Northern Ballet’s annual platform for inclusive dance, Expressions returns this year bigger than ever before with four performances between Wednesday 5 and Thursday 6 July at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds. This year’s event will feature performances from 15 professional and community dance groups from across Yorkshire, the UK and Europe, including a world première performance.

Hosted by Northern Ballet, one of the UK’s leading ballet companies, Expressions is Yorkshire’s only platform dedicated to inclusive dance, giving talented disabled dancers the chance to showcase their skills on a professional stage. All performances have a relaxed structure and are designed to be fully accessible for both performers and audiences alike. Supported by funding from Leeds Inspired, Expressions is part of BEYOND Festival, a Leeds based arts festival which celebrates the work of artists, performers and musicians with learning disabilities.

Expressions includes performances from Northern Ballet’s own accessible dance courses, Ability and In Motion. The Ability dance course is specifically designed for adults with mild to moderate learning disabilities, whilst In Motion is a specialist wheelchair dance programme. Both groups practise weekly at Northern Ballet’s headquarters in the centre of Leeds.

Emma, an In Motion participant, said: “I’m looking forward to taking part in Expressions… it’s exciting to see other groups perform and to share what we’ve created with family and friends.”

Northern Ballet’s Director of Learning, Leanne Kirkham, said: “Expressions provides talented disabled dancers with some really inspiring moments; for somebody that attends a dance class every week to be able to perform on the same platform as professional companies makes them inspired to think ‘That could be me one day. I could be a professional dancer.’ We are proud to host a platform that is specifically for people with disabilities.”

Professional companies performing at Expressions this year include TIN Arts, one of the UK’s leading inclusive dance organisations who will première a new piece at the platform. Also performing are Ensemble BewegGrund Trier, a professional DanceAbility company from Germany and the first international company to perform at Expressions.

Other companies and community groups performing include: Adult Creative (Northern School of Contemporary Dance); Chellow Chicks (Chellow Heights Special School); Chilli Bon Bon; Dance 21; Dance Operatives; Vine (DAZL); Greenacre School; Me 2 Inclusive Youth Dance Company; Mind The Gap; Leaps & Bounds and Raised (Yorkshire Dance).

Sarah Lyon, Youth and Community Dance Manager at Yorkshire Dance, said: “Platforms like this are massively important to be able to show inclusive dance in a safe and exciting environment, and that inclusive dance is as exciting as any other type of dance.”

Tickets for Expressions are priced at £3 per performance and can be booked via the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre Box Office on 0113 220 8008 or online at