‘Paddling for position’

When designing and testing our thinking for Surf The Wave, we used surfing analogies to help us to communicate the intention of each of the phases of activity. For Phase 1, we used ‘Paddling for position’ to visualise how the project can work with the dance sector to understand the context, become aware of the pull of the current, and to position ourselves better to take advantage of the energy and momentum a more longitudinal investment in dance showcasing will generate as we ‘Surf towards the shore’ and move forward.

We have now delivered all ten Phase 1 intensive events across England and have heard many stories about the issues facing dance artists and companies, as well as promoters and programmers in presenting and touring dance in the UK. All four nations were represented at these events, and there has been a rich exchange between artists and programmers on the similarities and differences they are facing, and how they can learn from each other’s experiences. It is our intention to capture this information and to share it as an output of the project that will extend the learning further.

The delegate cultivation strategy is also gaining momentum. We attended the Communicating Dance workshop at The Work Room in Glasgow last month, connecting the dots between the various projects and programmes addressing this subject. In November we contributed to an event at the LEAP festival in Liverpool and will be presenting at the One Dance UK conference, highlighting the opportunities that Surf The Wave can offer to programmers to be introduced to and/or engage with dance, but also how artists can support this process too. Alongside this, we are working with many dance ambassadors and advocates across the UK to develop and deliver bespoke offers to ensure that as many programmers as possible are connected with Surf The Wave.

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