The achievements of the first students to graduate from the University of Derby BA Hons Dance degree – based at regional dance house Déda in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter – have been honoured with the first seat plaque at the venue’s theatre.
The Dance degree was launched by the University and Déda in September 2014 and is the only one in the country to be based at a dance house with access to work experience at this and other arts partners’ venues.
The group of seven third year students recently performed their final choreography for an appreciative audience at Déda’s theatre and were then invited to unveil the seat plaque which was the first in a new fund-raising initiative by the venue.
Déda CEO and Artistic Director Stephen Munn explained: “We are all incredibly proud of the first graduating students from the Dance degree and the seat plaque is a fitting tribute to their hard work as the pioneers for this innovative new learning model.
“Their final showcase was fantastic and really inspired the current year one and two students as well as those who have been offered places to join us in September.”
University of Derby Programme Leader and dance artist Alice Marshall accepted the seat plaque on behalf of the students.
She said: “It’s only right that one of the best seats in the house should now be dedicated to this group of young people.
“They have worked extremely hard over the past three years and have been a pleasure to teach. In turn, they benefited greatly from this unique degree which combines practical, theoretical and work experience opportunities to arm them with a wide range of employability skills across the arts industry.
“The 124-seat theatre is a wonderful, intimate space in which I have performed with my dance company Adaire to Dance on many occasions.
“Choosing a personal message on a plaque is therefore the perfect gift to mark an achievement, commemorate a loved one or simply to show support for dance and the arts.”
Déda is a charity and, as such relies on grants and public donations to continue its valuable work. Plaques cost £150 with 25p in every £1 further added through Gift Aid and invested back into Déda work with local schools and community groups.
Other loyal supporters of Déda who have bought a seat plaque in the theatre includes artist, writer and curator David Manley.
He said: “I have long been a supporter of Déda, and am very pleased to have my very own plaque in the theatre.
“The arts are vitally important to a city and its community, and it’s important that we all do as much as we can to support the work that is going on in Derby and Derbyshire.”
For more information about how to support Déda’s work in community, health and education, please visit www.deda.uk.com