MDI Merseyside Dance Initiative
Inspiring people through dance

Artist Support

MDI wants the dance sector in the region to thrive and be exceptional. We aim to nurture dancers and choreographers by supporting their continued development and providing high quality professional training.

Check this page regularly for information about events and opportunities, and see below for some testimonials from artists who have worked with us.

Professional Class With Guest Artist

MDI's professional class takes place every Friday from 10am to 11.30pm, allowing artists a chance to practice technique and stretch themselves in a class designed for their level of skill and agility, as well as connect with other professional dancers. Artists leading the session do so for one month at a time, although there are guest teachers providing one off master classes throughout the year
Contact Paul Doyle: for details on the artists leading

Moving Dance Forward

Due to a reduction in funding by Arts Council England this programme developed by MDI and Dance Manchester supporting our vision to develop opportunities for dancers and chorographers in the North West is under development pending further investment. Moving Dance Forward Artists in Residence for 2014/15  were  Lisi Perry, Joseph Lau, Bridget Fiske and Christopher Owen.  Please still check our FB page for updates in the future

Artist Support Program

MDI will set up an Artist Support Program (ASP), supported by The Garrick Charitable Trust to develop the skills, practice and promotion of dance artists living in Merseyside. The project will have three strands from January 2016

·      Dance Intensives – a training programme for up to 8 artists to increase the physical fitness, technical prowess and choreographic expertise, not regularly available in this region offering 3 master-classes

·      Resi-Dance – a bursary programme for up to 2 artists, offering a small financial allowance of £1000 each and free studio space to develop their practice, create work and have a mentor

·      Made on Merseyside – a platform event open to the public and industry experts providing an opportunity for up to 6 artists/companies to present their work with the chance to receive feedback from the audience and enable the artists to develop relationships with new venues and presenters in order to export their work further afield.

Additionally MDI will support and develop:

·      Northern Dances – a platform originally devised by Yorkshire Dance, Dance City and Dance Base that now includes MDI and Dance Manchester. An opportunity for one artist/company to take part in 3-4 platforms across the North and Scotland – MDI supports one company with free studio space, mentoring and a small bursary to cover travel and accommodation costs

·      Merseyside Dance Social – a network of dance makers and performers based in Merseyside

For further details contact:

Artist Testimonials

Gary Clarke:

Over the last three years MDI have been a major contributor to the creation and development of my work. Through offering many residencies and creative opportunities I have been able to define my artistic voice and really embed my choreographic practice. In 2012, MDI provided me with a rare opportunity to create a new, innovative project (LUSTRUM) which has gone on to be a major project throughout the UK and is being hosted by many other National Dance Agencies. Not only have MDI provided constant support to developing my work, but they have also provided me with numerous performance opportunities at festivals such as LEAP and City Steps which has exposed my work to greater audiences and other organisations, resulting in me receiving great feedback and gaining further support to showcase my work. MDI brokered the relationship between myself and Taciturn Dance Company where I worked with the company and have since become a collaborator and big supporter of their work. Through working with MDI I have been able to really connect with the North West where my work really seems to sit well. It is fair to say, that without the constant support of MDI, I would not be the artist I am today.

Artist Joseph Mercier and producer Clara Giraud

MDI has supported us in a number of very valuable ways over the past two years.  This has been through a number of informal conversations with Karen Gallagher and other members of the MDI team and two more formal ways: in-kind mentorship from Karen Gallagher for Cruising, Clubbing, F*cking, and a weeklong residency at MDI to develop Throb which included further mentorship support from Karen. 

MDI’s support has been very important in my development as an artist, both in terms of my career and in terms of my artistry.   Karen’s interventions in rehearsal as a mentor for two of our projects, Cruising, Clubbing, F*cking and Throb have been invaluable: her hands-on approach to feedback has both challenged and inspired me and has made a considerable impact on the quality and integrity of my work.  As an early career artist this is a relationship I consider extremely valuable.  

Our weeklong residency at MDI in December 2012 enabled us to develop and create our successful piece Throb, which premiered at The Place in January 2013, with very positive reviews and feedback.  The unlimited access to the studio, mixed with MDI’s hands-off approach to their supported artists, meant we felt free to develop and create at our own pace and work according to the needs of the piece.  This was an extremely productive week, and the success of the piece would not have been possible without MDI’s support.

One particular aspect of dealing with artists the team at MDI does exceptionally well is that they understand that different artists have different needs.    This means that they listen to the particular needs of the artist and/or project and work to find a way to answer those particular needs with the resources they have.  In our case, one particular need we identified was mentorship.  Another was rehearsal space.   MDI answered both these needs and it has had a considerable impact on my artistic development and the reach of my work to audiences.  I wish it was a model other dance and performing arts organisations would follow.