In Round 1 of the Research Programme (February 2022), Dance Consortia North West (DCNW) 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 looks to 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 for Round 1 included: the Bluecoat, Company Carpi, Dr. Sara Giddens, Labelled? Dance Theatre, LPM Dance, Sole Rebel, and UCLanDance.
This two-year programme is engaging more people dancing from more backgrounds in more dance styles, and is working towards helping 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 Round 1 was 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.
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 Research Programme is funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Funding
Company Carpi, When You Light A Candle, You Also Cast A Shadow, 2019. Photo credit: Brian Hickey
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. Outcomes of this project can be viewed here.
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. Outcomes of this project can be viewed here.
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. Outcomes of this project can be viewed here.
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. Outcomes of this project can be viewed here.
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.
The DCNW Research Programme is for North West dance artists and organisations to create or develop workwhich explores the future of dance. Please keep an eye on the main Research Programme Page for details of future rounds.
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Dance Consortia North West
C/O Cheshire Dance
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Winsford, Cheshire CW7 2AS
Tel: 01606 861770