Inspiring all to dance at RJC Dance
Founded in 1993 RJC Dance (RJCD) is a popular and successful Black British led contemporary dance organisation based in Chapeltown, Leeds. Original members Edward Lynch, Donald Edwards and David (Leo) Hamilton originally cofounded Phoenix Dance Company as a male, black dance company whose choreography was influenced by the music and social dance styles of the time. These founders went on to develop their own distinctive styles and thus RJCD was born. RJCD’s commitment to developing and promoting a Black British choreographic language may be seen in its title: R for reggae, J for Jazz and C for contemporary.
In 2018, RJCD celebrates its 25th year and remain committed to vitality, active participation, creativity and renewal. They inspire, nurture and develop the next generation of young black artists and practitioners. Above all, they proudly declare their commitment to enabling the young people of Leeds and the county of Yorkshire to experience the sheer joy of Black British Dance, whatever age, income or background.
RJCD are committed to engaging with the ever-increasing circle of superb local artists of all ages through the many different facets of their work. They undertake a Rural Touring Programme, delighting new audiences unused to black dance, and working with professionals and young people who want to excel in artistic practice and community engagement. They have a strong local youth provision which is gifted in engaging young people from all backgrounds. Since 1993 over 20,000 diverse young people have engaged with the organisations work and currently over 200 diverse young people attend weekly RJC Dance sessions at the Mandela Centre. In addition they offer performance opportunities in large scale Cultural Events such as England v West Indies Cricket at Headingley & Leeds West Indian Carnival; and residential opportunities as part of personal development for participants which can lead to accredited pieces of work via Arts Award and Sports Leaders awards.
RJCD build on success to encourage the progression of young people to higher level learning in dance, to paid employment and to become positive role models and potential future leaders. Finally, they continue to exploit their wonderful Studio space at the Mandela Centre, increasing its use as a high quality dance environment both for young people and the wider professional dance sector, creating an artistic hub as a significant contribution to Leeds’ positioning as a Cultural Capital.
RJCD collective responsibility is to ensure that young people who engage with the organization continue to thrive and grow. They do this through their programmes, their approach to connecting people and audiences with artists and their work, and their use of technology. Above all, RJC Dance develop an underlying commitment to serving the hardest to reach young people through dance, movement and exercise, in the unique way that only RJC Dance can, reaching people and places where others cannot get.
It is wonderful to see how RJC is continuing to grow year on year and inspirational to see the achievements of all your young people.
Lord Mayor of Leeds 2017-18: Councillor Jane Dowson
See RJCD website here.