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SHE SWIMS 

SHE SWIMS is a brand new dance film launching on International Women's Day 2024! Witness 50 women from the community of Birmingham swell and swarm in a drained Grade || Edwardian heritage swimming pool originally made for ‘first class men’ in 1907. Director and Choreographer Shelley Eva Haden joins Moseley Road Swimming Baths, inviting these women to exist and empower a space which once didn’t belong to them. 

 

Shelley and her extraordinary team of artists spent delicate time with the community to research and explore the restrictions that still exist living as a woman in the 21st century. The aim was acknowledge these restrictions and resist them with artistic responses rooted in movement,  using art as a political platform to empower - not just the 50 women that belonged in a space that was once not made for them, but the audiences too, that will witness and engage in this positive, political work. 

This beautiful feminist film will celebrate how far we have come, yet also remind us of the distance we still have to go to reach global equality.

"1907" was really "not that long ago"

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THE SWIM

SHE SWIMS (the swimming process) 
The 'swimming' process of SHE SWIMS
BTS, a short by YDT Studios  

DATES 

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"I come from an Asian origin and there have been restrictive taboos on how we express our selves

. . .  I found that I was able to release so much emotionally and physically through the sessions we had . . .  it allowed me to remove fear, embarrassment, accept self-worth and enjoy my time . . .  This production allowed us to be us, to be free, to feel most comfortable with every step we took, the outfits we wore, the activities that took place - it was amazing!” 

Nina Chauhan

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“How I strutted around like I was Naomi Campbell wearing Bridget Jones pants, whilst wearing yellow eye shadow, no mascara and my hair scrapped back off my face and couldn't care a less.”

Mel Harris

SHE SWIMS PremierE
1:50pm | Wednesday 2 August 2023 | Birmingham Festival 23 
The celebratory anniversary festival of Birmingham22 CWG
Click here to find out more
SHE SWIMS Swimming Pool Screening

6:30 | September 7th 2023 @ Moseley Road Swimming Baths
A specially curated cinema event in the new MRB Living Room  
*Invite Only, please email sheswimsproject@gmail.com

Click here to find out more

SHE SWIMS Online Viral Launch

Friday 8 March 2024 - International Women's Day 

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SheSwims was the perfect project for me. 

I felt empowered alongside other women and gained confidence in my body that I’ve never had before while dancing. SheSwims provided a beautifully safe and sacred space, where I could express myself through dance and feel completely comfortable and confident alongside a wonderful group of talented and passionate women.”

demi louise-robinson 

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“I have taken away a spring in my step with a belief that I am good enough, memories for myself and for my family when I’m no longer here.”

Wanda Mcvicker 

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JANET ROSE 

"It's like being wrapped up in a warm cosy blanket of love, affection,  acceptance.  I am in awe of the grace, beauty, sensitivity and kindness of everyone involved and am filled with gratitude that I was allowed to participate.  I am trying to share this feeling as the week goes on with those I meet in my every day activities!

Zoe Palmer 

 I lost my confidence due to my old dance school saying i wasn't good enough because of my age and because I'm curvy . . . 

To be selected for SHE SWIMS really warms my heart and makes me happy. 

 Shelley's vision of empowering women from this male dominated space was amazing. The whole 'She Sinks, She Swims, She surfaces' was genius. 

Debbie Wakefield 

“This whole experience was paranormal. My childhood was where I’ve experienced  “you keep your eyes down and no voice” BUT now to holding my head up, shoulders back and make an unstoppable powerful stand is a big achievement and accomplishment for me. “

JIN Masaun 

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 CORE company

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Shelley Eva haden 
THE 'SEA'ER OF SHE SWIMS 
Shelley Eva Haden, a Birmingham based dance artist was nominated in the outstanding female performance category at the 2017 National Dance Awards. Shelley graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2014 with a First-Class BA (Hons) in Contemporary Dance Performance, having become the first student to achieve 100% on the solo choreography assessment. 

Shelley’s work as a choreographer/director and movement director is wide-ranging, spanning commissions, independent projects, TV/film and opera. She most recently worked on the choreographic team for Birmingham2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and was nominated for One Dance UK’s People’s Choice Award 2022.  Other credits include ABBA, BBC Arts, Birmingham Opera Company, Channel 4, Gotts Street Park, Opera North, Royal Danish Opera, StaatsOper Berlin, Scottish Opera. 

