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Published on: Wednesday August 26, 2020

Arts Connect and producers DanceXchange, are thrilled to share 6 short films from the first phase of the ambitious #DanceConnect project.

#DanceConnect, which ran from May to August 2020, is a dance and digital experiment exploring how we can collaborate remotely across borders and boundaries, using movement and phones.

Every part of the creative enquiry project took place during COVID-19 lockdown so participants could not meet in person, enhancing innovation and creativity.  Dance Artists, Young Dance Leaders and young people from across the West Midlands, specialising in different dance practices, met and worked together on Zoom in 5 groups. Together they explored  “what kind of collaboration is possible when we can’t be together in the same space?  What new forms of dance are possible and what new dance languages can be developed?  How can working digitally enhance and expand practice?

The Dance Artists and Young Dance Leaders also collaborated with Digital Artists Wayne Sables and Anthony Shintai, to capture and exchange movement on phones and laptops, and to further explore the creative enquiry questions.

Check out these fantastic projects on the DX Youtube channel here and learn more about the projects below.

Visit Young Dance Leader Emily Holtom’s blog to read about the process.

#DanceConnect Takeover

Saturday 5 September 2-4pm

Join us on FaceBook for #DanceConnect20 – premiere screenings of work created through the second phase, including creative challenges devised by young people for young people #OneWithNature and #SelfTrio, a documentary of the creative enquiry process, and a live streamed class to try out some of the dance practices used throughout #DanceConnect.    Follow #DanceConnect20

More about the 6 short #DanceConnect Films

B-Dance and Man Made Youth Company

Johnny Autin’s all-male Man Made Youth Company collaborated remotely with Catherine Clissett’s all female dance group from Brewhouse Arts Centre, embarking on an exploratory journey to combine digital technology with movement.  With support from Young Dance Leader Katie Holtom and Digital Artists Wayne Sables, the film is a snapshot of their early exploration.


If it wasn’t hard enough to combine three dance styles already, Jade Barton (Flexus Dance Collective), Iona Waite (ACE dance and music) Faye Adams (LOCO Academy) managed to do this without ever meeting in person.  Tri-Fusion mixes Contemporary, African and Street Dance to create a powerful movement language, that has fuelled young people in the heart of lockdown.   Digital artist Wayne Sables, created a fabulous film to give you an insight into their creative process.


In these strange and isolating times, Anna Lines (Translucent Dance Company) and Jamie-Lee Johnson (Jamie-Lee Dance Company) worked with young people from their youth groups to explore how to recreate the feeling of connection.  They worked alongside Young Dance Leader Sydney Illsley and Digital Artist Anthony Shintai, to create a brief duet.


Rachel Liggitt (Shropshire Inclusive Dance) and Ashley Jordan (Ascension Dance) worked with Young Dance Leader Emily Holtom and young people from their regular groups to combine Parkour with Contemporary Dance . Their collaboration process focused on accessibility and inclusion and this film sharing work in progress was edited by Ashley Jordan.

Afro-Shaolin Warriors

Independent artists Christopher Radford and Oliver Robert Russell had an explosive and empowering time with DanceXchange’s Centre of Advanced Training (CAT) students, taking on the epic challenge of combining traditional Shaolin Kung Fu with Afro-Fusion dance.  Working in collaboration with Digital Artist Anthony Shintai, and with support from Young Dance Leader Lexy Garner, we are thrilled to share their work in progress film.

Contemporary meets Lockin’ & Poppin’

The past few months have seen Jamie-Lee Johnson (Jamie-Lee Dance Company), Anna Lines (Translucent Dance Company), young people from their groups and Young Dance Leader, Sydney Illsley, explore ways to combine the edge of lockin’ and poppin’ with the fluidity of contemporary dance, all through Zoom.  Their film is a snapshot of their adventures, edited by Digital Artist Anthony Shintai.


#DanceConnect is funded by Arts Connect, a development agency connecting and supporting communities across the West Midlands to enable children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life.  Arts Connect also deliver the Bridge programme in the West Midlands for Arts council England. #DanceConnect is produced by DanceXchange on behalf of the wider Dance Development Leaders Network (West Midlands). The creative development process is supported by Artistic Facilitator Orit Azaz, a specialist in creating large scale, outdoor, collaborative performance.