Feature: Good things come in threes

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Dance3 choreographers at LabanPhoto: Hugo Glendinning Dance3 is a programme of three triple bills of bite size works by a new generation of dance makers being presented in 29 venues across the UK by the National Dance network. It’s being supported by choreographers Wayne McGregor and Matthew Bourne who says: “It is vital that the next generation of choreographers, who are the life blood of dance, continue to be supported through initiatives like Dance3. Equally important is the sustained support of the small-scale venues and dance organisations that support and take risks on new dance talent at early stages of their careers.”

The tour, which starts on 2 March in Liverpool features the work of Claire Cunningham & Jose Agudo, Tom Dale, Laïla Diallo, Heather Eddington, Darren Ellis, Mickael Marso Riviere, Freddie Opoku-Addaie, Tanja Råman, Douglas Thorpe and Ben Wright. There are three chances to catch the work in London: “Linbury Studio Theatre at ROH2”: (4 March) , “Stratford Circus”: (25 Mar) and “The Place”: (29 & 30 Apr)

Eddie Nixon is Director of Theatre & Artist Development at The Place, one of the member organisations of the National Dance Network. He tells us more about the thinking behind Dance3…

Dance 3 is a tour of three different triple bills – each including three works by emerging choreographers – to 26 small-scale venues across the UK. It’s a way of giving audiences nationwide an opportunity to discover some of the brightest choreographic talent making work at this level. The project is an initiative of the National Dance Network – a group of organisations who promote and support the development of dance. It’s a response to our collective concern that the current generation of dancemakers is finding it increasingly difficult to show their work on the small-scale. This, in turn, is stifling their development.

It seems that Dance3 is intended to benefit choreographers, audiences and venues. How did you go about balancing the different needs of those three groups? **We chose choreographers who need this opportunity, work that suits the triple-bill format and then small-scale venues where the audience may be less familiar with the artists but where there is an appetite to present more of this type of dance.

Showing the work of emerging choreographers is at the heart of Dance3. How did you choose the choreographers? **We have extensive knowledge about who is out there making work. We drew on this to find a group of choreographers who best fitted the aims of the project. Of course there are many other excellent choreographers we couldn’t include – we could only squeeze in ten. For instance, there were people we’d have liked to include who didn’t have the right piece ready for this format at this point.

There have been a couple of sneak previews of Dance3 at British Dance Edition and at Laban. How did they go? **The response has been wonderful. The work and performances are looking great. It was important to have these previews as the evenings, like all triple bills, are technically demanding.

The size of the tour – 29 venues, including three in London – suggests there’s a real demand for this kind of work. Do you feel there was a need for something like Dance3?
When you’re trying to develop both artists and audiences, I think the triple bill format can be a real advantage for the venues. Many small-scale venues are inundated with choreographers wanting to present their work but sometimes they lack the confidence to choose or the expertise to market dance. We provide plenty of extra support for those venues less used to presenting this type of dance. There are lots of artists, dance managers and venues out there trying to address these issues but Dance 3 seems to be doing it in a way that has struck a chord.

How important is the high-profile support of choreographers Matthew Bourne and Wayne McGregor and the artist Antony Gormley? **The project is about developing artists and to have recognition from established artists – those who have benefited from this kind of support earlier in their careers – is vital. Having people like Wayne and Antony – who are leading the post-performance discussion at the Linbury on 4 March – puts the project in a broader cultural context.

How will you measure the success of the first year of Dance3? **The project is about artists, audiences and venues so we’ll be examining the experiences of all those groups.

Is Dance3 intended to be an annual event? **Not at the moment. But we will certainly look at doing it again.

Will you do anything differently next time? **Of course, there are always things to learn when you do something the first time and always ways you can look at developing something. Anyhow, we would have a new selection of artists, works and probably venues. That in itself would suggest new possibilities.

For programme details, UK wide venues and dates: **”www.dance3.org“:http://www.dance3.org

London dates **”Linbury Studio Theatre at ROH2“:http://www.roh.org.uk/whatson/production.aspx?pid=13402, Claire Cunningham & Jose Agudo, Tom Dale, Ben Wright.
4 March. Tickets: £11 – £13. (Post show discussion with choreographer Wayne McGregor and artist Antony Gormley)

Stratford Circus, Darren Ellis, Mickael Riviere, Freddie Opuku-Addaie.
25 March. Tickets: £12 /£8

The Place, Tanja Raman, Darren Ellis, Douglas Thorpe.
29 & 30 April.

What’s On