In the week when the members of a new company of dancers with a learning disability or autism meet and begin working together in Leeds, TIN Arts and Yorkshire Dance have named the lead artist for the Talent Hub.
Choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard will start working with the dancers in February 2019 to create new work for national touring in late 2019 and throughout 2020.
After twenty years performing in work by many of the UK’s most celebrated dance makers, in 2012 he launched his own company which has toured extensively across the UK and internationally, receiving critical and audience acclaim. He has built an international reputation for creating compelling and visually arresting dance works.
Following a call-out inviting dancers with a learning disability or autism from Yorkshire and the North East of England to apply, 21 of 42 applicants were invited to take part in three selection days.
This week, twelve are taking part in a residential week, getting to know each other and taking part in a range of dance and personal development with the Talent Hub team, led by Artistic Director Tess Chaytor.
The names of the dancers will be announced once the residency is over and all the dancers have been consulted about the experience.
Each of the company members will receive individualised ‘wrap-around’ support, wherever they live, and they will come together several times a year for intensive periods of training and rehearsal.
The Talent Hub is a professional development programme for gifted dancers, created by TIN Arts, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Durham, and Yorkshire Dance, the region’s dance development organisation.
It has been made possible by awards from Arts Council England’s National Lottery-funded Ambition for Excellence Fund programme and from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
The Talent Hub is supported by Inclusion North, which exists to make inclusion real for all people with a learning disability and their families.
With the principles of co-design at its heart, the Talent Hub aims to provoke a step change in the sector, enabling dancers with a learning disability or autism to progress professionally into dance companies or emerge as independent dance makers.
Martin Wilson, co-founder of TIN Arts, says, “From our first conversation about the Talent Hub, I instantly knew Theo was the perfect candidate to work with the dancers involved in the programme. It was crucial to find the right person who would take the time to truly understand our dancers and the potential they all bring to the Hub. Theo’s background, along with his vast performance and choreographic experience, resonate with authenticity. We are really excited to have Theo as part of the Talent Hub team.”
Theo himself says, “I am deeply thankful to the Talent Hub for inviting me to make this work. This commission is incredibly timely as it comes at a moment when I am asking myself questions about visibility, spectrums of difference and who performs the work I create. Supported by TIN Arts’ rich 20 year history of creating vital inclusive work, I see this as a wonderful opportunity to expand my practice and I am excited to collaborate with this group of dance artists to make a memorable new creation that they can truly enjoy sharing with audiences.”