About us

Dance Umbrella is London’s international dance festival, celebrating 21st century choreography across the capital.

Dance Umbrella’s mission is to celebrate 21st century choreography. We do so enthusiastically and collaboratively through an annual, international London festival, through year-round creative learning opportunities for all ages, and by developing choreographic talent. Our aim is to entice audiences, nurture artists, innovate practice, and stimulate interest in the power of the body in motion.

Since 1978, Dance Umbrella (DU) has been bringing outstanding contemporary dance to London, presenting more than 739 artists from 34 countries to over one million people. The first to present Mark Morris, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Michael Clark and many more in the UK, DU has commissioned over 80 new works and presented at 72 different venues ranging from Smithfield Market to the British Library, from canal long boats to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink, from car park rooftops to outer London parks.

In 2013, Emma Gladstone was appointed Artistic Director & Chief Executive, introducing an ambitious new artistic vision and a new dynamic profile. Her goal is to take dance out and bring audiences in:

  • By expanding the definition of contemporary dance to include a wide range of movement forms, inviting artists working in and reflecting on the modern world in whatever style they choose
  • By reaching out to new audiences through commissioning new work, developing partnerships with non-dance venues (e.g. Young Vic, Unicorn), and forming an orbital touring network with arts centres in outer London boroughs

DU meets the need for an independent catalyst that can look, think and move differently. One that can shine a new light on the art form, and can play on an international stage by seeking out the most creative ideas, partners and locations to create extraordinary art with exceptional artists and make it accessible and engaging to audiences.

A creative force that can develop artists, audiences and the art form itself.

Arts Award

Dance Umbrella is an Arts Award Supporter. Arts Award is a unique range of multi-level qualifications for children and young people aged up to 25 years to develop as artists and arts leaders, developing and sharing their creativity, leadership and communication skills. It provides opportunities for individuals, schools and youth groups to connect to the world of professional artists.

Dance Umbrella will provide opportunities for young people to engage with the festival and festival staff. Each year the programme will include professional performances specifically for children and young people, providing opportunities linked to that work as well as other shows in the festival. These will broadly include the chance for young people to see international contemporary choreography, to review shows, obtain first-hand knowledge of how an arts organisation and dance festival works, have access to festival artists, participate in one-off performances, and opportunities for short term work placements.

How Dance Umbrella can support your Arts Award:

  • Join one of our workshops, performance projects or digital projects as a participant to work with professional artists and connect with other young artists. Ideal for Bronze Award Part A: ‘Explore the arts as a participant’
  • Performances and events. Ideal for Bronze Award Part B: ‘Explore the arts as an audience member’ or Silver Award Unit 1 Part C: ‘Review arts events’
  • Contact us directly to talk with our Creative Learning Producer about Bronze Award: Part D: ‘Arts skill share – passing on arts skills to others’; to lead practical aspects of your arts project for Silver Award Unit 2: ‘Supervised arts leadership’; or to work towards your ‘Arts challenge’ for Silver Award Unit 1 and how we could support you through our programme

For more information on any of the above please contact:
Molly Sanders, Learning and Participation Manager molly@danceumbrella.co.uk

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