Conference How to make dance relevant 6 · Catalogue of 25 best practices on relevance

After a methodological research to look for best practices in Europe focused on relevance, a catalogue of 25 cases was created to be used as working tool in the framework of the EDN conference How to make dance relevant? Examples and practices, that took place in Olot (Spain) from 31 March to 3 April 2016.

The team contacted the responsibles of the 25 projects and asked them to provide the following information:

– Index card: title of the project, organisation/partners, city/country, years of operation, brief description and a question that the project responds to.
– Online information: website, video and other relevant links.
– Classification of the project following 4 items:

– Lead by: artists, institution, independent agent, other (to be specified)
– Beneficiaries: professional community, individuals (personal benefits), social groups (social benefits), other (to be pecified)
– Scope: local, local with international connections, international, other (to be specified)
– Location: at a particular place, itinerant, virtual, other (to be specified)

– A description of the project of maximum 1000 words taking into consideration the following questions: what, how, why and for whom. In other words: the aims, the context, contribution to the field, methodology/philosophy and other specific actions that best describe the project.

With the material, a working catalogue was created and used during the conference in a working session lead by the artist Quim Bigas.

We share with you the catalogue in an slightly different edited version in a pdf file that is available here to download.

Here, you can read a summary of each of the cases included:


Organisation/Partners:  R.I.C.E. and Municipality of Hydra.
City, Country: Hydra, Greece.
Years: From 2013.
Brief description: R.I.C.E., founded by Michael Kliën and Vitoria Kotsalouis, is a cultural initiative based on Hydra island, Greece. Since 2013 it has been dedicated to exploring the choreography of human beings. R.I.C.E. aims to envision human relations (personal, political and social) through the sensibilites of the artist, poet, dancer. Based on discussion and exchange, R.I.C.E. intertwines life and art, offering space and time to systematically (recursively) observe, reflect and act. The outcome can be concrete (social choreographies, performance, texts, etc.) as well as ephemeral. Throughout the year R.I.C.E. actively maintains a local and international network of artists, researchers and partners. Currently it operates a summer gathering, the Ricean School of Dance, and an emergency relief initiative during winter, Winterrice.
A question: What would constitute a body’s movement that builds/is an integral part of a sustainable and ecological social relation?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Artists: choreographer Mori Shain in collaboration with video artist Paul Sixta. Partners: Roberto Olivan Performing Arts (ES), Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL), ICKamsterdam (NL), Korzo Den Haag (NL), Cinedans Amsterdam (NL), Frascati Amsterdam (NL).
City, Country: Rotterdam and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Years: From 2014.
Brief description: Love-ism is a multidisciplinary project comprising stage work, video work and a workshop. Love-ism takes a closer look at intimacy, challenging the perception of the agreed upon, the sublime and the condemned. It is based on the book Art of Loving by Erich Fromm, that explains love as a creative achievement. The project involves audience participation prior to stage work through a filmed workshop. The footage of these on-location workshops in then integrated into the film love-ism: things that matter, and screened post-performance, thereby making visible the creative process with local communities as being an integral part of the completed work.
A question: How can we re-think audience education, exploring meanings of “love” as a central theme, in order to engage new communities in the field of contemporary dance?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: DRAFF.
