The Giant’s Story Big Dance 2014 Report

Core requirements of Big Dance 2014 for PDSW

Our aim was to ensure that Big Dance 2014 complemented our strategic programme of activity and complemented our dispersed process model, enabling us to tell a coherent story and clearly document it. After a lot of thought, it was decided to make this the live dance strand of our ongoing dance digital programme with libraries across the region. The timescale worked perfectly, with the launch of Summer Reading Challenge nationally being on the 12 July and the Big Dance Weekend being 12/13 July.

The following is a copy of what we distributed to our regional dance network in March 2014 :

Aims : 

  1. 1.    to nurture and employ local dancers
  2. 2.    to strengthen relationships between the dance and library sectors
  3. 3.    to enable at least 2000 people to learn new dance work and perform as part of the the Big Dance Festival on 12/13 July 2014
  4. 4.    to have a good spread of Big Dance activity across the region 
  5. 5.    to bring live dance to the Summer Reading Challenge in SW libraries in 2014
  6. 6.    to co-promote the Summer Reading Challenge

 Process :



We created posters and postcards for each dance leader to distribute through libraries and community groups in their locality using the same style as the Step Into A Book programme. Our aim being to make this 1 integrated programme for the public. Each dance leader received at least 475 A6 postcards and 28 A4 posters.

Arts Council England communications team made sure that there was an article promoting The Giant’s Story work on their website. See this link


Documentation of work is very important for us so we commissioned Kevin Clifford to photograph events in Bath, Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol and to edit into 1 film smartphone images and videos recorded by the dance leaders or volunteers in each of the 11 locations across the SW.  Another photographer, Beata Kosc photographed the Langport event as there is a potentially interesting community story there that we’d like to make sure that we capture regarding their flooding this winter and the potential of dance as a community activity. The final Big Dance film is available on our website


We worked to a budget of £25,000 and came in on budget.  The budget is attached as Appendix 1.

SW Partnerships

The regional network agreed that it made great strategic sense to further develop relationships with libraries and 10 dance organisations offered to be involved. They were : Bath Dance, Dance Republic 2, Dance in Devon, Dance South Gloucestershire, DanceUp, PDSW, Plymouth Dance, Swindon Dance, Take Art, Theatre Bristol. All 10 saw their commitment through.

Each local organisation recruited a dancer interested in working with libraries or with the 4-11 age range covered by the SRC and they were contracted by PDSW. The dancers came to a 2 day residential at Pavilion Dance in Bournemouth led by Rosie Heafford of Second Hand Dance. Rosie had already worked on The Giant’s Story choreography for the dance digital programme for 2014 and so had spent a lot of time thinking about the theme/phrases and is very experienced in working with libraries and SRC. She led theoretical and practical workshops. The programme itinerary is attached as Appendix 2.

Each dance leader returned to their locality and created a unique choreographic routine using a few core phrases that they’d learned with Rosie. Each locality created an entirely individual event. In Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol and Havant, they created performances by primary schoolchildren in the libraries – in Falmouth, Exeter, Langport , Sidmouth, Swindon and Yate, they created events in the area immediately outside and leading up to the library and in Plymouth they created a full programme of dance performances and workshops leading up to the Big Dance in the City Centre Piazza. The Summer Reading Challenge was promoted by librarians in all 11 localities.


4700 people participated in or watched Big Dance in the SW.

£5000 was attracted in additional funding. (Total budget : £25000)

10 dance organisations were involved and 10 dancers/4 dance companies.

Big Dance created employment for dancers to the value of £15,700.

109 workshops

25 performances

49 volunteers

1 review film of work across the region

A library of photographs

Information captured and shared on and websites

Presentations referring to this work will be made at the Coinvestment Day for work involving dance, children and young people at PDSW in Bournemouth on 14/10/14 ; ASCEL national conference in Kegworth 8/11/14 ; People Dancing FCD Conference in Cardiff 13-15/11/14 ; CODA seminar in Oslo, Norway 8-9/12/14.

Feedback from the Big Dance Team

The great positives that all of the dance team gave were that it was great to be part of a regional and national programme and they enjoyed the creative challenges the programme presented them with. All of them also lamented that there wasn’t more time to work with more people and attract even more people to watch the performances. Over half of the dance team think that the new contacts with librarians and the positive experience of this programme will result in new projects. The regional librarians were delighted that 11 libraries were able to have localised live dance activities to enhance the SRC and dance digital programme.

