Let’s Talk

Let's Talk

Let’s Talk … is a great chance for you find out about, and chat with, some amazing dance artists based in Hull and further afield who have worked with Hull Dance during the last 12 months. It also gives us a chance to introduce new artists who we would like to work with in the future.

These chats are a fantastic opportunity to catch up with what the artists have been doing and find out about their next projects. The sessions use Zoom so you can ask questions and share your thoughts as the sessions take place. If you would rather just listen that is fine too.

Series one

A Chance to Meet 7 of our Partner Artists

If you missed the live chats or, want to revisit one, see below to find each in four handy bite size sections so you can watch a whole session, or just dip in when you have 10 minutes

Session 01

Creative Collaboration:
Dance and Visual Arts

Guest Artist: Jo Ashbridge

Session preview

Jo Ashbridge is a Hull-based performer, choreographer, dance teacher and events
producer. She studied HND Physical Theatre at the University of Salford (2003) and BA
honours Dance at Liverpool John Moores (2006).

Since then she has had a varied career in dance both in Hull and the Northwest; working in
dance & health settings with MDI and Movema Dance Company (Liverpool) and working
extensively as a Community Dance Practitioner and Dance Maker/Performer in partnership
with Hull Dance, MDI, Yorkshire Dance, Absolutely Cultured and Hull City Arts Unit.
Her work began to take a more collaborative approach in 2014: winning Turn Prize (hAb
Arts, Dance Manchester & Contact Theatre) for solo dance & digital projection piece Going
places, producing Danza! Collaborations – a performance event involving 25 artists of
different artforms from Hull & Yorkshire, and later co-founding performance company Tamar
& Jo with fellow dance maker Tamar Draper, which focuses largely on collaboration with
costume design. With Tamar & Jo she has performed at Freedom Festival Hull, Yorkshire
dance’s No Dress Code, SLAP Festival York, and hAb Arts’ Emergency Manchester, and
received mentoring from Lea Anderson MBE and Wendy Houston (DV8, Forced

Jo’s session will look at collaboration between dance and visual artforms: film, digital
projection and costume. She will talk about and show examples of her work in this area,
including her prize-winning solo and digital projection piece Going Places, music video for
The Swimmer by Cinematic Orchestra’s Phil France, and work by performance company
Tamar & Jo, who have recently collaborated with costume designer Sophie Donaldson
(Royal Opera House, Trinity Laban, The Place). She will also talk about her event Danza!
Collaborations and how it facilitated collaborations between dancers and artists of a wide
range of artforms, as well as opening up a discussion and Q&A around the subject.

Session 02

Guest Artists: Yael Flexer and Nic Sandiland

Flexer & Sandiland - Creating Dance & Digital

Session preview

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Yael and Nic’s work centres on generating a sense of intimacy and informality in live performance and digital installation, in a way which acknowledges the physicality and presence of the viewer. They work independently as well as together as Flexer &Sandiland.

Yael Flexer – originally formed the company as Choreographer in Residence at The Place Theatre, London. To date she has created 13 full-length productions for the company, touring throughout the UK & internationally.  Flexer & Sandiland has been commissioned to create live and/or digital works for among others: Brighton Dance Festival & Digital Festival, Sadler’s Wells, Woking Dance Festival, The South Bank Centre, Barbican Centre, London & Cinedans (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The company has recently completed a winter 2020 touring season of Curiouser a co-production for family audiences created with Norwegian company dybwikdans. Flexer & Sandiland’s digital work The Hum commissioned by Brighton Festival & touring as part of Without Walls Festival Network premiered in May 2017 and will complete its UK tour in summer 2021.

Yael regularly leads choreographic labs, workshops, professional training and mentoring internationally. She completed her PhD in 2013 and co-directs mapdance, the University of Chichester’s postgraduate repertoire touring company.

Nic Sandiland – is a UK based artist whose work explores new choreographic forms through installation, performance and film. He originally trained as an electronics engineer before studying dance and performance in the late 80s. Over the past 20 years he has made movement-based works focusing on simple pedestrian choreography. He is particularly interested in engaging the everyday movements of the viewer in a choreographic context and since 2000 has increasingly employed interactive digital technology to do this.