 

To see more on Shelley's career, please click 'About'

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Hannah Badge  
THE MAKE IT HAPPEN MERMAID  
 
After graduating from London Studio Centre in 2014, Hannah began her career as a freelance Dance Artist and Choreographer in the MENA region. Credits included, Mariah Carey, Vogue, and Warner Bros. Additionally, she held the position of Head of Dance at the Royal Institute of Music and Dance Dubai. In 2019, Hannah completed an MA in Dance Producing and Management and has since produced a wide range of projects across the dance industry from community outreach activities to large scale arena productions. Noteable highlights include the MTV EMA in 2021 and 2022 as Dance Production and the role of Sports Presentation Producer for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. Other credits include Kendrick Lamar’s Glastonbury 2022 Headline performance and Creative Producer for Design For Dance at Central St Martin's. Hannah also works closely with a small roster of independent dance artists, fostering creativity and innovation within the field.
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Annalise Cowan 
THE MOTHER MERMAID 
 

Originally from Birmingham, Annalise graduated from Coventry University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours First Class in Dance with Professional Enhancement. Since then, she has performed professionally for Birmingham Opera Company, Gaby Agis, Mercurial Dance and more recently ‘sirenscrossing’ by Carolyn Deby in 2019. As a dance maker, Annalise choreographed and produced a solo ‘Ecstasy’ for the Follow Me Out Festival 2018 in Coventry. Internationally, Annalise has taught and performed at the Ryan International Children’s Festival in Bangalore, India in 2018. 

 

From early on in her career, Annalise has worked with Autin Dance Theatre on several of their national and international tours, starting as a Creative Intern in 2016 to now working with the company as Associate Producer. As a freelance producer, she also works regularly with OPUS (Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces), Ascension Dance Company and Deaf Explorer which includes tour booking for recent outdoor works ‘The Other Side’, ‘Out of the Deep Blue’, ‘Forbidden Identity’ and more recently ‘Parade – The Giant Wheel’ and ‘Cog in the Wheel’ as well as supported projects and programmes for DanceXchange, Caldonia Dances, CTC Dance Company, and Open Theatre Company. These have included young people’s programmes, community projects, outreach workshops and platform events. In July 2020, she produced a digital event called ‘2 Metres Closer’ as part of Beatfreeks Southside Producers. More recently, Annalise produced an accessible outdoor event as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games called ‘Street Games in the Square’ and has gone on to join OPUS for Birmingham Festival 2023 as Access Producer. 

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Eleni Kyriacou 
THE SOUNDING MERMAID 
 

Eleni Kyriacou a Greek Cypriot creative producer based in Birmingham and has been practising for two decades. She has worked extensively across the arts, performance, dance and festival context and has a Masters from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in Creative Producing. Highlights of companies she has delivered work for include; The Roundhouse, The V&A, The Arcola Theatre, Clod Ensemble, Fabric (Formerly DanceXchange), We Don’t Settle (formerly Beatfreeks Arts), Nest Collective, Bittersuite, Fatt Projects, Sky Arts, Geese Theatre Company, Derby Festé and Dedá dance.

 

She has led high-profile work for Birmingham International Dance Festival 2018 on the outdoor and off-site programme featuring 338 artists. She has also produced, This is An Island, a Sky Arts commissioned project with creative direction from award-winning choreographer Gary Clarke, touring to the Barbican and Sage Gateshead before featuring on the SkyArts, Art 50 tv series. She was also the creative producer for Déda, leading the programming for the theatre and the annual outdoor festival Derby Féste 2021 & 2022 instalments and running the artistic development programmes. She is passionate about supporting and championing womxn and neurodiverse-led practices and storytelling.

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Polly Hudson 
ARTIST MID-WIDE & MERMAID

Polly Hudson is a teacher, artist, gardener and dancer. Her practice focuses on process within artistic making, ethical embodied approaches to teaching and leadership, and eco-somatics. Improvisation is a fundamental underpinning, and she regularly engages in industry settings as a mentor to (dance) artists. She was a student at London Contemporary Dance School in the late 1980’s, joining their fourth year graduate company by invitation whilst still in her third year of study aged 19, and graduating with a distinction in contemporary dance. 

