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Dance Consortia North West (DCNW) has commissioned seven dance artists, practitioners and organisations to re-imagine the region’s dance by researching, creating and delivering new work in collaboration with creatives and communities.
The commissioned projects represent the diversity of artistic practice in the North West, including dance in health and education, touring, disability and cross-disciplinary work. Each commission will create employment opportunities for performers and practitioners throughout the region, as well as generating the chance for diverse audiences to see, experience and participate in varied forms of dance.
The commissioned artists and companies are: the Bluecoat, Company Carpi, Dr. Sara Giddens, Labelled? Dance Theatre, LPM Dance, Sole Rebel, and UCLanDance.
The two-year programme will engage more people dancing from more backgrounds in more dance styles, and aims to help artists and audiences adapt to life beyond Covid-19, reduce inequality in the sector and increase resilience by generating employment and sustainable business models. The commissioning panel for the programme is made up of dance artists, and dance professionals: Debbie Bandara, Bridget Fiske, Sue Harrison, Anthony Missen, Shelley Owen, Sri Sarker, Christopher Rodriguez, Josh Slater, and Eckhard Thiemann.
About the Commissions
Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre and working home for artists, will collaborate with a UK dance artist to research a framework for dance residencies which work through reflective time, peer involvement and public engagement.
Bluecoat will draw on its resources, expertise, history with dance and projects such as Blue Room Moves (an inclusive arts programme for learning disabled artists) and their concept of the Bluecoat as a worksite, to investigate questions such as what elements of an artist’s development practice can and should be shared with public audiences.
Company Carpi (Cheshire), the partnership of choreographer Bettina Carpi and composer Gary Lloyd, will investigate how independent companies can evolve and tour work, through further development of When You Light A Candle, You Also Cast A Shadow (originally commissioned by DCNW in 2019 and performed at Peter Scott Gallery Lancaster Arts), a gallery-based work about climate crisis. An element of developing the work is performing with live musicians, finding alternative venues and creating a film, to give the piece life beyond the traditional performance space, bringing contemporary dance to wider audiences via the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of the work.
Dr. Sara Giddens’ (Bodies in Flight, Lancashire) multigenerational research project Life Class will gather choreographic and spoken evidence from two groups of Older Movers in Preston and Blackpool. This will lead to co-created performance works presented in local social dance spaces and professional venues. This project focuses on the importance of building relationships through dance, both with participants and audiences, and will challenge audiences more familiar with professional tours to appreciate the value of social dance.
Labelled? Dance Theatre (L?DT, Merseyside) are an autism-specific integrated dance company with an additional training/advocacy scheme. Founder / choreographer Adam John Roberts will create Can We Start Again Please? (working title), a personal work for three dancers about entanglement and rectification, choreographing conflict resolution for positive social change.
LPM Dance will explore the impact of creative ownership for dancers living with Parkinson’s involved in a choreographic process, asking how participants can become creators, co-curators, and choreographers through a series of workshops and commissions, building to performances or a short documentary.
Sole Rebel will run an outreach programme, presenting tap workshops and performances celebrating rhythm as a universal language, for schools, youth centres and organisations in the under-served communities of Liverpool. The outreach builds on Sole Rebel’s new training and performance company and provides additional skills and work opportunities for new artists. Tap is a subversive form, rooted in protest and transcendence, with improvisation and innovation paramount to its survival and its origin in African American culture.
UCLanDance (Lancashire) alumni will explore developing and facilitating somatic dance provision in the community and uncover best practice for social prescribing, working with emerging and established practitioners. The project will create opportunities for continued peer learning and mentoring, with a specific focus on somatic practice in early years. It is facilitated with communities to deepen and develop embodied methods for presence, movement, play and belonging.
Panellist Sue Harrison said “The DCNW Research Programme is about commissioning dance creatives and organisations to find knowledge and solutions to the issues and ideas that are important to them and the sector. It has been interesting to see the scope, scale and diversity of proposals that were put forward and a difficult task to identify which to commission.
We designed the commissioning process to open the door as wide as possible to ideas, and both the proposals submitted and the commissions awarded by the panel demonstrate a wide range of practice and practitioner, issues and solutions. We are excited to see what these commissions will reveal and their impact on artists, participants and dance”.
The second round of commissions will be awarded in April 2021. Details of how to apply can be found here: https://danceconsortianorthwest.org/research-programme. Deadline: 10 March 2022.
The Research Programme is funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding
About Dance Consortia North West
Dance Consortia North West (DCNW) is a powerful consortia of dance artists, companies and venues that respond collectively to the strengths, needs and specialisms of the region’s artists and organisations, whilst also learning from and collaborating with the wider dance and cultural sector. DCNW works to identify and deliver collective actions that produce change which is greater than artists and individual organisations could produce by themselves. We work together to make small changes with big impact.
The ethos of DCNW is democratic and transparent, and membership is drawn from and reflects different parts of the dance ecology. Our primary task is to fulfil the NW Dance Plan which plans how the North West dance sector will grow from 2020 to 2026.
DCNW aims to:
DCNW invites dancers, dance creatives and organisations to create or develop work, include more people and more diversity, look at dance post COVID, tackle critical issues such as racial equity or the environment, and share knowledge and practice. Visit https://danceconsortianorthwest.org/research-programme for more information.
About the North West Dance Plan
DCNW is supported by its members and project activity and is funded by Arts Council England. Most of the activity within DCNW to date has focused on coordination, collective action and creating knowledge, commitment and inspiration for the strategic plan, which outlines the Consortia’s ambitions for 2020-26.
This Dance Plan will be our opportunity to think more ambitiously about the whole of the North West ecology and creating a vision-led strategy to grow that ecology.
Programme activity to date includes a mentoring project for dance professionals, artist and venue co-commissions, a guide to dance venues in the North West to support touring and production, networking events and wide consultation to inform the dance plan.
Now is the time to reinforce our collective commitment to dance and our achievements to date to lay the ground to transform the sector.
About the Panel
All panellists worked collaboratively to make this decision, and where necessary, conflicts of interest were declared to ensure a fair process.
Arts Council Support
Dance Consortia North West celebrates the support of Arts Council England for DCNW’s programme of research to find new ways of making and sharing dance. Through commissioned Dance Labs, showcase events and sharing knowledge, Dance Consortia members want to create the future of dance with more people dancing from more backgrounds in more dance styles.
To find out about submitting a proposal for Round 2 of DCNW’s Research Programme, please visit: www.danceconsortianorthwest.org/research-programme