Recent work has drawn on cinematic techniques, such as slow motion and moving camera mechanisms as ways to elevate the mundane and often overlooked choreography of everyday life. He has made work in London, Europe and South East Asia and has presented at theatres, art galleries, and many unusual venues. His film work has been shown worldwide and has been regularly broadcast on UK TV (Channel 4).

Nic has taught workshops on digital technology and dance around the World including: Bangalore, India and Seoul, South Korea. He also taught video production for 10 years at London Contemporary Dance School (MA dance for camera) and is a senior lecturer in fine art at Middlesex University.

You can checkout past works at www.flexerandsandiland.com

In this session Yael & Nic will show excerpts from some of their live & digital works made over the years, including Gravity Shift (2010), Disappearing Acts (2016) and their work in progress Acting Our Age (2020). They will discuss key themes and how they approach making and collaboration with their team of performers, writers & designers as well as each other.  The session will conclude with a Q&A open to questions from those attending the talk.

Session 03

Guest Artists: Živilė Virkutytė

Instinct over technique

Session preview

Živilė Virkutytė
  Živilė studied Theatre Practice at the University of Hull. Her various collaborations and performance experiences have been based in Berlin, Paris, Israel, Italy, UK, (London, Leeds, Hull, Brighton) and Lithuania.

She is drawn to a multidisciplinary approach of making theatre. For the last 5 years, her main focus was on how movement and performance art can work together not only with other art forms, but find close connections with such disciplines as science, digital technology and philosophy. Her recent research has moved even further afield and found close connections between ancient yoga philosophies, neuroscience, trauma psychology and performance art. 

Živilė’s session will focus on the approaches that she has found to be useful when creating performance, so that it leaves the audience space to reflect, mirror and explore their own emotions, senses and experiences rather than just consuming staged concepts.

It will also explore the equally important area of finding ways to talk about viewing art, especially something that is less defined, less explained and more instinctual. Through a short, emptying exercise we will get glimpses of how it is to be truly a part of a shared experience. Does learning to articulate sensual experiences of the artworks lead towards a more empathetic understanding of ourselves, and the world?

Session 04

Guest Artists: Anusha Subramanyam

Dance, Dance Wherever You May Be

Session preview

Anusha Subramanyam is a Bharathnatayam dancer who performs and teaches
internationally. She is the artistic director of Beeja, a London based dance Theatre
Company. She is seen as one of the most exciting exponents of Bharatanatyam in the UK,
working both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ its traditions. She has extended and expanded the
boundaries of a traditional dance form to make dance more appealing, accessible and
inclusive. Anusha has choreographed a wide range of performances and collaborated with
artists from a variety of disciplines to create cutting edge work that is accessible, entertaining
and thought-provoking. An inspiring performer, dance maker, teacher and curator she has
focused on integrating dance, education, somatic and contemplative practices into her work. 
Anusha was the Programme Director for Dance India 2008-2010, an International South
Asian Dance Summer School at Lowry in Manchester, produced by Milapfest, a Liverpool
based South Asian Arts organisation. She was Subject Leader for Bharatanatyam at the
CAT (The Centre for Advance training) programme in Birmingham from 2008-2016 and
Director of Yuvagati from 2016-2018.   As a performer and an artist, she continues to be
associated and works with other organisations such as Dance Umbrella, Akademi, The
Place, South East Arts, and many others in the UK.
She with her partner Vipul Sangoi have curated Dance Festival Croydon 2016-2019 and
Croydon Mela since 2017.
Anusha was awarded the Asian Women of Achievement Award 2011, in the art and culture
category. This recognised that her work rooted in South Asian dance styles, was trans-
cultural and intergenerational exploring issues of culture, religion, identity, normalcy etc,
through creating choreographic work, with non-dancers particularly people with special
needs and family groups,
Dance and Movement are integral to Anusha and she strives to continually innovate,
develop and create performances with themes that are designed to inspire motivate and

Anusha’s session will explore how dance has always been part of her life, how she can’t
live without the Arts. This is an opportunity to hear a snapshot of her story, how dance got
involved with her! In the last 25 years in the UK, Anusha has made work for children with
Autism, created work with people with dementia and their families, toured classical and
contemporary dance in venues such as rural village halls, theatres and museums even the
London Underground…. Basically, how she has taken dance everywhere – even sung
Bollywood songs with Somalian ladies standing at the bus stop!
Anusha will share her journey of how dance has enriched her life – if you are moved she
may want you to move with her.

