TeesDance is a leading sector support dance organisation dedicated to promoting and developing the dance sector in the Tees Valley region. Through innovative programs, partnerships, and advocacy, TeesDance strives to create opportunities for dancers, choreographers, and audiences, fostering creativity, diversity, and excellence in the field of dance.
‘Everyone can dance but not everyone gets the chance’ is the founding principle of TeesDance which aims to transform the dance sector in the Tees Valley with an exciting programme of development. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience dance in all its forms and are launching a pioneering two-year programme funded by Arts Council England, the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and a number of local authorities, including Darlington Borough Council via the Heritage & Culture fund (Creative Darlington) budget. Dance in Tees Valley, Ecology, Growth and Creativity aims to resource and develop the dance sector and workforce in the region, engaging with more than 25 freelance creative practitioners.
Working as an umbrella organisation to build networks and foster partnerships with freelancers and existing organisations, as well as championing the work of local artists and challenging perceptions of who it’s for and what can be achieved, TeesDance aims to open up the transformative world of dance to children, young people, adults and seniors.
TeesDance believe Dance in Tees Valley, Ecology, Growth and Creativity represents a pivotal catalyst for growth, addressing the longstanding underfunding and neglect of the dance sector in the Tees Valley area. Arts Council England has designated the Tees Valley Combined Authority area as a ‘Priority Place’ and this injection of over £170k investment is expected to revitalise and develop the dance sector and workforce.
Amy Swalwell, Executive Producer at TeesDance, emphasises the organisation’s commitment to providing equal opportunities for all individuals to experience high-quality dance, regardless of their background or location. “Everyone can dance but not everyone gets the chance, and here is where TeesDance aims to meet gaps in provision and provide opportunities for all to experience high-quality dance, no matter who you are or where you live”.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “As we continue to boost our creative and cultural sector, we’re delighted to support this important and exciting dance initiative. TeesDance’s ambitious vision will boost jobs by contracting over 25 local freelance artists over the next two years and helping to develop the sector. It will also bring dance to thousands of participants and audiences while attracting visitors to support our towns, centres and communities.”
In a strong show of support for the dance sector, local authorities including Darlington Borough Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council have pledged their commitment to the programme. As part of this commitment, they will provide seed commissions for the creation of new dance performances for the region’s annual festival programmes in 2025, including Darlington’s Railway Celebrations and the Stockton International Riverside Festival. Darlington Borough Council supported TeesDance’s earlier MoveUP programme, which incorporated regular dance activity and a showcase sharing event at Darlington Hippodrome, and we are delighted to be backing this two year programme.
Patricia Suarez, Creative Producer at TeesDance, adds, “Our region has produced some amazing dancers, choreographers and producers but with very few jobs available in dance in the Tees Valley, we are losing all this incredible talent to other areas. We hope that this programme will not only encourage these dancers to stay and work in the area but also develop a new generation of professional dancers who will make work in the Tees Valley.”
TeesDance invites individuals, organisations, and communities to join them on this exciting journey of transformation and exploration through dance.
“Dance is great at any age, from classes for children through to care home activities. Everyone can dance, those who are able-bodied, or have a physical or learning disability. And it is transformative. Who doesn’t feel better after a dance – whether it’s a disco for one in your bedroom or a salsa class in a village hall! We can’t wait to create inclusive dance experiences for participants and audiences, both new and existing.”