In its raw state: UPLIFT triple-bill

20 October 2023

On Friday 17 November, we invite you to our studio to watch a triple-bill of new commissions from three of the North West’s most exciting dance makers!

The evening will showcase new works in progress by Jordan Sheard, Shesoma (Maea Morgan and Lucy Halfpenny) and Mad Dogs Theatre (Douglas Thorpe), this year’s UPLIFT artists, who have been in residence at our studio over Autumn. 

Ahead of the performance, we catch up with the artists to hear more about their work and their residency experience.

Along with some brilliant behind-the-scenes insights, in the Q&A, the artists share some great reasons to join us on the 17th for some “‘exciting, daring and exposing” dance. 

Q1. To get started, tell us more about you!

Jordan: I’m Jordan (she/her)! I’m a mover, maker and producer based here in Manchester. My approach to dance-making is playful and sincere, drawing inspiration from the everyday world around me and bringing it to life using my own and my collaborators’ lived experiences. I’m passionate about creating access throughout my work, making it thematically accessible; work that makes people feel good and in turn hope it gives them a positive experience with dance! 

Outside of UPLIFT, I’m currently supporting Coalesce Dance Theatre with their youth dance programme and producing projects for Afrocats, a Manchester charity that supports refugee and asylum seeker communities. 

Maea and Lucy at SheSoma: We met whilst training with Emergence, the postgraduate dance company of Joss Arnott and Salford University, and together decided to create SheSomaDance, a female-led collective. Together we discovered a shared interest in authentic female identity. Through our work, we aim to empower and contribute to a vibrant community of female artists by exploring women’s relationships, sensitivity, strength, self-expression and explosiveness. 

Doug at Mad Dogs Dance Theatre:  I’m originally from Leeds, trained at the Place in London, returned to Leeds to work with Phoenix Dance Theatre. I started my own company Mad Dogs Dance Theatre in 2008 and I continue to create work with the Company.

Q2. What drew you to apply for UPLIFT?

Jordan: Funnily enough, I remember speaking to a friend on how I was looking for space and time to invest in my choreographic ideas and the next day I saw Chameleon announce UPLIFT. It felt like it was meant to be! I knew UPLIFT was going to serve as the springboard I needed into the next stage of my creative career, giving me the chance to better understand how I like to work, my choreographic style and language, and what it is I want to say with my work.

With the support from Chameleon and being in those beautiful studios, I’ve been able to start investing in the time, space and resources that my practice needs. I look forward to using what I’ve learnt to apply for funding later in the year.

Maea and Lucy at SheSoma: We applied for UPLIFT because we were inspired by Company Chameleon’s strong movement physicality and the work they produce. We knew that the strong contemporary dance community that Company Chameleon have built in Manchester would be an inspiring environment to work in. Along with a chance for us to share what we have creatively began to build, we thought the studio time, the funding and the mentorship offered through UPLIFT would allow us to delve deeper and expand our current investigations. 

Doug at Mad Dogs Dance Theatre:  I saw an exciting opportunity to work with the company dancers, a creative opportunity to explore new ideas and challenge myself in a new context.

Q3. Tell us what you’ve been working on in residency at Company Chameleon?

Jordan: I’ve been researching into the idea of The Joy of Kissing (working title!) and I’ve been joined by two wonderful dancers and collaborators in the space, Ellie Begley (she/her) and Sofia Larriera (she/her). The Joy of Kissing is a playful celebration of human relationships, exploring the space a kiss holds in romantic, platonic, familial and different cultural settings. We’ve been playing a lot with the space and tension between two people, with a delicate balance between the tenderness, joy and the silly in how we show love. A lot of our research has come from a place of play and improvisation.

With support from the wonderful Emmy at Chameleon, I’ve dabbled more into the world of text for the first time, using freewriting to start building scripts in collaboration with my dancers. From first kisses, rejection to saliva, queerness and tenderness, intimacy or being silly, we feel like we’ve unlocked this world that has so much richness to discover and we’re only just getting started!

Maea and Lucy at SheSoma: During the residency, we spent time exploring and enriching our own style and movement language and continued to work on our collaborative choreographic approach. As a result, we have created a 20 minute duet that is a continuation of our first work, which we developed as part of our dissertation projects.

This work explored the discovery of the innate self in relationship to the Wild Woman Archetype, delving into how we as female identifying artists can reveal our true selves and true creativity. The new piece of work is more relevant to our current journey’s as emerging artists. It reflects the psychological and physical journeys we have both undergone.

Doug at Mad Dogs Dance Theatre: I’m looking at duet work that explores relationship highs, lows and challenges, the every day compromises and meetings of minds alike.

Q4. What are you most looking forward to about presenting your work on 17th?

Jordan: I’m looking forward to sharing my work with the Manchester/North West Community and watching my dancers have fun, connect and share our stories with each other and the audience. I hope it makes people want to find their nearest and dearest and give them a big kiss!

Maea and Lucy at SheSoma: The event provides an excellent platform for us to experiment, challenge ourselves and push our boundaries, and we’re excited about the opportunity to receive feedback from fellow artists and new audiences. Additionally, being part of a community of artists and sharing the performance space with two other talented choreographers is an exciting prospect.

Doug at Mad Dogs Dance Theatre: I’m looking forward to seeing how people experience this work – if they can find connection to the theme and how they feel about being immersed into the story. Audience feedback will be so valuable in guiding me in the next step with this piece.

Q5. Why should people get a ticket for the UPLIFT triple-bill?

Jordan: So you can come and have a laugh with us (hopefully!) and have a taste of all the different magic that’s being created in Manchester and the North West. I’m hoping to create a space for people to see our behind-the-scenes studio research and I’d love to connect, hear about your connotations of Kissing and what this weird and wonderful act means to you!

Maea and Lucy at SheSoma: The UPLIFT triple-bill features new works created by talented established and emerging artists. The evening will be welcoming, fun and inspiring and it will offer you a chance to share, discuss and meet other artists.

Doug at Mad Dogs Dance Theatre: A unique opportunity to see something fresh and at its raw state. It is a great moment to witness work before it’s too polished and clean. There is something really exciting, daring and exposing about sharing work in progress. You can be part of the making of the work with your feedback and your engagement with the performance. 

Booking & info
Date: Friday 17 November
Times: 7pm doors, 7:30pm start – 10pm finish
Venue: Company Chameleon, Barrass St, Openshaw
Tickets: Pay as you feel
Age guidance: 16+

The programme features three performance of 20 minutes each. The audience will have the opportunity to feedback after each work.


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"10 was such a wonderful experience - I cant wait to see more of your incredible work!" "Effortless grace, strength, humour and athleticism - a visual treat!" "We brought 65 young people to your performance tonight - every single one loved it! What an amazing show!" "This show reminded me why I dance and what I’m constantly working towards! Thank you for this experience!" "Such beauty in the small moments of this show - please don't stop doing what you’re doing"

Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!