Professionals & Artist Development

Shape It

What is Shape It?

Shape It is a project which aims to broaden the audience for contemporary dance in Europe. We do this by inviting early career dance makers in Europe to consider how an existing performance can be reconsidered for an audience of young people. Through development labs, residencies and touring, we will support artists to reimagine the audience for their work. Together, through the partnerships we build, the conversations we have, and the audiences we meet, we seek to model a new approach to developing dance for young people.

Shape It is delivered by a partnership of The Place (UK), Annantalo (Finland), Comune di Bassano del Grappa (Italy) and Tanec Praha (Czech Republic), and funded by Creative Europe.

To find out more about Shape It, take a look at the short film below of year 1 artist Viktor Černický’s time in the UK adapting and performing PLI for young children.

Why is it important?

As cultural education is marginalised across Europe it is even more important for those who make art - producers and artists - to consider how we embrace young people in our work. Young people from low income and/or marginalised backgrounds are particularly affected by the lack of provision in schools, which would previously have provided them with some arts experiences, and so this project is focused on reaching these groups.

Young audiences are curious, demanding and discerning, and the dialogue with them around art and the issues it raises can be hugely fruitful for artists.


What's involved?

Four artists/companies will be invited to participate in a series of events which aim to support them as they reconsider their work for a young audience. The events include:

  • Labs
    Two days of talks, discussions and activities for the selected Shape It artists and ten local artists, focused on discovering the local context for dance for young audiences.
  • Residency
    Shape It artists will be hosted for a week by one of the partners to consider how their performance can communicate most effectively with a young target audience.
  • TouringThe shows will tour in each of the four countries to arts venues, schools & community centres. 

If you work with young people in any of the four countries taking part in the project and are interested in finding opportunities for your young people to take part, please email

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union