Session 05

Guest Artist: Tamar Draper

Why does dance matter?

Session preview

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Tamar Draper is dance maker, performer and teacher she is also half of outlandish Hull
based contemporary dance company Tamar & Jo. In the past few years Tamar has been
involved with community and performance projects led by key artists across the region.

Tamar’s session will reflect on this whopper of a question. At this point in time when many
artists are feeling pretty lost, Tamar (an early career dance artist) will use her own
experiences of working in the sector for the past 6 years to reveal her thoughts. She will
share what excites her in performance, in creating and in teaching. She will consider the
different types of joy she finds in dance and encourage us all to explore being in the

Session 06

Guest Artist: Emma Clayton

Art Starts With People

Session preview

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Emma Clayton is a Northern School of Contemporary Dance graduate, has over 20-years professional experience as a dancer, teacher and choreographer, working mainly across the UK & Germany with NSCD, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Northern Ballet, Yorkshire Dance, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Dance United & DAZL. After founding Ascendance and spending 12 years lecturing in Higher Education Emma established Blood Memory Dance in 2017 to create work in and with communities. In this role she has been Artistic Director and performer for the following projects; 2018 ‘Big Shebang’ R&D ‘Violet’ Cragside Park Hawksworth, Kirkstall Festival, Leeds, summer 2019 Intergenerational project ‘A Journey Through Time’ Kirkstall Art Trail, Leeds and autumn 2019 Tour R&D ‘Counting Planes’ Hawksworth Memorial event Leeds, Yorkshire Museum of Farming York & Bilton Grange & Humber Street Hull.  

Emma’s session will illustrate why she believes art starts with people sharing her ideas for creative exploration directly with people such as collaborating with musicians and film artists and creating partnerships by visiting unusual performance heritage sites including, farming museums, abbey & churches. Exploring how she invests passion and creativity into people and their lives using the art form of dance, engaging harder to reach communities, capturing family life through intergenerational projects such as Big Shebang 2018 (Hawksworth Wood) and Counting Planes 2019 (Bilton Grange).

Emma will consider why she feels it is crucial to recruit people for community participation to make a positive impact and leave a lasting impression. She will discuss why she introduces her cast and crew directly to the community and performance site to inspire creative conversation, rather than rely on making a professional dance piece in a studio.

Finally, Emma will touch on why she decided not to tour BMD on a larger scale and reflect on changes and adaptations she made as an independent artist during COVID-19. Why, she chose not to seek support from public funding rather prioritising her duties as full-time parent and teacher, investing any spare time adapting to online teaching and introducing inclusive dance group Lifelines to online participation.

Session 07

Guest Artists: JoinedUp Dance Company Jackie Goodman and Kirstie Henderson

Mixed Media Dance Collaborations

Session preview

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JoinedUp Dance Company makes mixed media dance pieces using text, motion video and images, music composition, costume and contemporary dance choreography. Since 2017JoinedUp Dance Company has worked with poets Imtiaz Dharker, Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and Scots Makar Jackie Kay, in partnership with BBC Contains Strong Language.  They aim to bring new audiences to contemporary dance by performing in non-theatre venues such as galleries and alternative spaces, engaging cross-arts audiences who may not be familiar with contemporary dance.


In JoinedUp Dance Company’s session Director Jackie Goodman and motion video artist Kirstie Henderson unpick the process of developing mixed media performance, including video clips of the company’s work. In conversation, they will discuss how a process that often seems spontaneous and instinctive is actually part of a structured approach to making mixed media dance theatre. They will discuss the challenges of the collaborative process and the way the work takes shape and talk briefly about future work and the ongoing development of their working process.

Jackie Goodman is director and creative producer for JoinedUp Dance Company. Trained as a visual artist, she has a MA in collaborative arts practice and a PhD in English Literature. She has taught theatre and performance studies, creative writing and visual arts at degree level. Her creative practice involves mixed media work including text, movement, costume and visual elements and exploring the use of non-theatre venues for performance.

Kirstie Henderson is a motion visual artist, creative course producer and filmmaker. She has worked in film, media and communications for over 20 years and collaborates with dance companies, health and wellbeing charities, education and arts festivals. Her work uses a mix of digital and analogue media to create layered narratives comprising figurative and abstract elements. Kirstie also runs Brave Day, a social enterprise that supports individuals, businesses and organisations to flourish creatively.