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The Shopkeeper

A thought-provoking short film that uses contemporary dance and comedy to explore one man’s struggle between his outward-facing persona and his inner-battle with depression.

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Artist Bio

Sandrine Monin

Sandrine began her training at the C.N.S.M.D. de Lyon (Fr), then continued her studies in Germany with the D.A.N.C.E. programme lead by W. Forsythe, W. McGregor, A. Preljocaj and F. Flamand and graduated from the Palucca Hochshule für Tanz in 2010 with a Master's Degree.


As professional dancer, she worked with varied choreographers and performed for renowned companies (Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Phoenix Dance Theatre).

In parallel of her performing career, she has developed her own choreographic work as well as teaching classes and workshops.

In 2017, she was selected artist for the Mentoring Programme and the Choreographer's Observership from One Dance UK.

She is now freelance choreographer, dancer and teacher based in Leeds.

Always looking to further her practice, she has validated in 2019 a Business and Finance course with the Open University and is studying a MA in Choreography with Central School of Ballet.

Often wrapped in poetic and surrealistic atmospheres, her unique choreographic signature is visceral, marrying strong physicality, sophisticated technique and human sensitivity. Tackling brave subjects with generosity, integrity and humour, her work empowers and brings people together. 


She uses dance as a channel for deeper connections.

About the project...

The project revolves around three ambitions. 

Firstly, the investigation of a collaboration between contemporary dance and comedy.

Secondly, the desire to create work touching on mental health issues - specifically depression to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around the topic.

To finish, the work takes a look at the precarious situation of many independent business owners - situation exacerbated this year by Covid-19.


The creative questions will explore how the two media, can complement each other; how spoken words and movements can be combined to create a unique language to raise the issue, engage with the audience and open a dialogue on a topic that needs to be openly discussed.


In this intent, the project will explore the development of a poignant short film, where one actor and one dancer give life to funny and relatable characters through comedy and dance, while underlying some darker societal problems. 

The narrative starting point sees two characters at the back of a store. Everything appears normal, but the relationship looks increasingly toxic… 

Only at the end, the audience will realise that the man has been on his own all along and the woman only a personification of the depression that he suffers from; portraying the silent, solitary, relentless battle happening in his head.

About the outreach...

This exciting project will make a priority to reach out and engage with a wide and diverse audience. 


Throughout the research and development of the film, the artists will organise outreach visits and interview independent business owners in diverse local communities, bringing dance and theatre in new fields. This process will be supported by Space2, a mental health charity and a mental health nurse, allowing conversations to happen within a safe environment, ensuring safeguarding measures and offering assistance for anyone in need.

Workshops, conversations and streaming will be put in place, gathering feedback and making sure the work remains relatable and accessible to a broad audience.

About the partners...

The project is supported by experienced and highly qualified partners on both creative & managerial aspects who will ensure its fulfilment and the standard of its outcome.

Spin Arts

Spin Arts, Director Sarah Shead and Associate producer Rosie Watt, has over 12 years of combined experience producing, fundraising, marketing and managing successful artistic projects from national/regional schemes to a range of GFA / Lottery funding projects.
Sarah’s background is in professional development at Dance4 and Yorkshire Dance, and has produced touring shows with companies such as DeNada Dance Theatre, Hagit Yakira Dance and Tell Tale Hearts.
Rosie Watt has worked with clients such as Non Applicables, Earthfall, Kapow, Surface Area Dance Theatre, and has previously worked in marketing, admin, and dance teaching roles for Dance City, and as an assessor for Total Theatre Awards at Edinburgh Fringe in collaboration with The Place.

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Kala Sangam

Performing venue in Bradford, featuring high-quality local, national & international artists from a variety of cultural heritages:

· Brings best choreographers & composers

· Works with artists to offer tailored support to their needs (free rehearsal space, organisational development, writing fundraising applications, performance opportunities, technical support, meeting room space)

Yorkshire Dance

Yorkshire Dance is a charity which champions the value of dance and its development in Yorkshire.
We create opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to see, make and take part in high quality dance.

The Middle Floor 

The Middle Floor is an inclusive, not for profit art and movement creation and events space run by Excessive Human Collective. The space is located in Leeds City Centre and is used for residencies, classes, workshops, exhibitions, meetings, sharing's, talks and co-working. We believe in the transformative power of art and movement and our aim is to support the artistic community in Leeds and let this influence our community practice.


Space2 is an award winning arts and social change charity, based in inner East Leeds. Space2 has a passion for the arts and the social and personal outcomes it inspires. Much of their work emphasises health and wellbeing and reducing isolation.  They also offer activities that support people with mental health issues and lead mental health anti-stigma campaigns across the city co-produced with young people.


