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Linden Dance Company has a huge amount to thank Arts Connect for, for the help and support it has provided in building the company and developing us as both artists and leaders.

The initial Thrive Bursary opportunity inspired us to form our 8-year collaboration into an actual company and concrete our aspirations for the dance sector into tangible visions and missions. The Thrive bursary we were awarded in 2020 gave us the opportunity to invest time, training and mentorship into our desires for the company, particularly training in physical athleticism and positive psychology. This training has formed the very heart of Linden, and continues to drive and guide our artistic, education and partnerships. The bursary also provided valuable time to develop an educational package that sought innovative ways to translate psychological, emotional and physical ideas to young people through dance. We received incredible feedback from both young people and teachers, and have been asked back by several schools for more engagement, including building a long term partnership with Queensbridge School in Moseley. This experience also inspired us to start our own youth company which is running successfully and included participation in projects such as Beyond Borders and U.Dance West Midlands (for which we have been shortlisted for the national finals).

We were also grateful to be invited to apply for the Arts Connect Leadership Course, which we both attended in 2021. This inspired us to keep driving for change within the sector that underpins everything that Linden stands for. It provided us with understanding and training to support our aspirations to reshape the dance sector with positivity and empathy and empower young people to better take care of themselves in this competitive industry. This has continued with our participation in the Dance Development Leaders Group Steering Group.

This initial support from Arts Connect has propelled Linden Dance Company into success and a speed of development that we never thought possible, including two Developing Your Creative Practice grants, an ACE Project Grant, becoming Associate Artists for 2Faced Dance Company and performances at Birmingham International Dance Festival.

We are extremely grateful for everything that Arts Connect has inspired and supported, without which Linden Dance would not be in the place it is now.