Body and Movement

Offering an important space to help LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers to overcome social exclusion, increase their confidence and fulfil their potential.

Dancing together is a way to find joy, fun and affirmation in our own physicality,  to express our creativity and to build a supportive and safe community. For LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers who often experience isolation and low self-esteem as a result of inhospitable experiences, Micro Rainbow’s body and movement programme offers an important space to help LGBTQI refugees and asylum seekers to overcome social exclusion, increase their confidence and fulfil their potential.The body and movement programme is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and is organised and delivered by a Creative Team of independent dance artists-facilitators and a producer.

“This was the first time myself and my girlfriend have been able to dance in public.”
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Lesbian refugee from Iran

What we do

The Body and Movement sessions happen every two weeks, in London, Birmingham and Cardiff, and last approximately 90 minutes with time before and after for some socialising and checking in with the Micro Rainbow staff that support the sessions. The artists, who lead the sessions in pairs, bring a range of different dance experience and styles to the sessions, so there’s always a variety of different kinds of dance and choreography to enjoy.  Also twice a year we have Creative Intensives, two-day sessions which allow us to explore different themes.  We spend more time creating dance and working with different artists, like film makers, photographers, poets and sound designers.The emphasis is on welcoming and including everyone, making connections and having a good time.  People who attend describe the sessions as relaxing and energising, helping them to lift their mood or ease their stress. If you are interested in attending any of the sessions please contact the team on [email protected]

“The session yesterday was really good, everyone was really nice and kind to me. I have not had that in really long time and it made my day. Am looking forward to the next session. Thankyou.”
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Gay man from Guyana

Our creative team of dance artists, teachers and choreographers

Fearghus Ó Conchúir –  Strategic Lead & Dance Artist

Stephanie Schober – Dance Artist 

Takeshi Matsumoto – Dance Artist

Seun Olayiwola – Dance Artist

Shivaangee Agrawal – Dance Artist 

Gerrard Martin – Dance Artist 

Johnny Autin – Dance Artist 

Kate Taylor – Dance Artist 

Angela Dennis – Dance Artist 

Jerry Dawson – Dance Artist

Devon Nelson – Dance Artist

Poppy Horwood – Dance Artist

Osian Meilir Ioan – Dance Artist 

Cêt Haf – Dance Artist

Richard Chappell – Dance Artist

Louisa Borg-Costanzi Potts – Producer

Kate Wakeling – Evaluator 

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© Kate Green photography
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© Kate Green photography

Videos from creative intensives

Micro Rainbow Dance Ambassadors

Since April 2023, two beneficiaries have taken on the roles of Dance Ambassadors. In that role they attend sessions in Cardiff, Birmingham and London, promoting the programme to other beneficiaries, gathering feedback from them and helping the creative team to shape how the programme develops. One of the Dance Ambassador has co-designed evaluation sessions with the programme evaluator. And in January 2024 they co-presented a talk on the programme at the Dance Citizenship: Moving and Belonging conference at Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

History of the programme and its future

Jamieson Dryburgh and Stephanie Schober, who were also faculty at Trinity Laban, secured space for the sessions at Trinity Laban’s professional studios.  In 2021, with the help of Louisa Borg-Costanzi Potts as producer, Micro Rainbow secured funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to embed the Body and Movement Programme as part of Micro Rainbow’s social inclusion activities. That meant that it could expand the creative team to bring in new skills, lived experience and perspectives as well as grow the reach of the programme beyond London.  In 2022, it set up regular sessions in Birmingham, where Micro Rainbow has a number of safe houses for LGBTQI asylum seekers.

In 2023, the programme expanded to Cardiff where Micro Rainbow is working with local NGOs to support LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees living in South Wales. In 2024, the programme will celebrate the achievements of the past four years of its Paul Hamlyn Foundation-funded activity with an exhibition, dance and social events for the Micro Rainbow family, its friends and supporters.

A group of people in a circle with their arms around each other, each holding their right leg
© Kate Green photography

This work could not happen without the transformational support of Paul Hamlyn Foundation

To support the Body and Movement work or Micro Rainbow’s broader programme, contact [email protected]

The journey within

Read John's story to learn more about the impact of the programme