friday 1 June with a post-show discussion facilitated by Dutch dramaturg Peggy Olislaegers.

A second week of activities took place in October 2018.

The premise of the project is that differences in gender and sexual orientation are viewed in dramatically varied ways in different societies across Europe, and that dance is the perfect art form to investigate this theme.

One dance artist and one dramaturg represent each country (UK, Italy, Slovenia, The Netherlands and Spain) and, during 2017 – 2018, will attend a training week in each country. During these weeks the artists will be researching and developing new solo work. They will also benefit from stimulating evening programmes, including the Gender Bender festival in Italy and the Festival of Woman in Ljubljana.

During the second year, each artist will create a new dance work with ten local emerging dancers, who will benefit in turn from the professional development opportunity.

The project will culminate in May 2019 with the entire team and local audiences in Bassano Del Grappa coming together for a final celebration and reflection.

We are very pleased to announce that our own in-house Artist Development Producer Tanya Steinhauser will take up the role of dramaturg, enabling her to transfer her dramaturgical experience in contemporary theatre to a dance context.

Our dance artist will be York-based Sophie Unwin, who will have a chance to develop her practice whilst greatly extending her international network and exposure.


Thanks to generous funding from Leeds Inspired, we are able to run Gender Moves, a programme in Leeds alongside Performing Gender.

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