Wildfire Rising

Wildfire Rising’ is an associate artist programme from Cheshire Dance and Movema that looks to remove barriers of inequality by investing in and supporting dance artists from African, South, East and South East Asian diasporas to make way for the rising of their artistry, representation and development.

The 2021 programme has recruited three North West based dance artists, who are currently taking part in paid, bespoke professional development and reflection as well as receiving a £1.5k commission to support and develop their own dance work.

Through ‘Wildfire Rising’ Cheshire Dance and Movema and are committed to:

  • Investing in and supporting dance artists from African, South, East and South East Asian diasporas to make way for the rising of their artistry, representation and development.
  • Increasing representation of artists from African, South, East and South East Asian diasporas in both of our organisations at all levels.
  • Learning about what the barriers are to African, South, East and South East Asian diaspora artists engaging with our organisations (as participants and artists) and subsequently using the learning to develop the diversity of our organisations
  • Reducing inequalities in dance
  • Learning about the needs of artists from African, South, East and South East Asian diasporas and using our voices and platforms to feed this understanding into wider strategic conversations with ACE and Dance Consortia North West to ensure development of relevant support systems for artists
  • Generating and developing trust and shifting perceptions of our organisations as places where people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds are welcome, valued and feel ‘at home’


Details of the Programme:

Wildfire Rising is made up of three elements:

  1. £1k Bespoke Artist Development support:

Cheshire Dance and Movema are working with each individual artist to devise a package of bespoke support to nurture and develop their practice – delivered by trainers and professionals from African, South, East, & South East Asian diasporas.

Within the professional development element (£1k), the Associate Artist is engaging in:

  • 5 half days of Wildfire Rising group workshops facilitated by Movema, Cheshire Dance and other artists from the African, East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian disaporas.
  • 5 half days of self-directed learning,which will be supported by Movema and Cheshire Dance
  • 2 coaching sessions with a professional coach
  • 2 mentoring sessions with an industry professional from the African, East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian disaporas.

This support package has been designed in direct response to the artists’ needs/ambitions and includes:

  • Personal development & confidence building
  • Business/organisational development
  • Artistic development
  • Fundraising
  • Networking
  • Free access to studio space
  • Training in world dance (particularly for place three artist)

Cheshire Dance and Movema are Executive Members of Dance Consortia North West and both are using this network to advocate and generate further support for the selected artists.

  1. £1.5k commission

Cheshire Dance and Movema are awarding each Artist a £1.5k commission towards the realisation of their own individual artistic project.

This £1.5k is intended as match funding (alongside the in-kind development support) to lever additional financial support from other sources, including potentially ACE Project Grants.

The project can be in any area of practice (performance, professional development, participation) but must have a connection to one of our communities of interest as participants, audience or beneficiaries.

The Wildfire Programmme looks to support new ideas, new models of engagement, innovative and alternative practices and approaches. In supporting new ways of working we, in turn, develop our own knowledge and understanding whilst deepening and broadening the dance experiences available for communities.

  1. £1k Reflection phase:

Cheshire Dance and Movema are committed to learning from and with the Wildfire Rising Associate Artists throughout this process. This learning is important for us to better understand the needs of artists and to develop our artist development programmes and wider offer.

£1k is available for each artist to take part in 5 days of reflective activities with Cheshire Dance and Movema that focus on our organisations, programmes and the support and development the Associate Artists have received and what is needed moving forwards.

Cheshire Dance and Movema are to facilitate the evaluation/reflection process and intend to use the learning to continue to educate ourselves, create change within our organisations and work towards true equity of opportunity for artists and participants from African, South Asian, East Asian and South East Asian diasporas across our programmes.



Recipients of the Wildfire Rising Associate Artist Programme


Xiaowei Lu

A mid career artist from the East Asian diaspora, based in Manchester.  With 10 years experience of Chinese dance education and choreography. Xiaowei has produced international work that has toured the UK and would like to develop ways of connecting and collaborating with local communities.


Sabrina Steele

Is a Liverpudlian from the African diaspora. Sabrina is a street dancer and has worked with youth and community groups with the focus of removing barriers to access. Sabrina wants to develop her teaching and choreography skills, along with business skills to be able to reach her existing and new audiences. . Recent graduate of Movema Making Moves Programme.


Addae Gaskins 

Is from Trinidad and Tobago, now based in Liverpool. Addae is a multidisciplinary artist, trained in caribbean dance styles, carnival costume design and creative writing. Addae wants to develop his artistic practice to combine dance, choreography and words as a method of storytelling. Creating and being a resource for dance from the African Diaspora.




Review and recommendations on the Wildfire Rising Associate Artist Programme by Inc Arts UK

The Wildfire Rising programme facilitated by Cheshire Dance and Movema provides an inclusive experience to dance professionals who want to develop their professional projects in the UK dance sector. This programme is also a valuable experience for the sector to better understand how they can support the development of artists and professionals that are minoritised and marginalised in the UK society.

Compared to other programmes, the Wildfire Rising programme is very inclusive and raises the bar of what can be achieved. This report recognises the high value of this programme for the sector and the North West Dance community. To view the report by Inc Arts on the Wildfire Rising programme, click here


Inc Arts Logo





To view a complete Evaluation Summary Report from Cheshire Dance and Movema, click here.


Cheshire Dance logo          Movema logo









Artists working with Wildfire Rising

Partners involved with Wildfire Rising