As the year drew to a close in 2019, we took the time to celebrate our amazing participants, staff, and ­­­partnerships for our #12daysofgiving campaign. The moments we chose represent some of our main goals: to give more people access to the arts; to reduce the effects of isolation and loneliness among older people; and to use the movement and fun of dance to positively impact wellbeing. Take a look at what we got up to below…

Two girls dancing at Rubicons Schools Dance festival 2019.

We started the year with our Schools' dance festival. 60 schools from across Cardiff performed in St David’s Hall over 3 nights. Over 1,000 pupils took to the stage, demonstrating their skills through a brilliant array of dances. Having this access to dance and culture is so important for young people. It shows them that they can have big aspirations and that their own story deserves a stage.

Women from Rubicons over 50s dance group, Nu Wave, dancing during a workshop at our Gwanwyn dance day. 

In May we took part in Gwanwyn, Age Cymru’s month long festival celebrating creativity in older age across Wales. We held a daylong event with our over 50’s dance groups here at Rubicon, which involved workshops, food, and of course, dancing. The day was a great opportunity for our different over 50’s groups to come together, share all things creative and stay active.

Practitioners at our Wales Wide Training Programme, dance for Parkinsons training day. 

In June, a two day training event was organised by Rubicon, Wales Wide Training Programme, Cardiff Metropolitan University and People Dancing, which focused on Dance for Parkinson's. Kindly hosted by Cardiff Metropolitan University, the training allowed 20 highly experienced dance practitioners from across Wales to learn various approaches in leading Dance for Parkinson's. Different approaches were led by Heidi Wilson from Cardiff Metropolitan University; Dr Sophia Hulbert, Specialist Physiotherapist and Clinical Academic; Yvette C Halfhide, dance leader; and Helen Woods, musician, who co-lead and works with the English National Ballet/National Dance Company Wales model. On day one of the training we were also joined by people living with Parkinson’s, who are participants in Heidi's sessions in Pontypool and Builth Wells.

Rubicon were delighted to offer the 20 Welsh dance practitioners a bursary funded through Parkinson’s EQUIP (raised by People Dancing), The Oakdale Trust and The Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Charitable fund (raised by Rubicon). We were honoured to have the training weekend opened by Baroness Anita Gale, member of the House of Lords, and Kiki Gale, Director of Dance for Parkinson’s Partnership UK at People Dancing.

Interior of Roath Library.

During the summer we were awarded a £100,000 grant from the Community Asset Transfer Fund for the community asset transfer of Roath Library. The library will give us more space so we can make a bigger impact on the health and wellbeing of community residents and provide a real alternative to young people for whom school is not working out.

The library means we can do all of this and remain rooted in the community that has supported us for more than 40 years. We want to transform Roath Library into a state of the art dance centre and restore all the original features. There will be 3 new dance studios & a community meeting space.


In July Rubicon’s BTEC students collaborated with Only Boys Aloud on a project called Academi. The project brought together the two organisations for 7 days of intensive singing and dance workshops at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Both groups shared their skills and experience and learnt about each other’s discipline.

After the 7 days the group had devised a performance called ‘Songs of Light and Darkness’. The new skills the singers and dancers had learnt were incorporated into pieces such as ‘Jai Ho’, ‘A Chorus Line’, and ‘Colloquy’. The latter was choreographed by Marcus Jarrell-Willis who Rubicon commissioned especially for the project. The performance was shown twice in both the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Stiwt in Rhosllanerchrugog, North Wales.

Dancers facing the back of the stage with arms raised above them and deep blue lighting,

In the summer we were one of the winners at Garfield Weston’s Charity Awards. As a result of winning we were awarded a 12-18 month bespoke programme with Pilotlight, an organisation that matches senior business leaders with charities to help them succeed and realise their vision. We were also awarded £6,500 from Garfield Weston to use in any way we wished during our mentoring with Pilotlight.

We were delighted to win this award and really excited to see the impact it would have on us as an organisation as we looked towards securing Roath Library and taking the charity to the next level. Our experience so far with Pilotlight has helped us shape our strategies as we move forward to make sure Roath Library is successful and invaluable to the community.

Rubicon full time BTEC students at U.Dance

At the end of July Rubicon’s students went to London to take part in One Dance UK’s U.Dance festival. This annual festival sets out to celebrate the talent and creativity of young dancers across the UK, whilst raising awareness of the dance events that take place nationwide.

Rubicon’s students were selected to represent Wales at the festival and took part in a whole weekend of careers talks, workshops and choreography sessions with leading dance professionals. The festival finished with performances from all the youth dance groups taking part, where Rubicon’s students performed ‘Days’.

Millie and other creative interns, along with their arts mentors on the internship induction day.

In October we welcomed Millie to the team, our new creative intern. Millie applied for Arts & Business Cymru's Creative Internship Programme and is now a part of our fundraising team at Rubicon. The programme will give Millie the opportunity to work in a real arts environment with support from both an arts and business mentor, and the chance to attend A&B Cymru's training courses and events throughout the year. As well as increasing our fundraising capacity for the library, joining the creative internship programme for a second year running will continue to strengthen our connections with other arts organisations in Wales.

Rubicon full time BTEC students performing Colloquy at Arts at the Senedd.

At the end of October Rubicon's students performed at 'Art @ the Senedd' along with 30 members of the Only Boys Aloud Cardiff and Cwmbran choirs. Arts & Business Cymru organise Art @ the Senedd in partnership with Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism. Rubicon's students performed 'Colloquy', a piece choreographed by Marcus Jarrell-Willis which celebrates dance as a universal form of communication that overcomes the irregularities and barriers of language. The evening was a great opportunity for the students to showcase their hard work and talent.

Young dancers in blue tshirts

In November Welsh Assembly's Culture Committee launched their report into Poverty, Culture and Social Exclusion. The review called for arts organisations to reach more widely into communities, especially those which are traditionally considered as hard to reach. Rubicon’s work was commended for actively involving the communities we work in; co-creating with residents and making art that reflects the community. 

Dance leader, Anwen, dancing with a participant during a session. Keith Little ensemble playing in the background.

In 2018 Rubicon developed a partnership with Music in Hospitals & Care with the goal to bring live music into care homes and different hospital settings. Throughout 2019 The Keith Little Ensemble have accompanied our dance practitioners in care homes, at our community stroke programme in University Hospital Llandough, and also at an over 60’s performance group in Newport. These sessions have given dance practitioners the opportunity to work with live music and the participants a chance to experience music from high calibre musicians.

The combination of music and dance is uplifting for participants: it gets everyone in the room engaged no matter what their ability is, and alleviates social isolation for people who may spend much of their time alone or without access to concerts and performances. The positive effects of this partnership would not have been possible without the generous funding of the Waterloo Foundation.

Nu Wave, our over 50s dance group, performing for S4Cs Christmas indents.

At the end of the year S4C asked four Welsh dance organisations to perform a piece for their indents that would appear during programme breaks over the Christmas period. NuWave, our performance group for participants 55+, were asked to perform a dance that captures the warmth, festivities, and closeness of Christmas. Watch their amazing performance here:

And that's it for our #12daysofgiving. If you would like to find out any more information about our work, please email [email protected], or phone us on 02920 491477.