Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme 2021/22 | Open Call

Mele Broomes DEBS

Photo Credit: Boitumelo Moroko

Dance Base Scotland are recruiting four emerging dance / movement artists to join the Dancers Emerging Bursary Scheme (DEBS) - a supportive programme of mentoring, guidance and practical support led by Dance Base and our 2021/22 mentor, dance artist and director Mele Broomes!

Established in 2015, the DEBS programme provides creative mentorship and practical support for emerging movement artists as they hone their practice and navigate their route forward into the professional dance sector. Running from September to June each year, the programme equips artists who have recently completed a period of training, education or practical experience in dance, with the skills, knowledge and confidence to embark on the next stage of their artistic journey, while also providing a strong and supportive relationship with Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre of Dance, as they continue to develop their practice and creative work.

Each year the DEBS programme welcomes a different practicing artist to join the programme as the DEBS mentor, enabling the members to benefit directly from their incredible experience and deep understanding of the dance sector. This year we are honoured to welcome Mele Broomes as the 2021/22 mentor!

Mele Broomes is a director, choreographer and performance artist whose work embodies stories from the collective voice, creating visceral and sensory collaborations through her ancestral heritage. During the 2021/22 programme Mele will focus on concept, content and structure, reflecting on process and exploring how artists can develop work for the stage.

Throughout the year Mele will encourage the DEBS members to embrace and recognise the importance of play and interrogation as they explore ideas and embody concepts through the creative process. Acting as a responsive sounding board Mele will provide a space for ideas to be tried, tested, and reflected on as part of a dynamic and responsive exchange.

Mele will also delve into the process of making work, focusing on the necessity of respectful collaboration. Drawing from her own experience as a director, choreographer, performer and, at many times, straddling roles as creative producer, Mele brings a unique perspective on what makes creative collaboration successful, how to gauge and manage expectations, and how artists can articulate their vision as part of a collaborative exchange.

During DEBS I achieved more than I thought possible. I hit many career milestones. I had many times when I thought that too much was being asked of me and I navigated this with my mentor’s guidance. I also had a team to celebrate the successes and the experiments. Dance Base has been a great place for me to learn all manner of the skills that are part of being a modern day artistPast DEBS member


What the DEBS programme provides:

By becoming a DEBS member, you will receive the following from September 2021 to June 2022:

  • One to one mentoring from experienced dance artist, Mele Broomes
  • Group conversation and exploration with the other DEBS members and Mele
  • Practical advice and guidance from the Dance Base Programmes Manager, Kirsty Somerville, and the wider team on financial support, logistics and administration to support you now, and moving forward
  • Free weekly professional classes at Dance Base
  • Free selected community classes at Dance Base subject to availability
  • Two week-long group residencies at Dance Base with Mele and the other DEBS members held in the Autumn 2021 and Summer 2022
  • Free studio space, subject to availability
  • Support and connection with the Dance Base team
  • Travel expenses to attend in person activity at Dance Base
  • Support with access related needs(e.g. BSL interpretation, captioning, accessible documents etc.) 


This opportunity is for individuals who:

  • Are based in Scotland and who see their work as based in physical or choreographic practices.
  • Have completed a period of training, education or practical experience in dance or related disciplines within the last two years. This does not need to be academic but you will need to be practicing at an advanced practical level.
  • Have an interest and desire to develop a career as a dance / movement artist.

Dance Base recognise that there are significant barriers to working in the dance sector and that these challenges are experienced more acutely by those facing marginalisation and deep-rooted systemic injustice. This includes people with protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010 across age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation alongside those with chronic illness, neurodiversity, parental/caring responsibilities, experience of the immigration system and people from working-class backgrounds.

We are committed to increasing the diversity of artists working in our sector and especially welcome applications from those who identify as having characteristics currently under-represented in our sector.


How to Apply:

To apply for this opportunity please submit the following items to Kirsty Somerville, Programmes Manager, at

  • An expression of interest detailing:
    • What interests you about the programme and with Mele in particular
    • Why you think you would benefit from the scheme at this point in your career

This should be either in a written format of no more than 800 words, or as a video/audio recording of no more than 4 minutes. Visual quality, camera and editing skills will not be taken into consideration for filmed submissions and spelling and grammar will not form part of the consideration of written applications. 

  • A link to footage of you dancing and / or performing. This does not need to be a professional showreel and visual quality, camera and editing skills will not be taken into consideration – we just want to see your physical dance practice and style.
  • link to more information about your practice - this could be a CV, personal statement or a link to your website.   
  • A completed Equality Diversity, and Inclusion monitoring form, if you feel comfortable to do so.


Deadline: Thursday 24th June, 11:00am

Applicants informed: by Thursday 1st July

Interviews: Thursday 8th July


How We Are Selecting: 

The expressions of interest will be read by Mele and Programmes Manager, Kirsty.  Selected applicants will be invited to attend an online interview with Mele and Kirsty.

Should you wish to have a conversation about the application process, require this information in an alternative format, or have access requirements we need to meet to support you in making an application please contact Kirsty at Dance Base on 




Mentor Biography:

Mele Broomes is an artist and director. Her work embodies stories from the collective voice, creating visceral and sensory collaborations through her ancestral heritage. Activating social questions, remembering and celebrating.

Mele has presented works and or delivered workshops, mentorship, guest lecturing and tutorials with Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), University of Dance and Circus (DOCH), Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW), Scottish Contemporary Art Network, V&A Dundee, Vogue Scotland and more. Her work has been associated with organisations such as Tramway, Take Me Somewhere, The Work Room, Dance Base, SPLAYED Festival, CONTACT Manchester, Black Gold Art, Once Dance UK and Dance International Glasgow.

Mele works between directing, creative producing, choreography and performance. Thinking about and actioning teams that best reflect and support the artistry that is being presented. 

Mele founded V/DA in 2011, a multi disciplinary platform where Mele developed her work as a choreographer and director. Mele is co-director and co-founder of Project X Dance. A collectively run organisation that champions dance and performance within the African and Caribbean Diaspora in Scotland. Currently Mele is developing Body Remedy. A resource to support the physical and mental wellbeing for Black Womxn, Womxn of Colour + Non Binary People of Colour.

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