City, Country: Dublin, Ireland.
Years: From 2013.
Brief description: DRAFF is an internationally focused, multichannel media organisation that communicates theatre and dance in a new way.
A question: How to really communicate by getting outside the usual channels of communication?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Roberto Olivan Performing Arts (ES). Partners: SóLODOS EN DANZA (ES), Brussels Contemporary Dance Competition (BE), Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts (NL), Bureau du Québec à Barcelone (ES), Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (GR).
City, Country: Deltebre, Spain.
Years: From 2004.
Brief description: Festival Deltebre Dansa is a unique event held in an exceptional place, Deltebre, in the Ebro Delta, attracting 160 contemporary dancers and circus artists from around the world. The festival offers the unique experience of immersion in an intense artistic activity. For 15 days workshops and masterclasses are led by international artists with an extensive programme of activities for beginners. In addition, the festival presents a diverse, avant-garde and free entrance performance programme.
A question: Might the culture of decentralisation be a new cultural paradigm?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Lead partner: La Briqueterie-CDC du Val-de-Marne (FR). Co-partners: Comune di Bassano del Grappa (IT), D.ID Dance Identity (AT), Dansateliers Rotterdam (NL), Siobhan Davies Dance (UK). Participating museums: Arte Sella (IT), Boymans van Beuningen (NL), Gemäldegalerie Wien (AT), Le Louvre (FR), Mac/Val (FR), Museo Civico (IT), Museo di Palazzo Strum (IT), The National Gallery (UK).
City, Country: Vitry-sur-Seine, France.
Years: 2015-2017
Brief description: Dancing Museums, a partnership project, brings together 5 European dance organisations and 8 internationally renowned museums to explore new ways of interacting with audiences. The 5 selected dance artists embark upon a 2-year research and development project participating in week-long residencies in each of the partner museums. They are joined by digital artists and experts from other fields such as history of art, education, curation, visual arts and social media to contextualise the research and stimulate new thinking. The project aims to implement new methods to engage audiences and enhance the journeys which people make when walking through rooms of historical artefacts and art spaces; drawing the public’s attention to contemporary dance as an inclusive, communicative form. Participative performative events are produced at the end of each residency, where the protagonists are the artists and the public, therefore creating an environment that blurs the boundaries between spectator and maker.
A question: What can museums and dance organisations do to facilitate greater participation in the experience of art?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Rosas and fABULEUS.
City, Country: Belgium.
Years: From 2013.
Brief description: In 1983, dance company Rosas put itself on the map with Rosas danst Rosas. The production has since been staged all over the world. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Anne Theresa de Keersmaker sought to give something back to audiences and to reach out to new ones. She approached  fABULEUS, a dance and theatre company more in contact with younger people. fABULEUS suggested creating a website with tutorial videos in which Anne Theresa thaught creating a website with tutorial videos in which Anne Theresa taught the basic moves, step by step, from the second part of Rosas danst Rosas. Anyone interested was invited to make their own version and post a video of it on the site: you dance Rosas. The setting could be different with a different number of dancers… anything was possible. This invitation proved a huge success with videos coming from all over the world. Also, there were many spin-off (workshops, an exhibition and even a live stating with 6 young GIRLS together along side the original Rosas cast).
A question: How can you challenge (young) people to identify with cultural (dance) heritage and make it their own?
Online information:


