Dance Ahead

Our Story

In 2008 Zoë Leigh Gadd launched Dance Ahead with the aim to broaden theatre audiences in Carlisle. Commercial ventures included fashion events, TV advertising campaigns, living window displays and street theatre in collaboration with Sara Gadd Millinery and 2016 marks a new development in the focus for Dance Ahead’s work.

2015 saw both Living History and #HiddenSpaces15 supported by Grants for the Arts and created through the direction of Zoë Leigh Gadd and Adam Russell.

Both were site-specific immersive dance theatre productions with cast of professional artists and community members aged 6 to 79 years old, presented to 500+ live audience members. A strong team was formed to further develop Dance Ahead.

Nurturing and enabling cross generational opportunities lies at the heart of our work.

We aspire to build stronger communities; foster greater understanding, mutual respect & skills development across age groups. Along with this we offer opportunities to local graduates, youths and aspiring artists to collaborate in professional contexts; retaining talent in the region.

Dance Ahead brings contemporary dance off the stage and into the public domain with a view to raising awareness of the beauty of the art form.

We have a firm belief that there is great potential for the integration of contemporary dance into commercial contexts. We aim to explore, excite, entertain and engage viewers in celebration of artistic talent and innovative visual presentation.

The heady mixture of theatre, dance, music and design cannot fail to cater for a universal audience, clearly offering something for everyone to enjoy.

Dance Ahead is committed to collaboration and equality with the belief that art may be enriched by many diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Access and diversity are central to Dance Ahead’s ethos, predominantly through a cross-generational approach.

Culture can originate from ethnicity, race, nationality, language, philosophy, passion, faith, disability, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, family, country of birth and marital status.

Working from interdisciplinary perspectives allows Dance Ahead to broaden the inclusivity and cultural enrichment of the work produced by the group.

Currently Dance Ahead functions as a not-for-profit unincorporated group with the following aims at its core:

• To create innovative and original Dance Theatre performance works.
• To make Dance, Theatre and Art accessible to all by providing opportunities for audiences and participants.
• To explore, excite, entertain and engage viewers in celebration of artistic talent and innovative visual presentation.
• To educate communities through performing arts.
• To offer collaborative opportunities for local businesses, recent graduates and community members.
• To improve opportunities for cross-generational engagement in the performing arts and raise awareness of local talent.
• To promote and celebrate diversity of societies and individuals.
• To promote health and well-being through partaking in arts activities.
• To improve opportunities and provide arts opportunities in communities throughout Cumbria for residential community and visitors.
• To promote Arts work produced in Cumbria internationally.
• To provide equal opportunity for all.