João Maio Blog

In our May workshop we had the pleasure of working with João Maio. As usual we were challenged but came away re-invigorated! Below are João’s thoughts on the session.

The participants engaged confidently with what was proposed to them, adapting movement material in consideration to their own physicality and interest. Since big part of the participants were regular attendees of these sessions, there was a very supportive and relaxed atmosphere in the studio during the whole day.

During the technique class, the group had a high level of focus and energy – allowing for them to deeply engage and play with set dancing movement material. They had a refined approach to both learning and performing movement, which was made clear as they executed a very challenging contemporary dance technique class.

This high level of engagement and focus was not exclusive to the technique class, remaining constant during the afternoon’s creative session too – where participants delved into tasks that are used as relevant tools for movement composition. During this, attendees worked in both solos and duets, whilst using a variety of imaginary inputs/motifs.

As the last time I taught Yorkshire-based intergenerational group, I was completely inspired – both by the people in the room and their dancing!

Effie McGuire Blog

This past year, I‘ve come to realise that what is really important for me when leading or participating in dance work is the environment that is being crafted and shared. If I had to choose one word to sum up the environment when I walk into the studio to lead a day with YMD, it would have to be the overwhelming sense of community and care.

Having been snowed off in the 2017/2018 season, it was an absolute pleasure to be back amongst many familiar faces (new fresh faces were of course welcomed with open arms too). The first task of the day for me was very much to lure everyone away from their catch up and introductory conversations with my technique class! What I particularly loved seeing as phrases got longer towards the end of class, is how pockets of the room knitted together to work out any sticky bits – there’s a real sense of support for each other in the studio. For me this also is a great opportunity for sharing learning – if I’ve been discussing or working through something with one group and we’ve had a breakthrough moment, I’ll make sure we feed that back to the rest of the room so that everyone can benefit from this new thought process and ensure that we are fostering an approach where shared knowledge can thrive.

Having shared my devised material in the morning, the creative afternoon was a chance for me to set tasks which experimented with how this material could be adapted. So, it was also a chance for the lovely YMDers to put their stamp on things and open my eyes up to the possibilities of where this movement could go. What a fantastic exchange with such a generous community of dancers! Thank you all!

Amy Butler Blog – December 2018

This month I had the pleasure of teaching Yorkshire Movement and Dance for the second time. The first was last September; I facilitated a weekend intensive that culminated in a performance, the whole event being a celebration of the organisations 70th year. 

I am free-lance contemporary dance artist with the privilege of working with incredible choreographers and collaborators and I will always make time to share my practice with Yorkshire Movement and Dance. There are many reasons for this.
Firstly the organisation provides opportunities for mature dance enthusiasts and teachers to train, develop and experience new methodologies and ways of working. In a climate where everything is focused on the youth and supporting emerging talent this in itself is unusual. On top of this they have been doing this consistently and to a high standard for over seventy years, and, self financing to boot!
To add to this they have created an open and generous environment one which is supportive and accessible. When I taught last September I had a large group with an age range of over fifty years and though the group was slightly smaller this time round the atmosphere was equally pleasant.
You might think that in order to have such an integrated group you have to sacrifice quality and ability, already I know this to be complete nonsense through my work in the inclusive arts sector but Yorkshire Movement and Dance also demonstrates this to be a  falsehood. All of the dancers have a level of technique, the ability to work creatively to a high standard and the beauty that comes with experience and one that is rarely seen on stage.
Finally I have a brilliant time sharing my practice with the group. There is an openness and honesty to the dancers and although the workshops are taken seriously we have a lot of fun. Questions are forth coming and there is a busyness to the approach, whether it be nattering about the task or physicalising it, the studio is always active. I have thrown dozens of ideas and methodologies at them now and each one has been embraced. Shelley, an original member and manager of the group, commented that I had offered a ‘box of chocolates’ and I would like to add that a box of chocolates is best shared and enjoyed and due to their willingness I was able to do this.
If you are passionate about dance and are having trouble finding opportunities to move, get in touch with Yorkshire Movement and Dance, they are a rarity in the dance community and need members to keep up the fantastic work.

