Prepare to be DAZLed

Young aspiring dancers of Yorkshire are set to dazzle audiences, in a number of performances across the region. These performances will be the product of an exciting new project, Yorkshire Connection: a collaboration between Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL), Rees Dance and Wayne Sables Project funded by Arts Council England’s “Grants for The Arts”

Ian Rodley of DAZL, Caroline Smalley & Gavin Rees of Rees Dance & Wayne Sables of Wayne Sables Project

The aim of the project is to provide the level of dance training only available at some of the country’s finest schools, to disadvantaged areas of Leeds.

Award winning Children’s Charity DAZL was founded in 2000 and funded by Leeds Public Health, with the goal of “improving the health and wellbeing of young people aged 3 – 19 years, through dance as physical activity in disadvantaged communities across Leeds.” DAZL’s sessions range from street, cheer, hip-hop to creative and contemporary dance.

Commenting at the beginning of the project, DAZL Director Ian Rodley stated:

“It’s amazing to start such a huge project that will benefit so many of Leeds young people. Physical health has so many positive, knock-on effects in a child’s development, from mental health to developing strong work ethic. Yorkshire Connection is breaking down the barriers for these young people and they now have some of the best dance education available to them on their doorstep.”

West Yorkshire based dance artistes Gavin Rees and Caroline Smalley of Rees Dance, trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds and have since performed with some of the UK’s leading contemporary, ballet and physical theatre companies. They have drawn upon this experience, to provide the young dancers at DAZL with weekly technique classes and have worked collaboratively to create to two new performance pieces.

Gavin Rees, Artistic Director of Rees Dance, commented:

“It’s amazing to be a part of something that will have such huge benefits to these kids. We’re already seeing amazing results and can’t wait to continue and put on some great performances.”

Wayne Sables Project’s involvement in the collaboration has resulted in the production of a short film, which depicts the young people at DAZL, coming together through a passion for dance, in their own communities.

Commenting on the support of both Rees Dance and Wayne Sables Project, Mr Rodley added:

“We have some of the best creative minds in dance working for us on this project, but the best thing about it is the focus on Yorkshire artists. We have a Yorkshire project, with Yorkshire companies, providing something amazing for the benefit of kids across Yorkshire”.

The project will culminate in a performance at Morley Town Hall on Wednesday 28 March 2018 as well as youth dance platforms throughout Yorkshire, over the coming months.


This post was written by Daniel Cawdron using the Create an article for South Leeds Life page.