Yorkshire Dance hosts UK leg of major European Dance Project, Performing Gender

14 Feb 2018

Roberta Racis, representing Italy in ‘Performing Gender’

From Friday 25 May to Friday 1 June, Leeds hosts the UK leg of Performing Gender – Dance Makes Differences, one of the 13 Italian projects chosen by the European Commission and funded for 2017-2019 by Creative Europe, the programme that awards the best European transnational cooperation projects in every artistic field. 

In Europe a total of 81 projects have been funded, chosen from 548 applications.

The project involves six partner organisations representing five European countries.

The project leader is Gender Bender, a festival produced by Cassero LGBT Center of Bologna, in partnership with Yorkshire Dance (Leeds, UK), Comune di Bassano del Grappa and Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, the City of Women festival in Ljubljana (Slovenia), the Boulevard Festival in s-Hertogenbosch and Dans Brabant (Netherlands) and Paso a 2 – Certamen Coreogràfico de Madrid (Spain).

Performing Gender uses contemporary dance to investigate how differences in gender and sexual orientation are viewed in dramatically varied ways in different societies across Europe.

One dance artist and one dramaturg represent each country and, during 2017 and 2018, are attending a training week in each country. During these weeks the artists are researching and developing new solo work.

The five selected dance makers are Sophie Unwin (UK), Roberta Racis(Italy), Nataša Živković (Slovenia), Jija Sohn (the Netherlands) and Koldo Arostegui Gonzaléz (Spain). Yorkshire Dance is also represented by dramaturg Tanya Steinhauser.

The artists have already experienced a training week in Slovenia last October,  and an intense second week of physical and theoretical training about gender and sexual orientation in contemporary dance in Italy the following month.

At the end of the week in Leeds the five dance makers will share their work-in-progress with an audience at Yorkshire Dance’s home in the city. The sharing will be on Friday 1 June.

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

Wieke Eringa, Artistic Director & CEO of Yorkshire Dance, says:

Gender is a hugely topical issue and this project is already providing us with an extremely rich opportunity for learning about gender, activism and dance. Stepping outside of our context (in Leeds) is invaluable in our journey to investigate how we can support artists to delve into this topic of gender identity and share that journey with audiences and our local community. The expertise present in the partnership is fantastically stimulating, rich and inspiring and we hope many local people including artists can join us on the journey when Performing Gender comes to Leeds in May.”