The Urban Explorers Journey

Bringing wonder and awe to young people with the uniting power of dance, Urban Explorers is our annual showcase with a unique vision. It’s an important project to us and close to our hearts– so we wanted to take you on the Urban Explorers journey, diving deeper into the legacy, history and deeper meaning behind the work.

“Urban Explorers strengthens self-belief and empowerment”

Tom Dale, Artistic Director

What is Urban Explorers?

Urban Explorers is a youth project bringing dance professionals and young people together to create incredible work and perform together on a major stage. 

We work with schools and local communities, specifically in areas of high deprivation and low arts engagement. The project takes place every year– since 2017, we’ve worked with over 500 students. The entire process takes several months: devising new choreography, providing CPD training to artists, and building an unforgettable experience for our young participants.

Ultimately, Urban Explorers is a celebration of creativity, ambition and collaboration. Our hopes are that we open doors, unlock confidence and self-belief, and support progression routes into creative careers or higher education.

The Urban Explorers timeline so far:


In 2017, our first edition of UBX took place at Nottingham Playhouse. I AM FOX was evocative free-flowing urban contemporary dance, borne out of the intensity and creativity of the UK’s electronic dance music scene.



In 2018, we were back at the Nottingham Playhouse. This year’s show took inspiration from visionary ideas about harvesting new energy sources, futuristic gardens and the collaboration between the organic, digital and mechanical worlds.


In 2019, we brought STEP SONIC to Nottingham Playhouse. It was the first year combining our touring production with our participation work. Groups got to choreograph and create their own music, using the innovative instruments TDC created for the show STEP SONIC. Movement generates sound, and then the sound in turn amplifies the movement, and through feedback and processing becomes the music. Quite literally: Dance Music, crafted live on stage.


This year, we adapted and created a new project where our students worked together to create new choreography for a commissioned dance film: UBX: DYNAMIC CORE. The project was a visceral fusion of urban dance, music and art as film.


In 2022, we performed at Light Night at the Nottingham Contemporary: UBX: SRG. The result was a stunningly visual, immersive dance performance, performed inside a digitally projected landscape to an evocative music score, featuring music from Ital Tek and animation from Barret Hodgson.


Also in 2022, we took UBX:SRG to Lincoln, and worked with four rural Lincolnshire groups for a performance at LPAC.



We performed at Light Night at the Nottingham Contemporary in 2023: SUB:VERSION. Celebrating light, choreography and electronic music, SUB:VERSION brought the audience directly into the performance space for a new kind of interactive viewing experience.


“The programme nurtures happy healthy, creative young people”

Tom Dale, Artistic Director


Why is Urban Explorers so important?

We consider this innovative youth project to be incredibly important, for many reasons.

  • Fostering individual self-worth and empowerment

One of our main aims is to create an innate sense of confidence, courage and self worth in our young participants. The fun but committed process helps to build fundamental life skills, creating a transferable skill set and unwavering inner confidence.

  • Creating community 

Urban Explorers is all about empowerment, and tapping into a safe sense of community. It involves teamwork and intense collaboration, helping to build valuable social skills and make new connections and friendships for life.

  • Encouraging a sense of pride

We view our Urban Explorers projects as having the same status and importance as our professional productions. Each project is produced to the highest quality, with robust working atmospheres and high production values. It’s work that our young participants can feel truly proud to be part of.

  • Paving the way for the future

Fostering young people’s love and enthusiasm for dance is so important to us. We nurture self expression, using dance as a universal language that needs no tools. Through Urban Explorers, we want our young participants to truly embrace the power of dance and see it as a viable, validated interest for their future.


“Creates an unforgettable moment – a milestone in their life”

Tom Dale, Artistic Director



What’s next for Urban Explorers?

The sky’s the limit for Urban Explorers, and we have plenty of exciting plans for the future of the project. We’re bold: we exist to inspire, take risks, and deliver new experiences. To stay in the loop with upcoming Urban Explorer plans, follow us on social media and sign up to our mailing list.