(The importance of organised civil society and its effect on public policy)

Organisation/Partners: Mercat de les Flors Barcelona (ES) and NAVE Centro de Creación y Residencia (CL).
City, Country: Santiago, Chile.
Years: 2007-2015
Brief description: An seminar took place in Chile in October 2015. Prominent dance agents in Chile and theorists on dance and movement from different countries met in various cultural venues to discuss the importance of organixed civil society and its effect on public policy. The purpose was to diagnose the problems and challenges facing the dance sector with the air of proposing tools and methodologies to generate interchange, knowledge and projects to improve conditions for the artistic community. MOV-S was begun in 2007. During its first 3 years (Barcelona 2007, Galicia 2008 and Madrid 2010) it was an itinerant congress with a traditional format of meetings, lectures and presentations and with its own artistic programme. In 2012, MOV-S was re-conceptualised as a space for collective thought and action.
A question: How to think together?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Leading organization: tanzhaus nrw Düsseldorf. Partners: FFT Düsseldorf, Tonhalle, Junges Schausspielhaus and 10 partner schools: Theodor-Andresen-Schule (Förderschwerpunkt Geistige Entwicklung), LVR-Gerricus-Schule (Förderschwerpunkt Hören und Kommunikation), LVR-Gerricus-Kita (Förderschwerpunkt Hören und Kommunikation), LVR-Schule am Volksgarten (Förderschwerpunkt körperliche und motorische Entwicklung), Realschule Luisenstraße, Katholische Hauptschule Itterstraße, Katholische Hauptschule Sankt Benedikt, Hauptschule Bernburger Straße, Heinrich-Heine-Gesamtschule, Goethe Gymnasium, Montessori Grundschule am Farnweg.
City, Country: Düsseldorf, Germany.
Years: From 2005.
Brief description: Take-off: Junger Tanz, up to 2010 one of 9 Tanzplan-Deutschland projects, introduces children and youths aged 0 to 18 to the aesthetics and techniques of contemporary dance. Since 2006, a multitude of partners from Düsseldorf’s cultural and educational sectors and from science and politics have been exploring new, sustainable structures for dance for young audiences under the direction of tanzhaus nrw. Take-off: Junger Tanz, offers training firmly establishing dance art in theatres, schools and youth centres, where regular dance productions for children and young people are created. The project was rigorously evaluated (up to 2010) by the Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf. Supported by the City of Düsseldorf and the State of NRW, tanzhaus nrw was able to guarantee the continuation of the project beyond the end of Tanzplan Deutschland in 2010, and has introduced new ideas, such as a residency programme, which assist choreographers in the development of productions for a target audience of young people.
A question: How to develop an exchange between contemporary dance professionals and a young audience with little or no prior experience of dance?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Centre National de la Danse.
City, Country: Pantin, France.
Years: From 2015.
Brief description: In Pantin (Paris) as well as in Lyon, CAMPING becomes an international choreographic platform, a space gathering students and artists from all over the world. For 2 weeks, CAMPING offers a strong programme of workshops, conferences, film projections, professional meetings, public presentations and performance.
A question: How can we imagine in France a place that brings together training, exchange of multiple experiences, from young to more experienced professionals, with the presentation of different art forms in the context of an institution?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Jérôme Bel Dance Company
City, Country: France
Years: From 2015.
Brief description: Gala is a Jérôme Bel production. 20 professional and non-professional dancers and performers of all ages and with different backgrounds regarding age, sex, skills and dance styles are involved. They all share the stage for one hour, they all share their devotion to dance. They all perform their movement with honesty and, they all do their best. It’s a big celebration of each individual’s movement and dancing possibilities. Performers and the audience together share the pleasure of dance.
A question: How to engage people in dance and how to enable them to enjoy dancing?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: .pelma.Lia Haraki
City, Country: Limassol, Cyprus.
Years: 2014-2016
Brief description: The concept of The Performance Shop is based on the idea that the accessibility of a performance can be enhanced by placing the performance in a different frame. Instead of a museum, or a theatre, a shop has been chosen. Any individual can book, witness or experience a performance. The project is a pop up shop that opens for a month in any city and is available for its local community. It includes works from performing arts with a focus on the body and the senses. Performances include works by local and international artists. Visitors have the chance to choose from a variety of shows.
A question: How can performance be made more accessible and available for the local community?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: The Place (Chris Thomson, Sanjoy Roy and Magali Charrier).
City, Country: London, UK.
Years: 2015.
Brief description: From time to time people tell The Place that although they have watched dance performances and enjoyed them they would not mind having some kind of “users guide” to contemporary dance. “Is it one style, or many? How does it relate to other kinds of dance? Does it have a particular meaning?”. So they decided to commision dance writer and critic Sanjoy Roy and animator Magali Charrier to create a short series of films introducing the world of dance. They were asked to combine gentle humour and real ideas. To be light-hearted but not lightweight, if you like.
A question: How to increase the audience interested in contemporary dance?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Nederlandse Dansdagen/The Dutch Dance Festival (NL), Centro per la Scena Contemporanea Bassano del Grappa (IT), Dance House Lemesos (CY).
City, Country: Europe.
Years: 2012-2013.
Brief description: Act Your Age was a 2-year European dance project focusing on the pressing global question of ageing. In cooperation with the Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Dance House Lemesos and the Dutch Dance Festival, choreographers tackled the challenging subject of age and ageing of European citizens, and the consequences for artists, dancers and the performing arts. One of the greatest challenges most European societies face today, is the growth of the elderly population. Despite the fact that over-65s will make up almost a quarter of the population in less than 30 years, seniors seem to be excluded rather than included in our modern societies that increasingly focus on youth. With dance, an art form predominantly working with young bodies, we decided to change that with Act Your Age.
A question: How can dance challenge and broaden the dominant ideas about ageing and the older body?
Online information:



