Tuesday, 29 November 2011


The Italians have a phrase a which goes “Attraversiamo” which translates to "let's cross over", and boy was there plenty of that at this years Opera Estate –BMotion in Bassano del Grappa Italy.

For six days I attended the BMotion Dance Festival set within a delightful picturesque Italian backdrop of Bassano, hosted by Roberto Cassaroto. This festival brings a variety of artists from across Europe, to exchange, share, challenge, soak up all the creative juices and finally cross over in practices.

The days began with a 2-hour class taught by different guest teachers: Rachel Krische, Freddie Opoku Addaie and Rodrigo Sabarzo to name a few.

Pushed us to our limits, throughout the 38-degree heat to the point where most of us began to imagine how good that ice cream will taste at the end of class.

Everyday an open discussion was hosted by Peggy from the Netherlands, raising questions that challenged the panel of representatives from a variety of European cities including herself, as well as the audience. I absolutely enjoyed these sessions, it was great having time to reflect on questions brought to us, that both emerging and fully established artist found challenging to answer; for example:

  • Many young artist are struggling to find their own authentic voice, how do producers and dance houses support them with this? Can we be sure the support they provide is the most beneficial?
  • How do we find the next Pina Bausch?
  • Is it necessary to find another?
  • Is the responsibility of the artist even greater now, within this current financial situation that puts pressure on the arts?

A sharing of work in process presented by the participants, occupied my first afternoon in Bassano.

Choreoroam Europe is an international research project for choreographers. Its purpose is to build an international community of choreographers and stimulate the artist through dialogue, confrontation and interaction between the participants with outside their country.

It was nice to see how these people had came together for which had only been a week already, the amount the creative juices that where overflowing in Garage Nardini was interesting and exciting. Definitely some interesting and engaging ideas by Alessandro Sciarroni (EN), Janet Rodriquez (ES) and Pablo Esbert Lilienfeld (ES); keep your ears pinned back for future works by these artists, as it would defiantly be worth a look.

I must admit it has been quite a challenge to write about my time at BMotion this year, as it raised a big mix of thoughts and feelings within me that caught me off guard a little whilst away.

I guess I always thought, hypothetically speaking, that I am open minded and appreciative when it comes to experimental and boundary pushing work. However at least on a few occasions I left after seeing work, that I either was dying to see or just had been really recommended as a must see, leaving feeling either that I couldn’t read the work because it felt totally out there for me Or it just wasn’t to my taste

This feeling however bugged me, frustrated me and questioned me in reflection I guess that is what art is meant to do question us right?

It did play on my mind for quite some time after when I arrived back in the Nottingham. I guess it has encouraged me to reflect on the variety of work I feel that I have been seeing and to consider how broad this cross over of the contemporary performance, performance art, and when dance meets theatre is when place together in a dance programme. It is very tough to see such a varied amount of performance languages and expect to read them in the same way as each other and half them settle within you at the same time in the same way.

Finally once again I just want to share how Great Opera Estate –Bmotion week is, and giving us the chance to watching some thoughtful and intelligent performance in some of Bassano Del Grappa’s loveliest venues.

Dwayne Simms

Thursday, 17 November 2011

‘We Have A Strategic Plan – It’s Called Doing Things.’

This simple, yet effective motto pinned to the wall in Dance4’s headquarters is one of the first things I noticed upon entering. Secondly, I saw the welcoming smiley faces of all the staff working there, who seemed genuinely pleased to meet me. As I quickly tested my memory trying to remember everyone’s name, I jumped to the intern’s most important task as ‘tea monkey’, making a conscious effort to associate faces, attire and position in the office, with how they would like their morning caffeine fix. However, worry not, as at Dance4 even the simplest of tasks is made easy – they have their very own tea chart, clearly indicating everyone’s name and tea/coffee preferences... Instantly at ease, I felt that a company which puts this much thought into a tea chart, clearly intends to appreciate and value all staff, leaving the ‘tea monkey’ role open to anybody... aside from Mr Russ of course who is naturally exempt!