Barbara Hothersall Blog – November 2018

Today was such a lovely day with YMD.
As I prepared for today I had been thinking about all the years I have been a member of the group and all the times I had taught there too.  Everyone is so responsive to the ideas that are given to them that it makes the experience of teaching the group a very rewarding one.  Today was no different in that respect and I would like to say thank you to everyone who was there.
The morning technique class was lovely.  People were concentrating on todays version of the exercises they were being asked to remember and perform, gradually getting their bodies warmed up and ready to really push themselves.  It was great watching the quality of peoples performance of this work increase, as we repeated exercises and time moved on.  We ended the morning with a phrase that had an emotional aspect to it and as we worked on this it became a choreographic task; everyone performed the movement in their own choice timing, so that there was a mixture of unison and canon timing. It was beautiful  to watch, as such a sense of emotion and performance could be seen.
In the afternoon, I asked everyone to think about how we each live our own individual lives with our various ups and downs, and then we come together to connect to each other with our love of dance – our joy at dancing.  People worked hard and we ended the day with small group performances that were lovely to watch.  Thank you again to everyone that was there 🙂

KJ Mortimor’s Blog from September Weekend 2018

This year our September Season Starter was lead by KJ Mortimer. We had an absolute blast, working with KJ was a joy. We wish she lived closer and could teach us more often. We miss you KJ – come back soon!

Where to start?… I had such a wonderful weekend with lovely lovely people up in Leeds.

I had two days with YMD and by the end of our second day we had a 5 minute work to show for it!

On day 1 we began with a chat to get to know one another, followed by morning class, then learning some repertoire that I am currently working and rehearsing with. We then moved on to creative tasks working in small groups ‘mashing up’ the material learnt to develop other phrases of movement. Before lunch we shared the work the dancers had developed and I had the joy of playing with patterning and structuring their work.

We had a great lunch, a raffle (that I won! What luck!) lots of lovely talking and sharing … then back to dancing and more fun together.
In the afternoon we worked on gestural movement and some duet and trio material. I also had time to structure a beginning to the work that we made together. What a day!

On the second shorter day and with a sharing looming only about 4 hours away, we powered through a full day of dancing and had a fantastic sharing to end.
We began with an improvisation, class followed, then we got down to developing what we had been working on the previous day. We structured the material, rehearsed and prepared all that we had worked on, another lunch and an extra raffle – So much fun …I love lunch and a raffle! The sharing marked the end of our great weekend of dance.

The whole weekend was a joy to lead. I left saying how much I wished I lived closer. I’d absolutely love to be part of YMD – It’s such a beautiful and talented dance community with such a welcoming and generous atmosphere…of course this welcoming feel is created by the kind and generous dancers that lead it. Thank you to everyone that attended, danced, created and smiled the days away. Thank you for having me and I’m sending all my best wishes and hugs to you up north from Chichester.


Anthony Middleton Blog

Our final YMD session of the 2017 – 2018 season was lead by Anthony Middleton. Anthony is one of our regular tutors and always delivers a session that is challenging and enjoyable. His company The Middleton Corpus have recently received Arts Council Funding to create a new piece so keep your eyes on his website and social media for ways in which you can get involved, take part in workshops and watch sharings throughout the creative process.

Below is a short blog written by Anthony about his last session with YMD. (We hope you will return soon too!)

 As an artist I have been increasingly interested in the inherent natural beauty of the body in movement, spending with the Yorkshire movement group has always proved to be a vital source of inspiration in my creative journey. Returning again to work with the group, I have not been disappointed. In this months session, we explored the individual expression, that lies earthed in each of us. Even within our morning class, though there is choregraphed sequences and exercises, I was keen to encourage each member of this group, that the ‘dance’ is happening as a resonance ‘from’ them, ‘through’ them; rather than the more standardised practice of seeking to satisfy the correct positioning or method. 
      My interests lay in trying to enable people to become vehicles for expression, transforming into whatever the visualisation is within the imagination, the topic of the exercise or creative concept. Rather than mimic it, become it. 
     The ranging experiences and qualities of this group have thrilled me, excited me to continue to explore my visions of working collaboratively with artists of all ages and backgrounds, as the beauty of ‘dance’ is resting in each of us, we only need to simply create the frame of mind to channel the body from become ordinary to extraordinary! 
     I hope to return to this wonderful group of folks again, and long to work creatively with them; hopefully an avenue will emerge at some point soon. 
Until next time, keep moving! 

Anthony is running a full day acrobatic workshop for all abilities (just before our Full Weekend Workshop with KJ Mortimer) on Friday 14th September in Leeds. For more information click here.


September Season Starter 2018

Join us on Saturday 15th September and Sunday 16th September 2018 for a whole weekend of dance! 

This year we have enlisted the wonderful KJ Mortimer to lead our sessions!