A certified teacher of Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), her PhD examined SRT in relationship to choreographic practices. She has made performance and screendance works that have been shown internationally to critical acclaim over a twenty-five year period. 

Polly is a Reader in Dance at Birmingham City University, and Associate Director for the Centre for Interdisciplinary Performative Arts (CIPA). She is also Head of Movement at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Acting. 

The unifying focus of Polly's work is embodiment: how do we inhabit our psycho-physical selves in ways that serve us best in any given situation, whether that be as teachers, leaders, artist-makers, or performers?  She dances, teaches, writes, makes, and gardens, often all at once.

 

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PASTSY BROWNE-HOPE  
MERMAID 

Patsy Browne-Hope is a Birmingham based dance artist and choreographer. She trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance graduating with a first class honours degree and the award for 'Outstanding Achievement in Performance'. 

 

As a dancer Patsy has worked with Restoke and The National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Paramount Pictures, Protein Dance, Akram Khan, Sonia Sabri, DeNada DT, and Bare Bones Dance Company. 

 

Choreography credits include 'Spring Awakening', 'The Clockmakers Daughter', 'International Klein Blue' and 'Kafka's The Trial' for Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She was the Artistic Lead on 'The Lazuli Sky Project' and 'Seraphina' for Birmingham Royal Ballet (LEAP). Due to the success of these projects, 'Seraphina' became the first curtain raiser in Birmingham Royal Ballets history as it opened their Autumn Triple Bill 'Into The Music' on the Hippodromes Main Stage in October 2022. Patsy has also choreographed the productions of 'A Midsummers Night Dream' for Lightwoods Park and House, 'Cinderella' for the MAC Belfast, 'Ghost House' for Cahoots NI and is currently working on 'All Hands!' for Princess Theatre in Somerset. In addition to this she has provided movement direction for 'Flarepath' at the Patrick Centre and has worked as an Intimacy Director on 'Home Girl' for Deda Derby and 'Romeo and Juliet' for Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

 

Workshops/R&D credits include 'Tammy Faye' for the Almeida Theatre, 'Mother' for Restoke. Patsy has led her own R&D projects titled 'Postpartum', 'Oil & Water' and 'Her' which all use a combination of dance and physical theatre to explore the human condition and societal issues.

 

From 2013 - 2017 she was a founding member and co-director of the arts council funded Birmingham Dance Network providing regular CPD for regional dance artists. Patsy is a regular visiting lecturer on the undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is regularly invited to deliver guest workshops at universities across the country.

 

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Harriet Ellis 
MERMAID 

‘Harriet (she/her) is a freelance dance artist based in the U.K. who has performed internationally in both stage and sight specific dance work. In the past year she has featured as a professional dancer in the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, performed in an immersive dance and theatre experience at the Belfast International Festival and was also fortunate to be able to dance for Duran Duran. She is a contemporary dance lecturer at Performers College in Essex, and regularly works with artists as a dance model. 

Previously she has worked as a dancer, rehearsal director and/or commissioned choreographer with contemporary companies: Lisa Simpson Inclusive Dance, Rosie Kay Dance Company, Balbir Singh, Keneish Dance, Cohoots NI and Midlands Actors Theatre, and has also been funded by Arts Council England to develop her creative practice in choreography. 

Harriet also enjoys outdoor activities, cold water swimming, and spending time with her friends, family, and pet dog, Albus. 

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NICOLE NEVIT 
MERMAID 

Nicole began dancing at an early age alongside Martial Arts where she trained and competed in Gōjū-ryū and Shōtōkan Karate. In 2016-2017, Nicole joined National Youth Dance Company under the artistic directorship of Damien Jalet. During 2017-2020 Nicole trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance obtaining a First Class Bachelor of the Arts (Degree with Honours). In 2020-2021, she became an apprentice dancer with Scottish Dance Theatre under the directorship of Joan Clevillé.

 

Nicole has been freelancing since 2021, collaborating with many artists and companies altogether evolving her physical, intellectual, emotional and social curiosities.

I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones.’ – Franz Kafka.