“The library has been enthusiastic about the project and has sought additional funding for a film to be made about the project. This will be made by young volunteers at the Library, working with a local film maker. ” “This was a great CPD training opportunity. I was encouraged to take a creative approach to the choreography and it challenged me in new ways” “Thank you for a fun, snappy, interactive and intergenerational creative dance project!”  Hayley Adams, Dance South Gloucestershire

“This has been a great experience for us as a company and it is the first time we have taken on a big project like this ”  “This project has also strengthened our relationships with all of the schools that were involved with many of them wanting to book us in to do workshops next year. It has also raised our profile in Plymouth through the media coverage we have received” Olivia Lockwood/Exim Dance with Plymouth Dance

“The library were really excited to have live performance which hasn’t happened before. They are interested in learning more about what we could do in collaboration and were very pleased with how the event went. “The young people involved were from a deprived area of Portsmouth and I believe they got a lot of the performing” ” it was a great experience for the young people, it exposed the library to something they hadn’t done before and we had lovely feedback from all involved. “  Vicki Hargreaves/Commotion Dance with DanceUp.

“We are already planning another event combining the schools, library and dance centre in langport” “I loved the project the moment I was able to set off and get stuck in – the town I live and work in is keen for so many things to happen and I also have a pool of artists and emerging artists wanting to get involved so we created a real buzz ”  Louise Barrett with Take Art




10 x £500 from 10 dance organisations                              £5000

FCD co-commission                                                          £20000



Choreographic commission from Rosie Heafford,

 Second Hand Dance                                                        £700

10 dancers x £1500 to cover : attending 2 day choreographic   

Residential, leadings classes/workshops with different community groups,

Liaising with local dance organisation and libraries, running a performance

Day on 12/13 July                                                            £15,000

Contribution to 10 dance organisations for supporting the dancer and liaising

With the libraries                                                              £5,000

Publicity & Documentation                                                 £1,300

Management fee for PDSW                                                £3,000




The Big Dance Team photo at the choreographic residential at Pavilion Dance June 2014

THE GIANT’S STORY : CPD Workshop Outline 9 & 10 June 2014

Devised and delivered by Rosie Heafford of Second Hand Dance


 Monday 9 June, 10.30am – 5.30pm

10.30 – 10.45

Arrivals, teas, coffees

10.45 – 11.00

Introduction to Big Dance in Libraries – Zannah Doan

11.00 – 11.45

Group introductions

–        What is our experience of working in libraries/ with children?

–        What did we enjoy?

–        What worked well?

11.45 – 12.00

Tea Break

12.00 – 13.30

Working in libraries: challenges, practicalities and artistic concerns

13.30 – 14.30


14.30 – 15.30

Introduction to The Giant’s Story and SRC themes

15.30 – 15.45

Tea Break

15.45 – 17.15

Exploring the SRC themes and quick devising methods

17.15 – 17.30

Round-up and questions


Tuesday 10 June, 9.30am – 4.30pm

09.30 – 9.45

Arrivals, teas, coffees

9.45 – 11.15

Making work for children: challenges, practicalities and artistic concerns

11.15 – 11.30

Tea Break

11.30 – 12.30

Example projects

12.30 – 13.00

Big Dance SRC phrase

13.00 – 14.00


14.00 – 16.15

Thinking about participatory work for children & planning our own projects

16.15 – 16.30

Round-up and questions



With thanks to the Big Dance Team for their creativity, energy and hard work  :Grace Sellwood/Freefall Dance, Dance Republic 2 and Falmouth Library Hannah Bendell, Bath Dance and Bath Central Library Hayley Adams, Dance South Gloucestershire and Yate Library Helen Wilson, Katy Noakes (for Theatre Bristol) and Bristol Central Library Louise Barrett/Pretty Good Girl Dance, Take Art and Langport Library Olivia Lockwood/Exim Dance, Plymouth Dance and Plymouth Libraries Rosa Kentwood/Commotion Dance, Pavilion Dance South West and Bournemouth Library Tamsin Bone, Dance in Devon, Exeter and Sidmouth Libraries Vicki Hargreaves/Commotion Dance, Dance Up and Havant Library Zoe Humphries, Swindon Dance and Swindon Library + all of their volunteers

Produced by : Zannah Doan for Pavilion Dance South West

A Co-Commission between Pavilion Dance South West and the Foundation for Community Dance for the Big Dance Weekend 2014


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