News

Yorkshire Dance Artistic Director shortlisted for Northern Power Women Award

23 Feb 2018

Wieke Eringa. Image © Yorkshire Dance

The Artistic Director of Leeds-based Yorkshire Dance, the dance development organisation for the region, has been shortlisted for one of this year’s Northern Power Women Awards.

Wieke Eringa has been nominated for the Transformational Leader Award, which will be presented on Tuesday 6 March. Her nomination recognises her work to build Yorkshire Dance’s strategic direction around a policy of gender equality.

Wieke’s ten years at the helm of Yorkshire Dance have been characterised by a fierce campaign to enable female artists to define an alternative narrative around success and champion marginalised practices.

Wieke is committed to enabling other women to take the lead. She co-created the Juncture festival with Charlotte Vincent (Vincent Dance Theatre), each edition of which is curated by a different female dance artist (after Charlotte’s inaugural year, by Wendy Houstoun and Gillie Kleiman). Each of the curators has displayed, in turn, a passion to advocate for, and enable, work by female dance makers, and Juncture has become a renowned celebration of female-led work.

Another example of supporting women to take the lead is the Artists Curating Dance programme, developed and fundraised for by Wieke, which invested in artists Grace Surman, Amy Bell, Lydia Cottrell and Sophie Unwin to develop curatorial vision and put on their own events.

Wieke talks of her work, and the company’s work, as a kind of activism. As the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns continue to dominate headlines across the world, and while some sectors of the dance industry might be said to promote traditional, limiting gender stereotypes, she is supporting artists such as Grace Surman, Hannah Buckley, Sophie Unwin, Gracefool Collective and Amy Bell to develop choreography from a feminist and, even more rare, a queer lesbian perspective.

This work has led to a the commissioning of a major new dance piece for Hull UK City of Culture 2017’s LGBT50 celebrations and now to a prestigious international partnership, Performing Gender.

Performing Gender is a programme enabling a young generation of European dance artists to develop a new form of narrative for LGBT+ identities. It features dance artists from five European countries – the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Slovenia – creating new work in each of the partner nations which explores what it means to be a member of the LGBT+ community in that country, and within the wider context of Europe.

Wieke herself says of her shortlisting for the Transformation Leader award:

It is interesting to me that gender and gender equality have become such huge topics this last year. I am grateful to contribute to the debate of equality and awareness through my life and work.”

“Perhaps the most interesting is the unconscious bias, the internalised opinions and judgements we each hold about gender, race, ethnicity and ‘other’, and which stop us from creating the kind of society, community and workplace we aspire to.

“It is an honour to be nominated and pleasure to be meeting others who are keen to challenge unconscious bias and rattle the cages of patriarchy and other limiting power structures.”

The Northern Power Women Awards showcase role models and celebrate the many different ways women contribute to a thriving Northern Powerhouse. The inaugural awards were held in March 2016, attracting 440 organisation leaders, change agents, and inspiring male and female role models and, in 2017, 520 celebrated success across the North.

Simone Roche, founder of Northern Power Women, says:

“It’s a joy to celebrate and showcase role models from every sector, level and region and paint a magnificent picture of the raft of talented individuals we have across the North.”

The Awards ceremony will take place in Manchester on the evening of Tuesday 6 March, two days before International Women’s Day.