 

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Nikita Saffron India Sharma
MERMAID 

Nikita graduated from London Studio Centre with a First Class honours degree in Theatre Dance in 2021. During her training she worked with choreographers including Luke Brown, Laura Weston, and Alleyne Dance. Whilst completing her studies she performed as part of Kamienski Dance Company, worked as a dance artist with well-known brands such as NIKE and performed in London Fashion Week.

 

In 2022 Nikita was one of the lead performers in the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, working with choreographer Corey Baker and director Hamish Hamilton. Additionally, she has worked with Birmingham Opera Company, Johnny Autin (Autin Dance Theatre) and Katy Higgins (TobyLikesMilk).

 

THE WOMEN

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Abbey Brain

 

Amy Hession

 

Anna Masterson

 

Clare Edwards

 

Clare Haynes

 

Dawn Beddard

 

Deborah Wakefield

 

Debra Blisson

 

Demi-Louise Robinson

 

Diana Amma Gyankoma Abankwah

 

Elaine Manson

 

Elizabeth Ryan

 

Farrah Brennan

 

 Florence Hyman 

 

Hannah Barber

 

Harriet Ellis

 

Haydee Stanton

 

Helena Clarke

 

Jade Griffiths

 

Jade Hampson - Goodwin

 

Janet Greenhill

 

Janet Rose

 

Jasprit Chagger

 

Jin Masaun

 

Jo Green

 

Julie Oxberry

 

Laurie Horsfall

 

Letisha Rebecca Malcolm

 

Lorraine Newman

 

Lucinda Poulsen

 

Lucy Caton

 

Mary Dornan

 

Maureen Levermore

 

Mel Harris

 

Nabeelah Almulad

 

Nada Frayne

 

Nicole Nevitt 

 

Nikita Saffron India Sharma 

 

Nina Chauhan

 

Patsy Browne-Hope 

 

Polly Hudson 

 

Rachel Gordon

 

Rebecca Cooke

 

Sarah Beswick

 

Serena Gammond

 

Shelley Eva Haden

 

Simi Johal

 

Teressa Longhurst

 

Wanda McVicker

 

Zoe Palmer

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credits

SHE SWIMS

Directed and Choreographed by Shelley Eva Haden in partnership with Moseley Rd Baths and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England 

Director and Choreographer (sea-er of SHE SWIMS)
Shelley Eva Haden 

 

Producers 
The Makeithappen Mermaid: Hannah Badge 

The Mother Mermaid: Annalise Cowan 

The Sounding Mermaid: Eleni Kyriacou 

 

MRB Programmer (The Orange Mer-Witch)
 
Emily Butler 

Director Mentor (Artist Mer-Midwife)
Polly Hudson 

Psychotherapist (The Wise Witch)
Joy Griffiths 

Dramaturg (The whatabout Witch)

Lou Cope 

Women’s Writing Facilitator (The Word Witch)
Helen Calcutt  

 

Dance Artist/Facilitator Mermaids:
Harriet Ellis 

Patsy Browne-Hope 

 Polly Hudson 

Nikita Saffron India Sharma

Nicole Nevitt
 

Featured Underwater Dance Artists:

Diana Amma Gyankoma Abankwah 

Harriet Ellis 

Patsy Browne-Hope 

Polly Hudson 

Nikita Saffron India Sharma

Nicole Nevitt

 

Cinematographers  

Kamal Macdonald (YDT Studios) 

Brannon Yau (YDT Studios) 

 Elly Wel

Photographers

The Deep Sea Developer: Ellie Puopolo

The Wise Eyes: Elly Wel


Sound
The Music Merman: James King 

 

Costume
Carole Haden 

Cleo Haden 

Summer Shepard 

 

HMUA

The wet-look witches: Kacey Komarsh 

The wet-look witches: Clare Lee Davis

The wet-look witches: Roxie Ruin

The wet-look witches: Charlotte Veasey 

 

Merchandising

The Making Merman: Mark Ashton

 

Runners/Assistants 

The Magical Mermaid: Phoebe Bruerton

The diving-in Mermaid:  Florence Hyman 

 

Support

Partner: Moseley Community Hub 

Artist Development Support: Deda 

Artist Support: ACE Dance and Music 

Mentors

Corey Baker (Dance for Film mentor) 

Gary Clarke (Choreography, community and process mentor)

Rhiannon Faith (Care in the community mentor)

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