Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme

DEBS with Angus Balbernie 27 - 31 JANUARY

The DEBS programme was established by Dance Base to mentor and support newly graduated dance / physical performance artists as they transition from their period of training into the professional dance sector. Each year a group of newly graduated dance/movement artists are selected to work with an experienced mentor as they hone their practice and navigate their route forward.

The programme is open to individuals who have graduated from full-time professional training in dance or a similar field within the last two years and runs from September to July (these dates have changed slightly for our 2019/20 group and 2020/21 group in light of the COVID-19 pandemic).

During this time DEBS members will receive:

  • Mentoring from an experienced dance artist
  • Free professional classes and workshops at Dance Base from September through to July of the following year
  • Two week-long group residencies at Dance Base
  • Free community classes, by negotiation
  • Free studio space, subject to availability

The DEBS members are recruited through an open call process and each year the selection centres around the expertise of the mentor, with support from Morag Deyes, Artistic Director of Dance Base, and Kirsty Somerville, Programmes Manager.


Our Current DEBS Members:

You can find out about our current 2020/21 DEBS participants here. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic our 2020/21 group began with us at the early date of June 2020 so that we could provide support in this uncertain time.

You can find out about our current 2019/20 DEBS participants here. As their final term with us was disrupted we are continuing our support until December 2020.


Previous DEBS Mentors:

  • White & Givan (2018/19)
  • Al Seed (2017/18)
    Merav Israel (2016/17)
  • Luke Pell (2015/16)
    Matthew Hawkins (2014/15)
    Alan Greig (2013/14)
    Steinvor Palsson (2012/13)
    Christine Devaney (2011/12)


Previous DEBS Recipients:

  • 2018/19
  • Jack Anderson
  • Gregor Campbell
  • Millie Thomas 
  • Kirsten Walker 
  • 2017/18
  • Charlotte Mclean
  • Fiona Oliver-Larkin
  • Hyperion Nyx
  • Kat Barrass
  • 2016/17
  • Amy Robertson
  • Juan Casado Barton
  • Julia James-Griffiths
  • Max Evans
  • Pirita Tuisku
  • 2015/16:
    Carolina Ravaioli
    Katie Miller
    Mark Bleakley
    Philip Alexander
  • Aaron Jeffrey
  • Alex Ross McCabe
    Amy Longmuir
  • Christina Liddell
  • Emma Snellgrove
  • Jack Webb
  • Jessica Wycherley
  • Kirsty Pollock
  • Lucy Boyes
    Phoebe Haymer
  • Tess Letham


Quotes from previous DEBS:

Christina Duncan (DEBS 2012/13)
The DEBS scheme is such an invaluable experience for dancers progressing from training into the industry. It acts as a wonderful platform, giving individuals the opportunity to not only develop as an artist, but to also nurture professional working relationships. A highly riveting journey that has supported my creative practice and led me to some of the work, which I am currently involved with now.

Lucy Ireland (DEBS 2012/13)

Being part of the DEB Scheme helped ease the transition from student to professional as well as open doors to the professional dance community in Scotland.

Tess Letham (DEBS 2012/13)
Being able to take class regularly for free was immensely helpful as an emerging artist as it allowed me to continue to train and work on my technique, which wouldn't have been possible without this opportunity, transitioning from student to professional seamlessly ... a very supportive route into the professional community and have since gained many opportunities of work throughout Scotland, definitely made easier to source by being part of the DEBS scheme.

Esmee Lobley (DEBS 2013 / 14)

DEBS has been a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to grow as a dance artist. It has offered me a unique platform to learn, work and become part of the dance community through valuable mentoring, classes and performance experience, all of which have given me vitaI experience whilst being in a supportive environment. My year as 'a DEB' has had a huge impact on my understanding of the role and expectations of a professional dancer and it has undoubtedly enabled me to gain a contract with a dance company for next year. 

Jessica Wycherley (DEBS 2013 / 14)

The duration of my year has afforded me the opportunity to take part in free professional classes and free company class (open to all every Tuesday & Thursday), which gave me an incite into the workings of artists in residency. With support from our experienced and insightful mentor (Matthew Hawkins) we were able to identify approaches to working and gain individual support based on our needs. One of the most beneficial things for me about the DEBs program has been to meet other local artists and socialise with like-minded passionate people. I could not recommend Dance Base highly enough, I feel that in Edinburgh it is the centre of dance, and a link/ window into what is happening in the rest of Europe. I would like to thank all my teachers and mentor (Matthew Hawkins) for this year. It has been life changing.

Creative Scotland
Supported by Edinburgh
Supported by the City of Edinburgh Council