In 2008 Zoë Leigh Gadd launched Dance Ahead with the aim to broaden theatre audiences in Carlisle. Previous projects include fashion events, TV advertising campaigns, living window displays and street theatre in collaboration with Sara Gadd Millinery, The Lanes Shopping Centre and Prism Arts.

In September 2015, through the direction of Zoë Leigh Gadd and Adam Russell, Dance Ahead created #HiddenSpaces15 supported by Grants for the Arts. This was a site-specific immersive dance theatre production with a cast of professional artists and community members aged 6 to 79 years old, presented to 200+ live audience members.

During #HiddenSpaces15 a strong team was formed to further develop Dance Ahead with a view to becoming a registered company, in late 2016, based in Carlisle. Dance Ahead believes strongly in the benefits of different generations working together to build stronger communities; fostering greater understanding, mutual respect & skills development across age groups and retaining talent in the region.
Dance Ahead brings contemporary dance off the stage and into the public domain with a view to raising awareness of the beauty of the art form. We have a firm belief that there is great potential for the integration of contemporary dance into commercial contexts. We aim to explore, excite, entertain and engage viewers in celebration of artistic talent and innovative visual presentation. The heady mixture of theatre, dance, music and design cannot fail to cater for a universal audience, clearly offering something for everyone to enjoy.

Dance Ahead is committed to collaboration and equality with the belief that art may be enriched by many diverse cultures and backgrounds. Access and diversity are central to Dance Ahead’s ethos, predominantly through a cross-generational approach. Culture can originate from ethnicity, race, nationality, language, philosophy, passion, faith, disability, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, family, country of birth and marital status. Working from interdisciplinary perspectives allows Dance Ahead to broaden the inclusivity and cultural enrichment of the work produced by the group.

Currently Dance Ahead functions as a not-for-profit unincorporated group with the following aims at its core:

• To create innovative and original Dance Theatre performance works.
• To make Dance, Theatre and Art accessible to all by providing opportunities for audiences and participants.
• To explore, excite, entertain and engage viewers in celebration of artistic talent and innovative visual presentation.
• To educate communities through performing arts.
• To offer collaborative opportunities for local businesses, recent graduates and community members.
• To improve opportunities for cross-generational engagement in the performing arts and raise awareness of local talent.
• To promote and celebrate diversity of societies and individuals.
• To promote health and well-being through partaking in arts activities.
• To improve opportunities and provide arts opportunities in communities throughout Cumbria for residential community and visitors.
• To promote Arts work produced in Cumbria internationally.
• To provide equal opportunity for all.