Tony Mills became Artistic Director of Dance Base on 20 September 2021 marking a generational shift for the organisation and the first time that artistic leadership had changed since Dance Base was founded almost 30 years ago.
The role of Artistic Director is central to the delivery of our vision to get the whole of Scotland to experience dance and build national and international success for dance artists based here. Tony’s personal experience of making a career as an independent dance artist here puts him in a strong position to understand the challenges facing dance artists. His track record of engaging people across the country with dance is invaluable in helping engage many more people with dance as a source of health, wellbeing and community.
As the sector emerges from the enormous challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tony’s role ensures that Dance Base is supporting the talents and the needs of the diverse range of dance artists who choose to live and work in Scotland, and for making the country a place where dance fulfils its potential across society.
Tony Mills moved to Orkney from Ghana at the age of six. After initially pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, he discovered his love of dance in part through classes at Dance Base and has been working as professional dance artist in Scotland for almost 20 years.
Prior to taking over at Dance Base, Tony was Artistic Director of Room 2 Manoeuvre (R2M). He has worked with Freshmess Dance Company, State of Emergency, Off Kilter, Iron Oxide, Curious Seed, David Hughes Dance Productions, All or Nothing Aerial Dance Theatre, Scottish Ballet, Derevo, and the international street dance show, Blaze. He has also worked as a movement director/choreographer in theatre for companies such as Terra incognita, Cutting-Edge Theatre and commercially for high profile stars such as Martin Garrix and Kelly Rowland.
Tony is a keen ambassador for the breakdance scene in Scotland and has been involved in the production and hosting of major dance events including Castle Rocks Breakdance Championships, Breakin’ Convention Edinburgh tours (2007 – 17) and Breakin’ Rules at the Dundee Rep Theatre and The Brunton.
In 2015, R2M took up residence at The Brunton in Musselburgh. This allowed Tony to facilitate artist development opportunities through residencies, mentoring and access to free class and space. In addition, in 2018 the company produced the first international festival of dance and sport called At Your Leisure taking place across East Lothian and Edinburgh City. Tony continually creates new work for R2M, which has toured work across the UK, Europe, South America and Asia. Recent productions include Alley Oop for Edinburgh International Children’s Festival 2021 and the national tour of pop-up hip-hop show City Breakz.
Tony has a long association with Dance Base, from attending classes in his early career through to undertaking residencies and most recently participating in the organisation’s Artist Advisory Group.