The two days will include technique classes, repertoire and creative sessions with an informal ‘sharing’ of our work on the final afternoon.
KJ began her contemporary dance training at The University of Chichester graduating with a 1st Class BA (Hons) degree in 2010, after which she went on to join Transitions Dance Company where she toured internationally and gained her Masters Degree in Dance Performance from Trinity Laban (MA). During her professional dance career she has performed for a number of choreographers such as Akram Khan, James Wilton and Balbir Singh. She currently performs for GlassHouse, Lîla Dance, Tim Casson and Katie Green. KJ teaches a full range of ages and styles in both Dance and Yoga. She is the proud leader the Elder Adult contemporary dance company – Retrospectif Dance company and regularly teaches professional class across the country.

Date: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th September 2018.
Venue: Northern School of Contemporary Dance, 98 Chapeltown Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4BH.
Times: Sat 10.00am-4.30pm, Sun 9.45am-2.30pm. Registration from 9.30am.
Prices: £50 full price or £40 for students and all attendees paying by 24th June 2018!
Places are limited! To book you will need to complete an application form and return it with full payment prior to the weekend. Application forms are available by emailing us.

Enquiries to:

September Season Starter 2017

Here at YMD we are beginning to look ahead and get more than a little bit giddy about  our September Season Starter with….


There are only a few places left. To book download our Booking Form by clicking on the file version you would prefer below:

Amy is currently rehearsal director for Akram Khan’s Chotto Desh and in 2012 she performed with him in the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Amy is also a dancer with Stopgap Company and performed in Artificial Things, a set work in the new GCSE Dance specification.
Amy studied at London Metropolitan University graduating with a first class honours in Performing Arts. She completed a Higher Certificate at The Place in 2007 and in 2011 Amy was awarded the Lisa Ullmann Scholarship to complete a Yoga qualification in India. She has worked with Balbir Singh, MotionManual, State of Emergency, Body of Art and Abalino Dance Theatre amongst others.
Dates: Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September 2017
Venue: Northern School of Contemporary Dance,
Times: Sat 10.00am-4.30pm, Sun 9.45am-2.30pm. Registration from 9.30am.
Prices: £50 full price or £40 for students and all attendees paying by 11th June 2017!

Places are limited! To book you will need to complete an application form and return it with full payment prior to the weekend. Application forms are also available emailing us.

Enquiries to:

February Workshop Blog; TC Howard

We spent some hours together on a Sunday.

In the morning – we stretched, lengthened, creased and folded, jiggled, shook and opened up.
In the afternoon we had 2 tasks – we stayed with them and with them and found hidden in them, a language; a shared sense of something dense with detail and meaning.

Taken from TC’s Notebook

watching        listening        in the shadows       being there being seen      being unseen
making an imprint      making your mark       remembering and forgetting

skin bones flesh

small steps to somewhere uncertain      finding certainty       holding and letting go
being present and being distant
knowing and not knowing         coming forward and going back

Dementia Poem – an extract
Everyone has there own puzzle,
There will be ones where you do not fit
If you ever dare make your piece smaller,
Just so you can live there for a bit,
If you keep cutting off all your edges,
One day you wont recognise what you see

Thanks all. TC x

Our 70th Birthday!


Thank you to those of you who attended our workshop in February with TC Howard. It was a really unique and interesting day – blog post to be published soon! Below is a note from our 2016 – 2017 Chair, Gill Crow, as this year is YMD’s 70th the birthday. We hope that you will be able to get involved!

To YMD Dancers,

As we have loved the weekends we have run in the last two years, the Committee are once again organising a weekend of dance in September 2017. Our tutor is yet to be announced but bound to be as good as past tutors Neil Fleming Brown (2015) and Gary Clarke (2016).

Linked to this we are celebrating YMD’s 70th birthday, (Yes it is 70 years since the group was founded!) and looking forward to the group’s future.

Our current thinking is that there will be two strands to the celebration.

  • An Event – We hope to invite past and present members to come for lunch on the Sunday of the September Weekend, and then watch whatever we have devised over the weekend and possibly other bits of dance.
  • A Display – In addition, we hope to gather film/video/photos, experiences, memories and information from anyone connected with YMD and show, display or publicise these in whatever form seems best to promote all that we have done and hope to do in the future.

I am contacting you to see if you would be interested in getting involved. You could help by;
Helping us to organise the event.
Contributing materials, thoughts and memories.
Helping to collate materials, thoughts and memories.

We really appreciate the involvement and support you have shown to YMD, however small or large, and hope that you will continue this through coming to dance with us, and helping us to celebrate and promote this very special group.

If you would like to get involved with our 70th birthday celebration, or have memoirs and materials to share please email us

Thank you!
Gill Crow

2016 – 2017 Chair