PHILADANCO in rehearsals

2017: Serendipity’s review of the year

2017 has been a milestone year for Serendipity, so we thought we would take a look back at the last twelve months and share with you some of our highlights.

A snowy day in February, saw the first official event of the year with a Lost Legends Exchange with Dr Kehinde Andrews, one of the academics leading on the first Black Studies degree in the UK at Birmingham City University which launched in September. Kehinde was the perfect speaker to kick off the 2017 Lost Legends programme, celebrating and recognising the contribution of African and African Caribbean community to the cultural landscape of the UK.

Dr Kehinde Andrews
Dr Kehinde Andrews


March saw the launch of LDIF+ and the first instalment of Developing Your Choreographic Voice, with Catherine Dénécy, Cameron McKinney and Sharon Wray. The course proved a great success in introducing a year round programme of continued professional development, and providing opportunities for dancers and choreographers in the UK to international dance techniques and practice.

29 April marked International Dance Day and the launch of Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2017. Urban Bush Women took to the King’s Ballroom at The Grand Hotel with Grammy award winning jazz composer George Caldwell, which left audiences spell bound. The festival also saw the UK debut of PHILADANCO, who presented a mixed bill of thought provoking work showcasing their technical skill. Led by their trailblazing founder Joan Myers Brown, who has shaped the international dance ecology by founding (amongst other things) The Philadelphia School for Dance Arts, PHILADANCO and the International Association of Blacks in Dance. We had the privilege of hearing her story alongside the other contributors at LDIF17’s conference, which will soon be published as part of Identity and Choreographic Practice.

PHILADANCO lead workshops with Gateway College
PHILADANCO lead workshops with Gateway College


In June, Serendipity received some exciting news from Arts Council England, receiving a conditional offer to become a National Portfolio Organisation, as part of increased investment in arts in the region. For Serendipity, this means the chance to continue to develop a year-round programme of events and activities bringing cultural diversity to the forefront; showcasing internationally acclaimed work alongside supporting and nurturing emerging talent. We also hosted another Lost Legends Exchange with an inspiring talk by Ben Brown, Chief Operating Officer at De Montfort University.

Serendipity made a trip to Athens in July to attend the fiftieth world congress of UNESCO’s International Dance Council. This trip provided a great insight into international dance research and the opportunity to build new networks.

In August, Serendipity were very kindly provided with a new office space on De Montfort University campus to accommodate the growing team. Being based on campus has been fantastic for Serendipity, building a partnership and being able to work closely with the students and staff at the university on exciting projects and opportunities.

September saw a trip to Glasgow, where I was invited to present a keynote talk at Project X’s Let’s Move Towards More Visibility Symposium, which aimed to action more visibility of culturally diverse practitioners in the arts sector in Scotland. It was a great honour that Let’s Dance International Frontiers and Black History Month as examples of good practice.

At the end of September, Pauline Black, singer of the Ska band, The Selecter, officially opened the Lost Legends Exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum and Gardens, marking the start of a month of event to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Black History Month. The Guardian’s coverage of Lost Legends resulted in over 192,000 views of the Lost Legends film via their Facebook page.

October had a full programme of events ranging from a well-received rehearsed reading of Amani Naphtali’s Ragamuffin, to two engaging talks for BlackChat from Ivan Browne, a leading health consultant, and Victoria Northridge, former collections manager at Black Cultural Archives. Serendipity also supported four emerging Black artists to develop and showcase their work as part of BHM Live. Serendipity also presented a series of films including sold out screenings.

November saw the second instalment of Developing Your Choreographic Voice Two, with Catherine Dénécy, Dr Sharon Wray and Cosimo Keita Cadore with each practitioner bringing their own expertise in movement and rhythm. The course was attended by participants from a range of creative practices; dancers, choreographers, actors and musicians all benefiting from the opportunity to delve deeper into improvisation and their own creative processes.

Catherine Dénécy at Developing Your Choreographic Voice 2
Catherine Dénécy at Developing Your Choreographic Voice 2


November also saw Serendipity in partnership with De Montfort University make a successful application to Innovate UK for a Knowledge Transfer Project exploring the development of digital technologies in the creative industries. We’re looking forward to seeing this project formally start in 2018.

Now that the 2017 is drawing to a close, we’re looking forward to the exciting things that 2018 will bring. For more information, keep tuned to the Serendipity blog and social media for all the news on things to come next year!