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Eleesha Drennan wins Sky Academy Arts scholarship

Posted on February 3, 2014



Dancer and choreographer Eleesha Drennan has won one of this year’s Sky Academy Arts Scholarships, created in partnership with IdeasTap. She will receive £30,000 and mentoring from relevant business and industry figures from Sky and the arts world. Drennan will use the funding to create a new work called Channel Rose, about “retaining our humanity in the digital age”.

Now 30, Drennan (pictured) danced with National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) for nine years, and created works for the company. She was awarded first prize for Whiskers at the 16th International Solo Dance Theatre Festival Stuttgart in 2012, resulting in a tour of the solo to Germany, China, Brazil and the UK. She recently moved to London, where she will work on the new project.

“It’s such an honour to have this opportunity to bring this world of mine into reality,” Drennan said. “When I found out, I also felt a huge sense of relief as the more I thought about doing Channel Rose, the less I could imagine possibly doing anything else. I’m thrilled! It’s going to be an exciting year. First I need to establish my collaborators for the project and organise studio space, but mainly I will begin building my collage bank of inspiration that will drive the project forward.”

Now in its third year, the scholarship scheme is designed to support emerging UK and Irish artists from a range of disciplines to develop their creative practice and take their work to the next level. The four other scholarship recipients are creative producer Tom McDonagh, sculptor James Lomax, theatre designer David Shearing and jazz musician and composer Ollie Howell. Dance has done well in the scholarships: Drennan follows last year’s dance winner, dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra. 


Photograph by Fairyodd, courtesy of NDCWales


Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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