On 15 April, Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts in social and community contexts, in partnership with Dance Ireland and Dublin Dance Festival, hosted Transformed Through Dance, an in conversation event with Nikki Crane, Advisor to Dance United and Paul Johnson, CEO Dance Ireland.
The talk began with Nikki explaining the history of Dance United, an organisation that proactively engages with young people at risk of (re)offending, delivering highly disciplined and tightly-focused contemporary dance training. Nikki then detailed the research undertaken by the University of Manchester ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-cultural Change, highlighting how the company developed evidence-based evaluation tools that show how dance does make a difference. The report indicated that the Dance United Academies are more successful at reducing recidivism than the generality of community-based programmes for young offenders. Overall less than a third of young offenders who have had significant engagement with the Academy have subsequently re-offended. This compares to overall recidivism rates locally of 70% for those on a community sentence and 50% for less serious offenders.
Transformed Through Dance was the second event of the Arts and Prisons Network, a Create initiative curated by artist Aideen McDonald.