A world-leading centre for dance education and development.

To provide an inspirational learning experience, from first contact through into the profession, enabling aspiring dance artists, and dance professionals, regardless of background, to shape the future of dance.


Northern Ballet Academy

Inspiring the dancers of tomorrow, the Academy of Northern Ballet embodies a 21st Century approach to training. Under the direction of David Nixon OBE and Yoko Ichino, students receive the highest quality training that captures the talent and imagination of individuals and nurtures their passion for dance, creating balanced and healthy dancers who excel in technique and knowledge.

Elmhurst Ballet School

Vocational Dance School whose mission is to inspire, nurture and celebrate young ballet dancers sharing a talent, commitment and passion to become exceptional dance professionals, regardless of financial circumstances.

About the project R&D in 2019-20

The project had a first phase of research in 2019-20:

- 4 weeks studio research with actor Paul Dunphy and mentors to established story, characters and dramaturgy.

- Over 100 people took part in a survey on their experience with mental health 

- Workshops & Classes

- New partnerships with venues, programmers, mental health charities 

- Performance in front of an audience to gather feedback 

Promotional Trailer

Promotional Trailer

Promotional Photoshoot

Artists Interview

Audience feedback

About the future of the work...

This activity is the beginning of a long-term plan Sandrine has to establish herself as a Yorkshire based contemporary dance choreographer & company.
This activity is invaluable to Sandrine’s artistic development as a director, dedicated to reaching new and hard-to-engage audiences across the UK, in dance/theatre venues, particularly reaching many who have not seen contemporary dance before.
Sandrine has begun to establish wider connections including Mental Health charities and groups such as Space2, as well as independent business owners.
With the support of her well-connected dance network in Leeds and in the UK, she is aiming at reaching a wide and diverse audience and present accessible, relatable and high-quality digital work, in the view to become a live performance in the future.

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Sharon Watson,

Principle and CEO of NSCD

The concept is unique and new. What I loved about it was the sensitivity around the relationship. I think it was cleverly done in terms of working the body, the individual as a metaphor.

The fact that it is with a non-dancer tells us that we can create art in  a way that has a message for all of us.

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Andy Craven-Griffiths,

Writer and performer

The Shopkeeper did an exceptional job, already, in conveying the experience of depression, what it feels like, the weight of it. 

I am really excited to see narratively where it ends.

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Josh Sadler, 

Video Editor

I haven't thought about depression being expressed physically. Seeing it manifested in a physical way really gets the point across better than trying to explain it.

It's an eloquent way of getting across what depression feels like.

Supporting Letter

From Sharon Watson - Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre

Previous work...

Videos, pictures and reviews...

Choreographic Showreel

Pieces created for Phoenix Dance Theatre, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich, Phoenix Youth Academy, Lowry CAT Scheme


Creation on Central School of Ballet - 2019


Photos: Patrick Baldwin

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2019



Creation on Phoenix Dance Theatre - 2018

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Photos: Brian Slater

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2018

Review dance Europe 2018
Review dance Europe 2018
Review dance Europe 2018

Review - Yorkshire Times 2018

Instagram post from audience member


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Creation on Phoenix Dance Theatre - 2017

Calyx was nominated 'Best Premiere 2017' by Dance Europe Magazine Critic's Choice 2017, toured around the UK for 2 years and in festivals in Germany and China

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Photos: Brian Slater

Review - Dance Europe Magazine 2017

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Education work

Technique class - Creative and Choreographic workshops

Phoenix Dance Theatre
Phoenix Dance Theatre – GCSE Shadows
Phoenix Youth Academy
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures
Wayne McGregor Studio

Scottish Dance Theatre

Tutti Frutti Productions
ACE Dance and Music
James Cousins – GCSE Within Her Eye
Northern Ballet - Postgraduate and CAT
NSCD - BA, postgraduate and CAT

Elmhurst Ballet School
Central School of Ballet
CAT Schemes (Swindon, Exeter, Birmingham)
Leeds City College


Phoenix Dance Theatre (Dance company)
Roberto D. Rusconi (Composer)

Kristian Steffes (Composer)
Intrasonus (Trans-disciplinary producing company)
Centres for Advanced Training CAT schemes
(NSCD, Exeter, Swindon, Birmingham)
Central School of Ballet - London
Emma James (Costume Designer)
Luke Haywood (Lighting Designer)
Marcos Mariz (Dramaturg)
Hughboy Condor (Set designer)

Lou Cope (Dramaturg)

Paul Dunphy (Actor)

©2020 by Sandrine Monin