I felt prepared and excited for an insightful two weeks with Dance4, working on their Autumn Dance season, but was still bowled over by their friendly embrace and willingness to include me in all parts of the process. A rare fate as interns are often seen and not heard! Yet this isn’t the case with Dance4 and I had a supportive mentor, Miss Sarah Maguire, who loves schedules almost as much as she loves Red Bush “caramel goodness” tea, and who made sure I was constantly updated, included and educated on Dance4’s production process.

Beginning with PME-ART ‘Hospitality 3: Individualism Was A Mistake’, I met some lively, creative and jet-lagged Canadians, who are touring their new eclectic piece of work. I particularly liked the start of their performance and the way they asked the audience some thought provoking questions which were incorporated into the piece via an arrangement of post-it notes... I also loved their use of the ‘Space’ at Nottingham Contemporary and felt that this was a nice juxtaposition with Guy Dartnell’s piece held there two days later. ‘Inward Out’, Dartnell’s most recent work, was what I believe he intended it to be, a spectacle of observation and personal interpretation. My initial scepticism quickly dissipated as I found my inner hippie very susceptible to the work and I felt challenged and intrigued by such a unique ‘performance’.

During the last two days I was in the very capable coffee fuelled hands of Claire Hicks, working on ‘Be Like Water’ by Hetain Patel. I got to witness another element to the production process assisting the get-in/get-out and documenting the performance day, a practical engagement I thoroughly enjoyed. Especially when rewarded with New Art Exchange’s tasty samosas!

It’s fair to say Dance4 comprises a great team of talented and visionary individuals and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to work with them.

Thanking you!

Emily Jenkins

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

U Dance Intern

Hi everyone

Just introducing myself. I'm Stacey, the new U Dance Intern and I will be organising and planning all things around U Dance. I hope you have all seen the applications to be part of our county, regional and National platforms. If not make sure you take a look, its a fantastic opportunity to showcase your work in front of other dancers and live audiences. Be sure to get your applications in quickly as the deadline is Monday 31st October.

Best Wishes

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Year Later....

I recently took on a new job role as Administrator / Receptionist for the Conservatoire that I had graduated from 365 days ago.

I remember so clearly in the final weeks along with everybody else counting down the days to what was known as freedom. It feels that within a blink of an eye I am back but this time as a staff member and a public face of the school.

This opportunity came to my attention upon my temporary relocation back to the North. My working hours are in return for studio space while the students take a summer break. To be honest I am really enjoying the experience of having a few months learning and developing some administration skills and most important of all (which any established or emerging artist will appreciate) FREE studio space!

I have always had a lot of love for Yorkshire and my time here back up north has been rather nice actually: returning to daily classes again and finally having more creative time and space to develop work & generally just be inspired. How quickly my senses took me back to my first year in training and that daily new dancers concoction: finding my feet, my core and re-finding my seeing has all been missed by my internal system from what my bodies aches and pains are telling me. I wasn’t prepared for all of the soon-to-be-graduates in their last week of term asking me the dreaded question: "So what are you doing now?" Confused looks on their faces joined the obvious next question: 'Why are you here?'

Many questions, many reasons, many answers…

Then I realised that was me 362 days ago with 3 days until I was released into the big wide world of dance thinking, 'I am ready, right?'

Having travelled a lot since I graduated, performing, collaborating and making work for some commissioned pieces and (dare I even say it) enjoying life I then returned back home. I thought this would be pretty straight forward by getting a part-time job. 'I have a good a CV and I can multi-task and I have experience,' is what I was thinking. 'I will take a class and find some cheap studio space. This is Nottingham; it is well resourced with classes," ran through my mind also. Wow how wrong I was!

It was like real life jumped out of the floor and flashed me with reality so quickly once I had returned. Within 4 weeks I was in the queue pulling at my very first ticket and taking a seat at the job centre. That’s right I shall repeat it again I am not a shamed the "job centre" (I can finally insert a honest laugh at this point) but it did take me a year people.

I came across a discussion last week on TED Talks. I was watching some inspiring talk by a guy from the United States entitled “8 Rules to Success” when I came across the discussion further down on the page in which it was the title that first caught my eye 'How you do you balance pursuing your dreams with paying your bills? Or do you just go for broke?'

