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Artistic Director Karen Anderson talks about Scotland's first inclusive dance festival

Karen Anderson, Artistic Director

Scotland’s first inclusive dance festival - Indepen-dance - launched at Glasgow’s Tramway today as part of Commonwealth Games Culture 2014 and Get Scotland Dancing.

Artistic Director Karen Anderson speaks about the festival programme and the effect of the Games on Scotland’s artistic and cultural landscape.


In 1996 I founded Indepen-dance to create opportunities for people with diverse abilities, and their carers, to enjoy, express and fulfill their potential through dance. Today Indepen-dance is Scotland’s leading inclusive dance development company and we are delighted to be hosting the country's first international inclusive dance festival.

A four-day programme of activity runs from Wednesday 27 August to Saturday 30 August, bringing together dance artists and people from across the globe to share best practice and knowledge as well as showing their work. The festival programme will include workshops, keynote speeches and performances, culminating in a ceilidh on Saturday night.

Part of the Culture 2014 programme and Get Scotland Dancing, the festival is taking place just a few weeks after the 20th Commonwealth Games, an event which had such a positive impact on so many aspects of Scottish life. Bringing the Commonwealth Games to Glasgow has benefited  the local community of Dalmarnock, the wider general public and businesses, as well as creating a rich cultural programme that offered a variety of cultural experience for Glaswegians and all who visited the Games.”

“Many people have an image of Scotland that portrays Scotland as all tartan, shortbread, castles and the Loch Ness Monster.  But the Games have made a tremendous impact on changing this image, sharing our diverse culture and the great variety of talented artists.”

The opening night of the festival includes two performances from the Indepen-dance Performance Company and our acclaimed ensemble dance company Indepen-dance 4, with Christine Devaney’s playful and dreamlike Some Of The Moments We Haven’t Forgotten. This will be followed by our Adult Performance Company dancers who will delight audiences once again with Natasha Gilmore’s moving and funny Now. No. Now.

Thursday night will see performances by Marc Brew (Scotland), Caroline Bowditch (Scotland), Solar Bear (Scotland), StopGap (England) and the UK Premier of Axis Dance Company (USA). Friday night will include work by Alas Abiertas Dance (Paraguay), Culture Device Dance Project (England) and Blast M3 (Scotland), as well as other local Scottish Incusive Dance groups from Orkney, Girvan and Paisley.

As well as intensive workshops, the festival will have keynote speakers including Dr Jenny Elliot CEO of Artscare and founder of Orbit Dance Company, Professor Sarah Whatley BA PhD, Professor of Dance and Director of the Centre for Dance Research/C-DaRE, and Gustabo Fijalkow, a freelancer in Arts Management.

The full programme of workshops, panel discussions and performances can be found at: