After nearly 15 years at the helm of Yorkshire Dance, Wieke Eringa is stepping down from her role as CEO and Artistic Director.
During her tenure Wieke reshaped the organisation, increasing support for independent dance artists around Yorkshire as well as leading the charity to pioneer research into the benefits of dance for health & wellbeing.
Under Wieke’s leadership Yorkshire Dance has developed a strong dance activism around social justice, age, the climate crisis and gender, creating a platform for LGBTQ+ artists and safer spaces for LGBTQ+ audiences to take part in dance. Through linking local and international aspirations Wieke instigated hugely successful new partnerships to bring national and international investment to Yorkshire including the Performing Gender partnership with Creative Europe.
Wieke consistently championed independent artists in the region inviting them to lead the curation of events and festivals. Some of these artistic highlights include Gary Clarke’s Into the Light at Hull 2017 City of Culture, Vanessa Grasse’s MESH at Great Exhibition of the North, the Cultural Olympiad in 2012 and Juncture festivals (2012; Charlotte Vincent; 2014 Wendy Houstoun; 2016 Gillie Kleiman).
In 2018, off the back of Yorkshire Dance’s highly successful community dance programmes which reach thousands of participants a week, Wieke launched Encounters: a new series of mini dance festivals which bring people from across the community together to watch and take part in dance, sparking new connections, insight and joy.
Wieke looks back over her 15 years “I arrived when the organisation was celebrating 25 years and coming up to our 40th Birthday Celebrations this year it feels like a fitting time to hand over the leadership baton. I have witnessed a considerable growth in the regional dance sector over 15 years and as a society we are slowly broadening our ideas of who is allowed to dance and what is beautiful. I believe dance has the potential to play a huge part in making our society more inclusive and representative and I’m sure Yorkshire Dance will continue to play a leading part in that journey. There are hugely talented independent dancers in the North and I hope to see continued investment to ensure this growing dance scene continues to thrive, inspire and connect audiences and communities.”
Yorkshire Dance’s Board of Trustees are working closely together to develop an interim leadership plan and leadership-review process with the aim of harnessing diverse voices throughout the organisation for the long term. The Board is excited to undertake this process to build on the fantastic work of Yorkshire Dance and ensure it thrives over the next 15 years.
Chair of the board of trustees, Shirley Parks, said “Wieke has made a huge difference at Yorkshire Dance helping to grow the organisation into a leading regional cultural powerhouse. Wieke has led significant change programmes, built a great staff team and enabled new national and cross-sector partnerships.
We’d like to thank Wieke for her time here and wish her all the best in her new role at the University of Leeds, with whom we work on many projects”.
Wieke will be joining the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds as Associate Director from September 2022.