Organisation/Partners: The Isadora & Raymond Duncan Dance Research Center Athens and Reon artistic company (GR).
City, Country: Greece.
Years: 2012-2016.
Brief description: Skytali is a new space, a community that embraces movement research and provides dancers and educators with the artistic tools for acting both individually and as a group. Skytali is a vibrant educational project that introduces movement and the art of dance to primary school children. It is based on a continuous process of sharing and learning through doing. It constantly redefines itself through the empowerment of its members, reinforcing community and personal skills such as taking the initiative cooperating and connecting. Every year Skytali traces a 7-months long educational cycle. This includes dance and pedagogical complementary training for young professional dance artists and the introduction of dance classes into public primary schools. Game playing is the main approach that Skytali uses, connecting the everydday actions of children with the art of dance. Performances mark the point where Skytali intersects with the community and the broader public and where each participant experiences successively the roles of creator-dancer-spectator.
A question: How to inspire and create new spaces of exchange between art and community?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden.
City, Country: Dresden, Germany.
Years: From 2015.
Brief description: In a new interpretation of the principle of a breakdance battle, the dancers from the fields of breakdance, ballet and contemporary dance perform in different orders of appearance and attempt to outdo their opponents with their own performances.
A question: What reveals the need for a new dance format?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Tipperary Dance Residency/Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company. Funding partners: Irish Arts Council, Tipperary County Council, Tipperary Excel Arts Centre. Partnering venues: Tipperary Excel Arts Centre, Nenagh Arts Centre, The Source Arts Centre, Tigh Roy Ionad Cultúrtha.
City, Country: Tipperary, County Tipperary, Ireland.
Years: From 2008.
Brief description: Tipperary Dance Residency supports 2 entities: 1) Tipperary Dance Plaform, and artist led programme dedicated to providing resources for dance and enhancing awareness of the artform in regional Ireland. The platform provides opportunities for professional dance artists, as well as presentations and participatory events for the community. It culminates with the International dance festival TDP that takes place each October. 2) Iseli-Chiodi Dance Company, an interantional creation and repertoire resident company.
A question: How to make dance relevant regionally with strong national and international connections?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Comune di Sansepolcro (IT), Capotrave/Kilowat Festival (IT), Fondazione Fitzcarraldo (IT), Université de Montpellier 1 (FR), Universitat de Barcelona (ES), Lift (UK), York Theatre Royal (UK), Tanec Praha (CZ), Bakelit Multi Art Center (HU), Teatrul National Radu Stanca/Sibvest (RO), Domino/Perforacjie Festival (HR), B-51/Ex-Ponto Festival (SI).
City, Country: Italy, France, Spain, UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia.
Years: 2014-2018.
Brief description: Be SpectACTive! is a European project based on audience development, involving some of the most innovative European organisations working on active spectatorship in contemporary performing arts. Its members are European festivals, theatres, universities and a research centre.
A question: How can the audience be part of the dancers’ creative processes?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Mariela Nestora.
City, Country: Athens, Greece.
Years: From 2011.
Brief description: From stage to page is an artist-led initiative, which aims at “locating” the Greek dance scene. Greek choreographers, dance practitioners and theorists write about dance in Greece. Dance artists write about their own work. Dance theorists write about the Greek dance scene or reflect on the contents of From stage to page. Interviews of choreographers, articles by theorists and updates of current developments are digitally published biennally.
A question: Which is the Greek dance scene, who, what, how?
Online information:


(In Residency. Artists at the secondary schools in Barcelona)

Organisation/Partners: Institute of Culture of Barcelona (ICUB) and Barcelona Education Consortium (CEB). In cooperation with the association A Bao A Qu, Graner-Mercat de les Flors, Foundation Joan Miró, MNAC-National Museum of Art of Catalonia, Sala Beckett/International space for drama creation, Heliogàbal and MACBA-Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona.
City, Country: Barcelona, Spain.
Years: From 2009.
Brief description: Since 2009, ICUB and CEB have promoted En Residència, a pioneering programme in the country aimed at bringing contemporary art to state secondary schools through continuous, direct contact between an artist and studens. Through En Residència, artists are invited to conceive a work they will then produce with a group of ESO (mainstream secondary education) students over the academic year, as part of their school timetable. At the school the artists create their own work which is a professional piece and forms a part of their repertoires, whilst dissemination is carried out through participation, discussion and the direct contact of students with the work and the artist. Through and analysis are important aspects of the learning process, and blogs are created in order to channel and share the activities. Over 8 years 50 residences have taken place in 32 different schools in Barcelona with artists in Visual Arts, Dance, Performing Arts, Poetry and Music and Sound Research.
A question: How to bring contemporary arts to state secondary schools through direct contact between artists and pupils?
Online information: (Provisional landing website, only in Catalan. Coming soon in English, Spanish and Catalan).


