Snowdrops appearing and birds gradually sitting in pairs rather than on their own in the bare branches of the trees. These are two of the glorious sights that I always associate with the start of February and the first hints that spring is on the way. This year is no different, nature seems unaware that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Elsewhere it seems as if we are all waking up from a long hibernation and preparing ourselves to re-enter the world, however and whatever that we may be for us.

Our present projects seem to reflect this as well. Although we are all still within our little zoom squares our conversations and creative themes have turned outwards. What happens next when we come out of lockdown3? What have we missed most?

Saath, Saath (Together we Can) is a project with young people, some who have an Indian dance background and others with a background in western theatre styles. Led by Anusha Subramyaman, as well as exploring each other’s dance styles and cultures, participants are sharing their experiences of the pandemic and their hopes and dreams for the future.

Time of Our Lives, a community project with families, led by Emma Clayton, Artistic Director of Blood Memory Dance, has also taken a similar turn. The haunting refrain of ‘Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance – You can Dance Through it’ created by talented musician Georgia Jakubiak is reflected by participants in both projects who have highlighted how dancing and moving has carried them through the last year.

The people living with MS, and their friends, who dance with us each Monday morning are busy creating their own version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. This is dedicated to friends they have lost since we last met at their local centre in March 2020. They have not only danced through it, they are now singing through it as well! Our new classes within the Flourish programme are finding their own rhythm and starting to move to their own tune – proving there is no age limit to who can embrace dance and movement.

Behind the scenes the Inclusive Youth Dance Framework, which we are developing in partnership with Hull City Council Arts Team and TIN Arts is moving along at an increased pace, as if eager to meet the public! The way we have sought opinions and input about the framework has changed, there has been none of the face-to-face activity we hoped for, but we have managed to dance together via Zoom as well as discuss things. March will see the end of this stage of development and with it the foundations for an environment where more young people can dance through whatever comes next.

If you would like to get involved with any of the above projects, go to the website or email info@hulldance.com

All these projects are only possible thanks to public funding from National Lottery through Arts Council England and Hull City Council, we are really appreciative of the support which not only keeps us connected with those who we know already but to develop the organisation and dance provision within the city.

Keyna, February 2021