Launched in January 2015, Raised is our integrated performance company for adults with and without disabilities. In December the company was awarded £13,816 by Arts Council England.
Grown as a pilot project out of Mind the Step, our group of adults with learning disabilities which meets weekly at Yorkshire Dance, it was initially funded for a year’s activity and led by experienced practitioners Zoe Parker and Rachel Fullegar.
Earlier this year Yorkshire Dance supported one of its members, Chris Nykiel, to apply for Arts Council England funding for Raised – You, Me and Us, a twelve-month project to create choreography which will be performed at three platforms in Yorkshire and the North East. The company will develop its choreographic language, receiving mentoring support and direction from renowned dance artists David Toole, Gary Clarke and Rachel Liggett.
In December 2015 the bid was successful, and the ACE award will be used by the company to raise the quality of integrated dance in Yorkshire and set a foundation for new recruitment and growth in 2017.
Chris Nykiel says of the award, “Many of the dancers in RAISED come to the stage with a background in community performance, and bring with them a diverse range of interests, occupations and abilities. We are all delighted to be able to continue to learn from each other throughout 2016, and from our professional mentors, so that we can encourage everyone to dance centre-stage. Watch and learn!”
Wieke Eringa, Artistic Director of Yorkshire Dance, says, “It’s wonderful that a company like this has organically grown out of a Yorkshire Dance activity and fantastic to see it now making its way in the world as an independent venture. We’re delighted that Raised will continue to meet and work in our studios at Yorkshire Dance from January 2016 as this kind of work is absolutely at the heart of Yorkshire Dance’s mission.”
The group, whose six current core members have a range of disabilities from cerebral palsy to autism, created its first piece, Assiemi, in Spring 2015, performing at Expressions at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre and at Unusual Connections – a Friday Firsts performance at Yorkshire Dance. As a result of their personal development through Raised, members of the company participated in The Dance Leeds Made in June 2015, created with Tim Casson, which culminated in a sited public performance at Trinity Leeds shopping centre.