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2023 marks a new era with new trustees announced and the company to become artists in residence at new home, Déda

Today Anjali Dance Company announce the appointment of seven new members to its board of directors ahead of its relocation to the Midlands in October this year.

Rachel Sharpe (Co-Chair) an award-winning arts and participation leader and neuro-diverse creative professional; Kirsty Hillyer (Co-Chair) an independent creative provocateur, bringing participatory practices to evaluation, research and visual art projects; Marianne Schahill-Pape an artist, creative producer and gallery learning specialist; Alex Winstanley an experienced fundraiser, business development and marketing professional; Emily Morris an award-winning Paralegal; Kavita Walia-Derbyshire who has produced and worked on large scale outdoor events and major dance projects and Nicola Smith an occupational therapist and third sector strategic communications lead.

Established in 1995, Anjali Dance Company has empowered people with learning disabilities to establish themselves as dance artists in their own right and has helped to change perceptions of the creative and artistic potential of people with learning disabilities in the UK and beyond.

Anjali perform original work, in collaboration with world-class choreographers, with high production values and tour in the UK as well as internationally.

Over half of the leadership team identifies as having a disability, neurodivergent or has first-hand lived experience of disability within their immediate families.

Commenting on the new appointments Rachel Sharpe, Co-Chair, who is mum to a young man with profound autism, said “I’m absolutely delighted to join the team at Anjali Dance during this very exciting transition for the company. The skills and experience of the board will support the company’s future ambitions and creative programmes, whilst retaining the high quality artistic and production values that have led to Anjali’s long-standing reputation for excellence.”

This year is proving a busy time for Anjali Dance Company.  In January the company welcomed its new Director,  Alex Henwood, who replaced Founder and Artistic Director of Anjali, Nicole Thomson, following her retirement.

This autumn Anjali will start another new chapter in its history when they take up their role as Artists in Residence at their new home at Déda, the Creative Centre for Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Performance based in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter.

Ahead of the move Anjali are currently on the road delivering outreach work in Swindon, Banbury, Worcester, Leicester, High Wycombe, and Birmingham. The workshops are led by people with learning disabilities, with support from practitioners.

The company will also be taking their Young Anjali summer school to Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre and the University of Worcester this August for 6 days of inclusive dance technique, fitness, creative sessions and choreography suitable for people with learning disabilities and associated conditions.

Anjali Dance Company kindly acknowledges support from the following: Arts Council England, Angela Gallagher Memorial Fund, Doris Field Charitable Trust, P F Charitable Trust, Stanton Ballard Charitable Trust.

17 July 2023

“We would like to thank Mike Westwood (Previous Chair), Peggy Holland and Jane Hanson, who recently stepped down from the Board, for all their commitment to the company. And I look forward to working with the Anjali team to help continue the work to develop the company as an international leader in dance.”

Kirsty Hillyer

Co-Chair

“Anjali are excited about starting a new collaboration with Déda, who are known for their exceptional dance programmes and wide-reaching audience engagement. We have 5 very talented professional dancers in the company, so the move will add to our ambitious artistic plans to upscale our work and increase access for other talented individuals with learning disabilities to engage with our company.”

Alex Henwood

Director

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