Organisation/Partners: Dance for Health.
City, Country: Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Years: From 2012.
Brief description: Dance for Health was founded by Mark Vlemmix, As former Artistic Director of Danshuis Station Zuid in Tilburg, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010. Together with Andrew Greenwood, he developed a dance movement programme based on the model of the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group from New York. They further refined the method in the first years of Dance for Health with the help of participants in a pilot programme in Tilburg and Rotterdam. Since 2013 the foundation has sought to improve the quality of life of people with chronic movement restrictions under the motto “Change people’s life through movement”. Originally specifically for people with Parkinson’s, it is now developing methods for people suffering with rheumatism and MS. People are invited to take responsibility for their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing through participation in an accessible, affordable, innovative, high-quality dance programme that will enrich their daily lives.
A question: How can dance improve the health and well-being of a community?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Sadler’s Wells
City, Country: London, UK
Years: 2015-2018 (current and 2nd edition). 2011-2014 (1st edition).
Brief description: Summer University offers a number of dance professionals the chance to take part in a 4-year project, meeting for 2 weeks each year to share work, hear talks, explore methodologies and philosophies of performance making and extend their own practice through self-study and focused interventions. The course is free to join and open to dance makers and other artists involved in the performing arts who are interested in choreographic practice and in the future possibilities of dance as an art form. It is open to people based in the UK, with no more than 5 years professional experience as a dance maker. Summer University is directed by choreographer Jonathan Burrows, in collaboration with Eva Martínez, Artistic Programmer for Sadler’s Wells. Guest speakers and workshop facilitators will be experienced professionals from the worlds of dance, theatre, visual arts, philosophy and artistic development. Year 1 of the second edition of the Summer University took place between 14-27 September 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. Year 2 took place between 4-14 July 2016 at Sadler’s Wells.
A question: How can an institution such as Sadler’s Wells support the development of professional dance artists, interested in extending their practice?
Online information: (this video is the 1st edition of Summer University from 2011-2014)


Organisation/Partners: Dansmakers Amsterdam, Dansateliers Rotterdam, DansBrabant, Generale Oost, Random Collision.
City, Country: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Tilburg, Arnhem and Groningen; The Netherlands.
Years: From 2013.
Brief description: By creating a widespread national network and by joining forces with local theatres and partners, the partner dancehouses increase exposure possibilities for the work of emerging choreographers. Moving Futures is network with a shared a vision of how best to design programmes for the development of talented emerging dance artists in contemporary dance. It facilitates a critical dialogue, which sharpens working methods, individual identities, ways of thinking and operating. The Moving Futures festival presents the works of the choreographers within a rich context that allows the audience to meet the artists, their work, and more generally to connect to innovative dance in diverse ways. Both the network and the festival facilitate encounters between makers, audience, programmers and producers. Through strong collaboration amongst the partners and with local theatre venues and partners, the dancehouses strive towards visibility and exposure for a new generation of choreographers in the field of contemporary dance.
A question: How to give visibility to a new generation of choreographers and enhance the connection to audience?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Mercat de les Flors and Obra Social “La Caixa”.
City, Country: Barcelona, Spain.
Years: From 2016.
Brief description: Online application offering dance education tools, including teaching resources, to implement a dance programme in primary schools. Launched in September 2016 and available to the entire educational sector.
A question: What type of educational tools are we providing for schools to integrate dance into the mainstream classroom and to facilitate access to the arts? What kind of transformation are we aiming at?
Online information:


City, Country: Athens, Greece.
Years: 2015-2016.
Brief description: Green Park is an occupied, self organised spaced in the centre of Athens, born of the experiments and struggles of the last few years in Greece. Green Park, occupied since June 2015, seeks to function as an evolving cultural and political intervention in the here and now of Athens, in a struggle against cultural and artistic monopolies, “creative cities” and their production lines of co-optation. This ephemeral experiment comprised of fluid methods that refuse the enclosures of formal political representation attempts to collectively explore forms of critical, artistic, political and theoretical production and their relationship to the public and dominant social narratives. A public programme of exhibitions, performances, screenings, lectures, workshops and publications aims to challenge perceptions of what constitutes contemporary cultural production in the current shifting socio-political landscape.
A question: Which structures and forms of cultural production can we self-institute?
Online information:


Organisation/Partners: Maska.
City, Country: Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Years: From 2000.
Brief description: Being an interdisciplinary organisation dedicated to production and dissemination of knowledge in the field of theory and art, Maska has approached dance as an extended field of research, artistic production, education and experiment in the widest sense of the world. Since the year 2000, an interdisciplinary approach has become indispensable for Maska and a number of performances, book titles, journal issues, workshops, lectures and seminars have been produced in collaboration with local and international partners. Maska has conceived a particular approach to reafirm and rediscover the hidden history of dance in Eastern Europe, creating and developing the platform East Dance Academy.
A question:
Online information: