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Animated Edition - Spring 2018
People Dancing: looking to the future

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 Chris Stenton.pdf
Image: People Dancing Glasgow conference 2017. Photo: Rachel Cherry.
People Dancing Glasgow conference 2017. Photo: Rachel Cherry.

Our vision and values

People Dancing creates and develops opportunities for people to experience dance in all its diversity, and drives forward excellence in community and participatory dance practices.

Its vision is of a world where dance makes a positive difference. Its mission is to make engagement with dance important and relevant to individuals, communities and society.

The organisation’s work is underpinned by values defining how we work:

  • Excellence in participation and progression in dance for all
  • Inclusion is at the heart of what we do and why we do it
  • Collaborative actions give greater strength and voice to all involved
  • Openness in our working practices.

Our artistic values give greater strength to our activities and the championing of equality, diversity and inclusion:

  • Placing people, their aspirations, rights and choices at the centre in providing opportunities for individuals and communities to operate creatively and artistically
  • Respecting everyone’s right of equal access to quality experiences in dance of all kinds
  • Not being limited by form, style or convention, and embracing digital possibilities
  • Contributing positively to people’s health and wellbeing, resilience, social relationships and creative learning
  • The development of dance as an artform by highly skilled and professionally developed dance artists and practitioners.

Our aims

We have three strategic aims that define our activities and shape impacts and outcomes. These are to:

1. Take a strategic overview and have UK-wide and international reach, acting as a driving force in developing excellence, nurturing talent and strengthening resilience, and ensuring provision and practice is networked and fit for purpose

2. Develop and sustain strategic alliances and partnerships in order to create new opportunities for individuals and communities to participate

3. Build organisational capacity, resources and resilience, including digital knowledge and innovation, through the critical contribution of staff whilst remaining true to Vision, Mission and Values.

Our plans 2018-22

This is about defining the territory and landscape for our work – and is the basis upon which we have secured National Portfolio Organisation funding from Arts Council England. We will have three strands of work:

Membership and services

We represent, support and provide services to our membership of around 2,500, responding to industry and employer demands and enabling diverse dance artists and teachers to deliver effectively and safely. Membership demonstrates year-on-year growth, and we plan to build on this, on our own and with others. We will continue to provide a counter-signatory service and application processing for the Disclosure and Baring Service, for our own members and by arrangement with other membership bodies including Sound Sense (the community music association) and the National Association of Writers in Education.


We’re re-organising our current learning and creative work into seven programmes, each with a distinct identity but with synergies between them. This will help us to present our work with improved clarify and relevance. The programmes are:

  • Artist development and training

Short courses and innovative digital learning opportunities; quality standards; practice networks; publishing and information services; and a triennial international conference and informal international network (next planned for 2020).

  • 11 Million Reasons to Dance

A creative campaign, touring exhibition and films that profile D/deaf and disabled people who dance; support and opportunities for disabled dance artists, and interventions to support inclusion.

  • The Museum of Us

A ‘living history’ of participatory dance enabling knowledge exchange about quality and an internationally unique learning resource and archive.

  • People Dancing: Together

A large-scale participatory performance project commencing 2019, including artist development and international distribution, the legacy of our learning from London 2012 and Big Dance.

  • Older People Dancing

Practice development, a specialist network, and a new digital learning programme for artists and volunteers; interventions to stimulate new opportunities for older people to participate.

  • Early Years Dance

A new digital learning programme for artists and a specialist network; interventions to stimulate new opportunities for young children and their parents/carers to participate.

  • Dance for Parkinson’s

By continuing to champion the Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK, we will test new approaches to increasing provision and participation and provide a peer network and opportunities to exchange knowledge.

Alliances & partnerships

To achieve our ambitions we will need effective alliances and partnerships with others who share our vision and values. We will work with organisations and networks in dance, in participatory arts, in health and wellbeing, with higher education and industry partners.

We’ll be embarking on a new phase in relationships with five artists and two dance companies as Associates, enabling us to work in depth with internationally respected leaders, support mid-career artists into national leadership roles, and develop planned work and new ideas together. This will help ensure that diversity – of people, and creative practices – is woven throughout our content and delivery. Associates for 2018 include Liz Clark, Louise Katerega, Anusha Subramanyam, Cecilia Macfarlane, Diane Amans, English National Ballet – specifically around dance for people living with Parkinson’s – and Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance – on the creative programme People Dancing: Together.

So, that’s us. What we really hope is that you can see yourself within these plans too. What I’ve described above is a route map, and there will be lots of unexpected discoveries and interesting detours along the way. We’d love you to be involved, and to help shape our thinking and priorities now and in the future.

Chris Stenton

Executive Director, People Dancing


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Animated: Spring 2018