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  • Photo: Courtesy Arunima Kumar

Congratulations to Arunima Kumar, Jaivant Patel, Mira Balchandran & Urja Desai Thakore for being selected in the Dance UK Mentoring Programme 2015-16

20 dancers, all nominated by their peers as future leaders, have been selected to take part in Dance UK’s Dancers’ Mentoring Programme 2015/16. Organised by Dance UK in partnership with Dancers’ Career Development, the programme recognises the huge potential for dancers to become leaders. It is designed to build capacity within the dance workforce and to ensure skills and knowledge retention in the sector, addressing problems of succession to key artistic and non-artistic roles.

Jennifer Curry, Executive Director of Dancers’ Career Development states: “Dancers are inherently curious, forward-thinking and eager to learn and the Dancers’ Mentoring Programme offers the opportunity for this diverse group of future leaders to be supported on their individual journeys. Dancers’ Career Development is a proud partner of the Dancers’ Mentoring Programme, which is an important component of our broad programme of support services that empower all dancers to consider, identify and excel in careers beyond performance.” 

Over eight months, each dancer will meet with a high level, paid mentor to discuss and consider a future beyond or alongside their performing careers. Dancers will also be able to identify transferable skills, build confidence and develop leadership potential.

As part of the collaboration between Dance UK and The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora (ADAD), the programme also supports 2 dancers who have been identified as future leaders through the ADAD Trailblazer Fellowships 2015/16.

The dancers selected to take part in the 2015-16 mentoring programme are:

  1. Annette Brandanger – Dance artist, artistic director and dance teacher
  2. Arunima Kumar – Artistic director, Arunima Kumar Dance Company and Arth Foundation
  3. Daniela Cardim – Choreographer, Ballet Teacher and Company Manager
  4. Daniela Neugebauer – Dancer
  5. Gwyn Emberton – Dancer/Choreographer
  6. Jaivant Patel – Jaivant Patel Dance
  7. James Streeter – Junior Soloist at English National Ballet
  8. Jason Reece Boyle – Dance Artist – Sports Therapist
  9. Jenni Wren – Dance Artist and Physical Therapist
  10. Jorge Crecis – SQx artistic director
  11. Katherine Nietrzebka – Teacher and dance artist
  12. Kristin Kelly Abbott – Dancer/Choreographer
  13. Mbulelo Ndabeni – Director, N’da Dance Company, dancer, choreographer and teacher and ADAD Trailblazer
  14. Mickael ‘Marso’ Riviere – Bboy and Creative Director, Company Decalage
  15. Mira Balchandran – Dancer, Teacher, Co founder and Co  Artistic Director of SANKALPAM
  16. Mirjam Gurtner – Dance Artist
  17. Nefeli Tsiouti – Dancer, Lecturer in Dance, Founder & Manager of Project Breakalign
  18. Sara Dos Santos – Independent Dance Artist / Choreographer / Artistic Director
  19. Urja Desai Thakore – Dancer/ Choreographer/educator
  20. Yami ‘Rowdy’ Löfvenberg – Performer/Teacher/Artistic Director and ADAD Trailblazer

Successful 2015/16 applicant Arunima Kumar, says; “I’m super excited about the Dance UK mentorship program. I believe in the approach and process and am confident that it will strongly enable, empower and inspire me to be an effective performer, choreographer and teacher and support me to establish myself as a future dance leader in the UK. I look forward to this amazing opportunity and can’t wait to begin”.

Previous mentored dancers have found the programme to be of great benefit and many have progressed into leadership positions or taken on leadership responsibilities within their current roles. Patricia Okenwa, dancer on the 2014-15 programme, says; “This programme has been absolutely invaluable to me. I feel I’m in a completely different place in how I feel about my work and my situation than a year ago… Now I have gained confidence in myself and my work and understanding of how and what I can do in order to achieve my goals. I also feel more connected to the dance Community and that there are more avenues open to me to gain support for my work.”

The mentoring programme selection panel, chaired by Dance UK, included a group of leading dance professionals who all generously offered their time. The panel included Marie McCluskey MBE, Founder and Artistic Director, Swindon Dance; Benjamin Dunks, Artistic Director, Attik Dance; Stine Nilsen, Co-Artistic Director, Candoco Dance Company; Dr Scilla Dyke MBE, Senior Lecturer, Royal Academy of Dance; Monique Deletant Bell, Freelance Strategic Projects Advisor, Akademi and ADAD Board Member; Jennifer Curry, Executive Director, Dancers Career Development, and Jan De Schynkel, former dancer, teacher, choreographer and Arts Council England Relationship Manager.