Little Big Dance: Pioneering dance with and for under five year olds

Little Big Dance is a national initiative - with partners DanceEastTake Art and Yorkshire Dance - to pioneer a new blueprint for creating dance with and for under five year olds. 

Stemming from the belief that very young children are an undervalued and overlooked audience for the arts in general but particularly for dance, Little Big Dance supports dance artists to develop the specialist skills and experience needed to work with them. 

Over the course of this three-year programme, eight artists will be selected to work with children aged 0-5 years, in four areas of England with little or no access to the arts, to develop ideas for new touring dance works. All of the artists will pitch their ideas to a Commissioning Circle that includes the Artistic Directors of Dance Umbrella, Edinburgh International Children’s Festival, The Birmingham Hippodrome, the co-Artistic Director of Strike a Light Festival, Starcatchers, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and artists who specialise in making performances for children. Four in total will be selected to progress to the creation stage, and then to tour nationally.

The programme will be evaluated by Dr Angela Pickard from Canterbury Christchurch University, who earlier this month was awarded the Dance Research Impact award from One Dance UK. Dr Pickard will contribute to a best practice toolkit to ensure the wider dance sector can benefit from what’s learned. 

In this first round of Little Big Dance, taking place during 2019/20, four projects by four artists/organisations were selected for development, of which two have now been selected for a national tour. Read about all four artists and their work below. Find out more about who has been selected to be the Little Big Dance Touring Artists here.

Little Big Dance is supported with more than £371,000 investment from Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England; and by Leeds Dance Partnership, Dance Umbrella, Birmingham Hippodrome and Strike a Light Festival.

Funders & Partners