MDI Merseyside Dance Initiative
Inspiring people through dance

Moving Dance Forward

MDI and DANCE MANCHESTER, are proud to have launched a new North West Associate Dance Artist Scheme, Moving Dance Forward. Bringing together partner organisations; The Lowry, Unity Theatre, Contact & the University of Salford.

The strategic partnership between the two National Portfolio Organisations of Arts Council England aims to develop a more sustainable dance sector, developing and strengthening links between artists inside and beyond the region and creating more opportunities for artists to create and tour work.

MDI artistic director Karen Gallagher MBE said a key element of the vision was to attract partners to help realise the vision for the North West.

She added: “Our aim is to make the region a place where dance artists can live, work and thrive, where the highest quality dance is on offer at venues and audiences for dance are growing. And in the current economic climate it is vital that organisations and artists work together to secure the long-term goals of the sector.

“This vision is a call to action for the dance community. We all need to think differently about how we work and how we communicate what we are doing to funders, decision-makers and audiences. We need to be innovative in our partnerships, generous in our ways of working and much more vocal about how our work contributes to the financial and cultural buoyancy of the North West region,” she said.

The inaugural Moving Dance Forward Associate Artists were selected jointly by all partner organisations and they are: Joseph Lau, Chris Owen, Bridget Fiske & Lisi Perry, respectively.

JOSEPH LAU, originally from Australia, is a North West based dance artist, creating political works dealing with themes including; social justice & economics. Joseph hopes that the MDF Associates will support him to deepen his choreographic craftsmanship & take his work onto broader North West and national platforms. Learning of his MDF success, Joseph said,“I am surprised, encouraged and delighted to be a chosen Associate. It is an honour to be recognised for the work that I have made to date and it strengthens my resolve to be the best that I can be, as a North West based artist.”

CHRISTOPHER OWEN is a dancer, teacher, choreographer & sound designer. His interests lie in sound design & architectural body structures. As an Associate, Christopher will use the support for personal development opportunities outside of the North West, to support the touring of his current work and to build a body of work as an emerging artist. Christopher Owen was pleased that his talent has been noticed and awarded by MDF, “It’s encouraging to be recognised as someone who can potentially lead, support and nurture the North West dance ecology. This grant will give me the luxury of time and space to contemplate what my practise is, and I can’t think of a better way to start than just moving and seeing what happens.”

BRIDGET FISKE is a dance artist, originally from Australia, whose portfolio of work spans; performance, choreography & facilitation. Bridget also has extensive practice making works for public spaces & sited contexts. As a MDF Associate, Bridget aims to develop her ensemble of choreographic skills. This is coupled with developing her profile & networks, with the aim of building opportunities to create new works in dance, theatre, music & digital contexts.
A very content Bridget Fiske exclaimed, “I'm thrilled and honoured. This opportunity will make a significant difference to my work; via deeper artistic investigation, as well as developing artistic partnerships and networks.”

LISI PERRY has been a dance artist for the past 25 years, performing, teaching, choreographing & directing. Her recent portfolio includes large scale, outdoor & site related dance performance, but this pilot scheme will support Lisi’s desire to return to the studio & develop her choreographic style. Throughout the next year she plans to return to the more detailed style of choreography developing personal artistry & building a relationship with dancers & performers over a longer period of time. Lisi was thrilled at being awarded this opportunity, “This opportunity will support me to research and to delve deeper into creating accessible, quirky and physical dance theatre in an unpressurised and supportive environment.”

A Facebook page has been set up where updates on joint activities will be posted and people can pledge their support or share details of opportunities that support the vision.