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Collaborative approach to Dance development in the North

  • Date: 7 March 2012
  • Area: North
person in black dress

Liz Aggiss in Survival Tactics, part of Juncture 2012 at Yorkshire Dance in collaboration with Charlotte Vincent. Credit: Matthew Andrews

Companies and individuals across the dance community in the North are coming together to share ideas for a new joined up way of working. In a bid to build on existing achievements across the area’s three regions, this new collaborative way of working will help to develop vital area-wide conversations about the future of dance.

The North is lucky enough to be home to a diverse body of dance organisations and individual artists – dance agencies; community organisations and producing companies, including the likes of BalletLORENT; RJC Productions and Merseyside Dance Initiative, have each played a role in making the North a beacon for dance. In addition, Centres for Advanced Training delivered through Northern Ballet; The Lowry and Dance City play a key role in developing talented young dancers across the area. The North is also home to the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Affiliated to the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama National Body the only Conservatoire member north of London – the school delivers world class professional training for future dancers and choreographers.

This new approach to working is being led by the dance community, and is being delivered through a series of network meetings and discussions in partnership with Arts Council England. Meetings will look at the strength of an area perspective and the benefits around a sense of a critical mass for those involved. Input will be enriched by contributions from venues, higher education and theatre as well as those working in dance.

Two main areas of focus include: the North’s dance agencies – and their commitment to working in partnership to ensure a stronger, more coherent provision across the North; plus the area’s youth dance sector – and their dedication to developing a broader, collective approach to ensure that children and young people have access to high quality dance provision outside of school.

Pam Johnson, Relationship Manager, Dance, Arts Council England said: "Arts Council England is pleased to support the dance networks initiative that will see the coming together of key dance providers, artists and organisations to identify commons aims and ambitions for the North’s dance. The Arts Council values everyone’s contribution to the project and is keen to continue working with the dance sector to help ensure an even stronger future."

Ceri Brierley, Marketing and Development Manager, Northern School of Contemporary Dance said: "The North area dance network meetings have offered a forum for widening networks, creating new opportunities and discussing future collaborations. The discussions are already informing the way that Northern School of Contemporary Dance works in partnership with other dance organisations in our region. We know that the North of England has a high quality, diverse and exciting dance ecology, and we look forward to working with this extended network of artists and organisations to develop and promote it."

Outcomes from this series of meetings will be shared at a wider network event in March. This umbrella event will look at key findings from all of the discussions, and help to determine the next steps towards a better sense of cohesion, shared vision and common ambition for those working in dance across the North.