In a strong year for performance, over 3000 people saw our work in 2021. We toured Love and Spice to rural venues and The Two Fridas to the North East. We presented work at Sangam Festival, Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance, Newcastle Mela and Edinburgh Mela. We ended our year at Kala Sangam in Bradford with our new show ‘The Wise Ones’, an excerpt of which will be screened on BBC Four and iPlayer next year as part of the Dance Passion series. This show, conceived and directed by Balbir, featured the work of older dancers, including dance legends Guru Pratap Pawar, Bisakha Sarker and Villmore James.
Creative engagement in communities was supported by grants from Leeds Inspired, the Mohn Westlake Fund and Arts Council England. We danced down memory lane in Leeds care homes; shared storytelling walks with the Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods for Thriving Communities, workshopped in schools and in libraries, as part of children’s Healthy Holidays. Our new project ‘Unmasking Pain’ is taking shape. Our partners PIPA, Living Well with Pain, Thackray Museum and Space2 Leeds continue to inspire us.
What hasn’t changed is the quality of our artists, so gratitude goes out to the 26 freelance artists we worked with in 2021. To our core dancers, in particular our regular trio of Abi Eswar, Kali Chandrasegaram and Kimberley Hardy, to regular musicians Jesse Bannister and Joe Harris, to our photographers and filmmakers, Malcolm Johnson in particular.
As 2021 draws to a close, Covid 19 variants are bringing fresh worry and disrupting plans. We are mindful of the impact on artists and communities and face these things together. Despite everything the world throws at us, we continue to be excited for 2022. We’d like to wish you all happiness and health for this festive season and into 2022.