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Changing perceptions of the creative and artistic 

potential of people with learning disabilities in the UK and beyond.








Following the appointment last year as Artists in Residence at their new home at Déda, the Creative Centre for Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Performance in Derby, Anjali Dance Company is delighted to announce acclaimed British Dance Artist and Choreographer Gary Clarke as its new Company Champion with immediate effect.


Established in 1995, Anjali Dance Company has guided people with learning disabilities to establish themselves as dance artists in their own right and has helped to change perceptions of the creative and artistic potential of people with learning disabilities in the UK and beyond.


Gary, the first artist to take-up this newly created role, is currently Artistic Director of Gary Clarke Company, one of Art’s Council England’s new NPO’s, touring extensively both nationally and internationally. 


Gary has previously worked with Anjali Dance Company choreographing Beethoven, the company’s last tour, which formed part of the GENIUS double bill. The work toured nationally and internationally to 18 venues, reaching 4+ live audiences, 712 workshop participants and a digital audience of 136.5K.


Commenting on his appointment Gary said “'I am thrilled to be collaborating with Anjali Dance Company as their new Company Champion as they step into an exciting phase of development. 


“Inclusivity, visibility and diversity is an integral part of our sector growth, and I believe Anjali is at the forefront of breaking down barriers for dance and disability. The company's rigour, professionalism, artistic flair and integrity are all qualities of which we can learn from as we aim to grow into a more progressive and well-rounded industry.”


Gary has created stage and site-specific work for a number of companies and organisations including The National Theatre, Opera North, Sky Arts, Akademi, Hull City of Culture and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 


He has also worked as a movement specialist on several large-scale feature films including World War Z, and The Mummy. His performance credits include work with Lea Anderson’s The Cholomondeleys & The Featherstonehaughs, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre, Sadler's Wells Productions, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Candoco Dance Company. In 2017, Gary was appointed as an Honorary Fellow at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance.


Gary has received a multitude of awards for his work including a UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Dance (COAL), A Critics Circle National Dance Award (COAL), A Herald Angel Award (the Troth) and The Brian Glover Memorial Award. 


Gary added “My time working with Anjali has always been a rich and enlightening experience and something I deeply treasure as a developing dance artist. My contact with the company continues to broaden my thinking, push my artistry and deepen my understanding. I am honoured to be a part Anjali’s bright and prosperous future.”


Anjali Dance Company’s Director Alex Henwood said We are very excited to welcome Gary as Company Champion, his skills and commitment will be a great asset to us which will help drive the artistic vision of the company.”


Working with Alex, Gary’s initial focus will be to support Anjali dancers with their career development, offering opportunities for shadowing and observing, and facilitating wider artistic possibilities within the industry.


Gary is currently working with Anjali dancer Nick McKerrow as Nick develops his choreographic practice through his current Arts Council England, Developing your Creative Practice, award. Nick will be visiting Gary in the studio as Gary creates his new company work DETENTION.


Gary is also supporting Anjali’s three Research and Development choreographers, Chisato Minamimura, Rebecca Namgauds and Joe Garbett, over the next 6 months whilst they work with the dancers in the studio, to ensure a successful and collaborative process with the company.


For further information on Anjali Dance Company and their work please go to www.anjali.co.uk/



Notes to Editors


Anjali Dance Company is a leading dance company that celebrates the extraordinary creative potential of people with learning disabilities. We guide them as creative artists, supporting them to demonstrate their extraordinary talents and excellent creative abilities. 


Established in 1995, we create and perform original work, in collaboration with world-class choreographers, with high production values. 


Our dancers are treated with utmost respect as artists who happen to have learning disabilities, not as people with learning disabilities who happen to dance. 


Anjali’s dancers have performed at venues throughout the UK, including the Royal Festival Hall, Sadler’s Wells, the Royal Opera House in London and at venues in Europe and Mexico. 


Anjali’s 2017 & 2019 original double bill Genius, choreographed by Gary Clarke and Lea Anderson MBE was performed live nationally and internationally in 19 venues, with a digital audience of 136.4k.


International links: Anjali has an ongoing seven-year partnership with Buró Cultural in Mexico, which led to international tours, presentations, and the development of a company of learning-disabled dancers in Mexico modelled on Anjali.

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