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Dance alumni secure national funding to deliver pioneering digital programmes

Fri 5 February 2021

Emily Jenkins’ Move Dance Feel and Lucy McCrudden’s Dance Mama now have support to expand digitally to help communities in need.

Community-based arts organisations Move Dance Feel and Dance Mama, founded by members of the Trinity Laban community, have secured grants from key UK funding bodies to develop an enhanced online offering and provide vital support to participants across the globe.

Move Dance Feel

Emily Jenkins launched the community project centred around artistic practice as support for women affected by cancer in 2016 while researching the benefits of dance for an MA in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban. Prior to her master studies, Emily completed Trinity Laban’s Postgraduate Diploma: Community Dance.

Move Dance Feel provides opportunities for women to express themselves through dance and build relationships via physical communication. It is open to women living with or beyond cancer and those supporting or mourning the loss of someone with cancer.

Move Dance Feel has identified that the need for support has intensified during the pandemic as people’s treatment plans and operations were suspended, and many face loneliness due to the necessity to shield.

While Move Dance Feel’s cancer centre partners remain closed for group activity in response to Covid-19, their online programme is continuing to grow and develop with participants joining from all over the globe.

Now, new funding from the National Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund and the Mayor of London Stronger Communities Fund will enable Move Dance Feel to offer two weekly online dance sessions and a dance film discussion session every fortnight until March.

The project is also running a study to assess the efficacy of their online format. Results will be shared in spring 2021.

Emily comments –

“Receiving a grant from the National Lottery Community Support Fund has provided vital support during what is an incredibly challenging time for small dance companies. Paired with a Stronger Communities grant from the Mayor of London it has enabled us to keep going and develop a qualitative Move Dance Feel Online offering.

“We are delighted to be reaching more women in need – across the UK and internationally – and to learn that there’s significant value in dancing together digitally. As a team of seven dance artists, we have enjoyed the process of translating the Move Dance Feel methodology into a suitable format for the digital realm, pushing ourselves in new ways creatively.”

Move Dance Feel works in partnership with Maggie’s Barts, Paul’s Cancer Support Centre and Penny Brohn UK, and is developing a training programme piloting in Autumn 2021.

Read ‘Dancing for Joy’, Emily’s reflections on how group and solo dance gives rise to feelings of joy commissioned by Leeds Cultural Institute for online exhibition Beyond Measure? | @movedancefeel

Dance Mama

London-based dance entrepreneur and advocate Lucy McCrudden graduated from Trinity Laban in 2002 with a BA (Hons) in Dance Theatre. She has enjoyed an 18-year career in dance learning and participation with organisations including Rambert, The Place, DanceXchange and English National Ballet and is the Founder of online community and resource sharing platform: Dance Mama.

Dance Mama have been awarded an Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant for Dance Mama Live!, a free monthly professional development programme of informative and creative activity designed to support and empower parents working in dance and the arts that launches spring 2021.

Over 10 months, participants will engage in sessions including a webinar with a leading specialist and a choreographic workshop from a spectrum of dance makers. The programme is designed to connect parents with their creativity and create a community and has inbuilt flexibility, making it accessible for parents with busy schedules.​ The final session will culminate in an informal sharing online to allow participants the opportunity to share their work with each other.

Running alongside the main programme of activity, Dance Mama will provide dance and creative sessions for women in the general public deemed at risk of maternal health issues by registered healthcare practitioners.

Lucy comments –

“This is a landmark step for Dance Mama. The transformative programme will give many parents across the sector and beyond access to high quality, tangible and bespoke support. It’s a much-needed opportunity that removes the barriers so many parents face to developing their dance careers, simply because of their circumstances.”

The flagship online programme will be delivered in partnership with One Dance UK, Sadler’s Wells, DanceXchange, Yorkshire Dance and Clearcut.

To find out more about Dance Mama Live! and take part, sign-up.

Read Lucy’s 2014 article for One Dance UK that started it all and find out more about her career in business handbook Building A Portfolio Career.

Discover more about our dance training on our study pages.

Image L-R: Emily Jenkins (credit Camilla Greenwell), Lucy McCrudden (credit Pierre Tappon)