IN 2019, Dance United Yorkshire - a Bradford-based dance and social inclusion charity - launched a four-year community dance project in Holme Wood.

Called Resi/Dance, it was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and designed to offer free dance provision to children, young people and adults across Holme Wood, enabling the community to access high quality arts and culture.

During the past four years, Dance United Yorkshire (DUY) has delivered weekly classes for ages four to 16, parents and toddlers, adult women, and people aged 60-plus. Two intensive six-week projects targeted vulnerable young people disengaging from education and suffering with poor mental health, as well as hundreds of outreach classes in all local primary and secondary schools. DUY has enabled more than 200 children to gain Arts Award qualifications (validated by Trinity College London) and involved two secondary schools in a districtwide boys dance initiative.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The young people have worked with choreographers and artists from across the UKThe young people have worked with choreographers and artists from across the UK (Image: Dance United Yorkshire)

Participants of Resi/Dance have been involved in regular performance events across the region, and the youth company have worked with external choreographers and artists from across the UK.

Covid did not deter DUY. Throughout each lockdown, the company ensured continual contact with participants through online workshops, garden-gate classes, pop-up performances and healthcare/food packages. The company also produced three Holme Wood-based dance films during this time - one of which featured as part of the Global Health Film Festival.

As the funding period comes to an end, DUY is hosting a celebration at St George’s Hall on October 25 featuring all Resi/Dance participants as well as other DUY groups from across Bradford and West Yorkshire.

Doodles and Daydreams - a 40-minute piece of dance inspired by David Hockney’s painting The Road to York through Sledmere - was first created in 2016, danced by an intergenerational cast of 65 dancers at Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s Riley Theatre in Leeds. DUY is reviving it with a larger cast, bigger venue, and some extra sparkle by Bradford poet Kirsty Taylor, who has captured the voices of all participants. A total of 70 dancers aged five to 74, most of whom started as non-dancers, will be involved in the performance. Hoping to reach an audience of 600 people, Doodles and Daydreams will celebrate the work over the past four years, and everyone who has been involved.

“Our ambition with Resi/Dance was not simply to create accessible arts opportunities in Holme Wood, but rather to empower people from that community and provide a platform for them to achieve and excel. Performing on the stage of Bradford’s prestigious St George’s Hall is where our participants deserve to be.

DUY has a commitment to delivering work in Holme Wood and recently received funding from Bradford Youth Fund to continue working with young people in the area. Over the next 12 months, we aim to secure another four years of funding for Resi/Dance.

To book free tickets for Doodles and Daydreams visit Dance United Yorkshire on Eventbrite.

* Helen Linsell is Artistic Director or Dance United Yorkshire