Theatre Bristol has always been passionate about dance; we are here to support and develop all live performance. We share ideas around dance strategy at every monthly team meeting and every quarterly Board meeting, Choreographer Laila Diallo is on our board, we support dance artists through our artist support service, twice a year we run Testing Ground and we support young dancers through our partnership with RISE Youth Dance.
However in 2016 dance in Bristol was a key focus for our then Co-Director Katie Keeler “It felt like Theatre Bristol had a job to do: to shine a light on dance in the city”. You can read some of Katie’s thoughts in the showcase article, Dance Futures and read about our plans for 2017 onwards in Dance Futures 2.
The Dance Futures Steering Group (DFSG) grew out of this investigation: a group of organisations and independents able to commit time and resources to taking dance development forwards, building on the bedrock of recent research. We represent the input and interests of a much wider range of stakeholders, and aim to do so in an open, non-hierarchical way.
The Dance Futures Advocate role is the next stage of this development, with the aim of focusing on action and advocacy in Bristol and nationally. We are currently recruiting this role – see here for more information.
It will work to achieve the Dance Futures Vision, a statement of intent for the future of dance that builds on the Dance Futures research:
- To have a strong national and international reputation, as Bristol’s theatre and other forms of live performance do now.
- To be known for its independent spirit and diversity of practice.
- To be connected and collaborative, raising the quality and reach of dance.
- To have a sector led by organisations and artists equally.
- To have leadership and capacity to drive dance development forwards after 2020.
- To have high quality spaces and facilities for training, creation and performance.
- To nurture and welcome artists working along the whole spectrum of dance including experimental artists and practice as well as more conventional and commercial performance.
- For people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be able to make, watch and take part in brilliant dance that connects with their lives and communities in meaningful ways.
- To foster a range of new dance partnerships locally, regionally and nationally that take dance creation and training to the next level.
- To access a range of new investment, strengthening existing organisations, companies and artists and enabling the development of new work, training and artist support.
- For its potential and impact to be understood and valued by partners including other arts and cultural forms, local authorities, health and education sectors.
Read below for more information about Dance Matters and Dance Futures…
Throughout 2016 met with funders, producers, presenters, regional partners, students and professional practitioners. Below are some of the results of those conversations, along with the other ways we currently support and develop dance.
- We held a Dance Matters meeting in March 2016
Download Dance Matters Notes
- With the help of lots of contributors we started an audit, to map and celebrate the activity that already exists in the city: Download Dance Audit 2017 Update
If you have anything to add to the audit email
- Working with Pavilion Dance South West, Katy Noakes, Bristol City Council and Arts Council England we brought people together for a city-wide conversation.
Download the notes from this meeting
- Katie Keeler, Mel Scaffold and Katy Noakes met with Deputy Mayor, Estella Tincknell, who pledged support around dance venues. Katy Noakes and Laila Diallo produced Moving Bristol, A Manifesto for Dance in the City. A short document written in response to the meeting convened by Theatre Bristol
Download A Manifesto for Dance in the City
- We supported Getting Out of the Box: How to survive as a Dance Artist led by Karla Shacklock. The event was an opportunity for artists, producers, programmers, funders and venues to come together, to have authentic conversations and to consider how we can work together in order to survive and thrive. It sold out
- We are a partner on a Cultural Curriculum for Bristol project, led by Bristol Plays Music. As the dance partner we will engage a dance practitioner in a leadership role to work with the CCfB partners and lead on the strategic development and practical in-school testing of how Dance practice can form part of a cultural curriculum
- One of our current Artist Support Associates, Laura Dannequin, is a dance artist. In March she will be joined by Karla Shacklock, also a dance artist. Laura and Karla support all artists and producers but have particular expertise around the needs of dancers.
Read more about our Artist Support Associates
- Our TB Agent pilot offered micro-bursaries for artists to attend conferences, training and other opportunities. 8 dance artists were given bursaries and we supported a further bursary for an artist to attend the Tribe of Doris Summer School. We will expand our TB Agents in 2017-18
- We continue to run Testing Ground in partnership with Circomedia, Bath Dance and supported by Karla Shacklock, Katherine Hall and Laila Diallo. Testing Ground is an opportunity for dance artists to try out new ideas in front of an audience.
Read more about Testing Ground