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Stefania Zanetti

Selected artists announced for Yorkshire Dance's three year artist development programme For Art’s Sake

23 July 2019

Gracefool Collective, Lydia Cottrell and Sophie Unwin of 70/30 Split, and Madeline Shann have been selected to undergo a three year artist development programme run by Yorkshire Dance. Yorkshire Dance  and Jerwood Arts will be investing in these three exceptionally talented dance artists/ companies based in the north of England through this long-term artist development opportunity.

This will take place over a 30 month project period, offering extensive opportunities to invest into new dance projects and further develop and increase the sustainability of their careers at a crucial stage.

Gracefool Collective is a feminist performance collective making ‘post­-intellectual-pseudo-­spiritual- feminist-comedy­-dance’ for the modern day era. Described as “fierce”, “farcical” and “offensively powerful” Gracefool mix sharp observation with quick wit and playfulness to create performances which provoke, delight and defy convention.

With their first professional piece well received and second about to tour, the programme will support Gracefool Collective as they build momentum and start their third work, as well as develop their stature as an internationally touring female led dance company.

Gracefool Collective say: “Working closely with Yorkshire Dance will allow us to benefit from their vast experience in allowing artists to interrogate the art form as a practice. We are particularly interested in who we are as regional versus international artists and how Gracefool’s ethos/methods can influence on a micro and macro scale. We’re interested in how this ties in with our vision of being a company interested in undermining and upending social convention.”

Lydia Cottrell and Sophie Unwin of 70/30 Split have been making, performing, producing and curating performance works collaboratively since 2011; crafting ‘brave and boundless’ work which is frank, observant and accessible. Informed by a background in dance, their work traverses traditional forms creating a hybrid language of performance, theatre, dance and cabaret.

 “Cottrell and Unwin are as touching as they are resolutely fearless.” – The Guardian

70/30 Split say: “Having guaranteed and dedicated support for three years is something that is not often seen but is greatly needed! As performers, performance makers and directors of a festival we are excited at the prospect of being able to refine, reflect on and deepen our practice and collaborative relationship. Dance for Art’s Sake will be an opportunity for us to really get our teeth into making and researching new work, getting current work out into the world whilst developing our future shaped vision for the company and all its different strands.”

Madeline Shann creates challenging yet accessible solo and group dance theatre for people who are afraid to try it. Her performances are an interplay of movement and words, laugh-out-loud entertainment while addressing uncomfortable political questions.

About her selection for the programme Madeline says: “I have experience working with Yorkshire Dance and I admire their progressive, diverse and experimental programming, and the way they support artists. I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to build a closer, longer-term working relationship with them. It is hugely valuable to me to have the opportunity to be making work in a properly supported environment which still gives space to play, experiment and think outside the box. In particular I am interested and keen to explore further how I can renegotiate the relationship with my audience.”

Yorkshire Dance and Jerwood Arts are very excited about starting a three year journey with these talented northern artists in response to the significant need for longer-term, more varied and in-depth artist development opportunities.

www.yorkshiredance.com