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Deltebre Dansa - developing team Afrocats

As we grow and develop as an organisation we must also support our team to do the same. We were pleased to be able to support Maisha, one of our project producers and dancers to help develop her practice. Maisha told us about her experience of attending Deltebre Dansa an international performing arts festival and professional training intensive for contemporary dance professionals.

"Held every year in the small town of Deltebre two hours south of Barcelona, Spain, the festival hosts up to 1000 dancers over two weeks, alongside 20+ internationally renowned teachers and 20+ shows held over the two weeks. Attendees were split into 5 groups with approximately 60 dancers per group. Each group had a different timetable of teachers with various overlaps between groups.

"I specifically selected Green Group for the teacher Sade from Alleyne Dance in week one and Horacio Macuacua in week two, both of whom use African dance principals integrated with their contemporary dance practice. Hybrid diaspora dance practices are my specific interest for creative, personal and career development.

"Before attending the event I was both apprehensive and excited. As a duel dancer, racialised as black in the UK, I often suffer from imposter syndrome in predominantly white, middle-class contemporary dance spaces, leading me to feel uncomfortable being my “whole self” in these spaces. I was most excited to have the opportunity to dive back into my technical training. As a freelance performer who has been in the industry for 10 years, it is rare to have the opportunity to invest in technical dance improvements.

"The event was superb and surpassed all my expectations of quality and technical excellence, community culture, diversity integration, and dance style verity. Throughout the two weeks, I felt I had “entered a dream” as the experience was so complete and perfect. I was living and breathing dance every day. My passion for this industry was entirely revitalised, along with added validation of my previous knowledge and skill set, this experience was pure contentment; physical, mental, spiritual and career progression.

"Any apprehension I felt about being an ethnic minority or having a different creative approach, and being distant from my dance school training was alleviated by the end of the first day. Deltabre Dansa is the most inclusive and diverse dance space I have ever been in across; gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, culture and nationality. Allowing me to experiment with my approach as an attendee without internal judgment or tension and without fear of appearing “too much” too masculine, loud, explosive (in my movement language) colourful in language or clothing etc.

"Any imposter syndrome I had brought with me from home was alleviated entirely, each internal judgment, myth or obstacle obliterated by the embodiment of opposite, positive truths presented before me. I now know I am most at home dancing in diverse spaces this is something I intend to seek out from now on and continue to build in my work with Afrocats.

"I returned to Manchester reinvigorated. I was inspired to integrate the lessons of Deltabre into my personal creative practice and my teaching practice, with Afrocats. I felt as connected to my body and my contemporary dance practice as I did when I was 19 years old and at the beginning of my professional journey.

"The whole experience of my Deltabre intensive was a lesson in bravery; from the application process, dancing with new people, travelling after COVID, speaking my mind, dancing as my full self and continuing working in a vocational industry now I’m home. As a result of my experiences, I have a new vigour and “life force energy” that is already being shared with my participants at Afrocats.

"Energy and well-being are at the centre of Afrocats principles. My sponsorship for this intensive is a perfect example of a circular investment, my knowledge and development will have a direct and positive impact on those I work with in the future, both clients and colleagues. Afrocats is a pioneer in the scale of reach, impact and imagination in relation to its relative size.

"I believe that Magdalen’s foresight, her awareness of the deep importance of this dance experience for my life well-being and career, demonstrates her deep commitment to cause and her ability to action Afrocats principles at all levels of the charity ensuring, empowering life-changing experiences for her staff and not simply the communities we work with."

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Reaching Communities Fund we have been able to grow and develop as an organisation, but to continue to grow we need your support. Every donation made goes directly to supporting Afrocats to achieve brilliant things. You can make a donation here.


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