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Graduate Training Programme 2011

Hello all,

The Graduate Training Programme has come to a close. The programme finished on a high as we performed at The Core, Corby Cube. The performance was a success and has received great feed back. Well done to all the artists that took part and thank to everyone who came to watch.

Check out Dance4's website to see the members of Dance4's Graduate Company along side a fun photograph of the group!

The Graduate Training Programme allowed ten emerging artists to work with Dance4's Associate Artist Robert Clark, explore and create their own work and learn about areas within the dance sector.

I am confident in saying that the two weeks have been life changing, enjoyable yet intense. From rehearsals with Robert Clark to improvising with a coat, the group have learnt news skills and formed many new relationships.

Over the six days research period, Robert Clark worked with the group to create a piece entitled ' A History of Private Moments'. The piece worked with a collage of images, still and moving, open to interpretation by the audience and exist to be read like a fast moving flick book. During the process the dancers formed four distinctive takes on privacy, its boundaries, content and their relation to it, utilising a group improvisation score as its base. The piece allowed the artists to work together and move as one.

We had a lot of fun and it was great to see a variety of personalties shining through.

Best Wishes


Friday, 24 June 2011

Last day in the office before Dance4's GTP 2011

Hello to all readers,

Natalie here, I wanted to check in because I feel today is an important day. Today is my last day in the office before Dance4's Graduate Training Programme 2011 begins in Northampton.

Leading up to the project I have been working with another Dance4 member of staff to manage and produce the Graduate Training Programme 2011. I have enjoyed preparing and developing documents from the application selection forms to information packs, supporting the dancers attending the programme and making decisions on the smaller but as important details.

Leading up to the programme I have had the opportunity to go and view The Core at Corby Cube where the performance for the programme will take place on Friday 8 July. The event is entitled ' Springboard 2011' and I have been involved in varies areas in supporting staff in managing the event.

Other fun things include delving into Dance4's vintage wardrobe with both hands to sort through and send off a variety of t-shirts that Dance4 has collated over the years. I have also had a technical lesson that involved alot of cables and mics to create surround sound. The equipment is for the Graduate Training Programme 2011 and fingers crossed I can remember everything I was taught. Ha!

During the programme 11 other artists and I will be working with Dance4's Associate Artist Robert Clark to form Dance4's Graduate Company 2011. We will be performing in Springboard 2011 on the 8 July at The Core, Corby Cube.

Please visit the blog regularly to read updates on our progress (including all highs and lows) throughout the programme. Our schedule consists of practical and theoretical sessions, with a physio only a phone call away!

For any future interns out there, I definitely recommend applying for the internship here at Dance4. I am confident in saying that am starting to speak the language of the glorious Microsoft Word and Wordfly. I have had the opportunity to develop my administrative skills and I have really enjoyed working within the dance sector and being involved in the many exciting events, performances, courses, classes, opportunities that are happening here in the East Midlands.

An experience not to be missed. Watch this space...

Natalie - Intern

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Opportunity for artists!

Dance4 are offering a lively and enthusiastic individual a voluntary opportunity! We are offering you the opportunity to be apart of the Dance4 team to present springboard 2011 at The Core at corby Cube. The position is voluntary however, we can cover expenses! (yayyyy!)

This is a brilliant opportunity to be involved in the running of the performance entitled Springboard 2011.

Springboard 2011 is a popular annual performance platform showcasing innovative new dance works and presenting up and coming dance artists. Providing the ideal environment for dance artists to create, experiment, and present new work, Springboard attracts many exciting performers and choreographers and promises to be an exhilarating evening of dance.

The roles at the moment would be covering filming/photography, FOH for the foyer piece, sound technician, and company call. The person covering sound would need to be there all day from about 10-11 am and the others could come a little later. Refreshments, biscuits and fruit will be provided but you will need to bring a packed lunch and or cash to buy lunch and dinner costs. We are encouraging people with full driving licence so that you can travel independently to and from the venue.

Please contact Dance4 today for more information.