This month sees the launch of The BENCH 2018-2021; a unique platform giving a voice to female choreographers around the world.
The BENCH was originally devised in 2015 by Tamsin Fitzgerald (Artistic Director and Choreographer for 2Faced Dance) as a direct response to serious concerns about the lack of equality faced by female choreographers within the dance sector. This next phase of the programme will focus on women of colour.
Between 2015 and 2017 The BENCH worked and directly funded 12 female choreographers across the UK and 5 female choreographers from India to undertake an intensive programme of training, mentoring and reflection.
The programme commissioned and seed-funded 9 new dance works by women and toured 2 new productions RUN & OUTLANDS to over 30 venues across the UK and internationally.
The BENCH also held 3 sector conferences in association with IDFB 2016, Attakkalari Biennial India 2017 and One Dance UK 2017 reaching over 500 programmers, artists, industry professionals and journalists.
Talking about the future of the programme, Fitzgerald has commented:“Over the next 3 years we will ensure that The BENCH provides female artists with real investment. The Women of Colour Commission has been expertly constructed with our partners to reflect the reality of living and working as a female artist today. Dance must be representative of our society; a wide range of choreographic voices creates a wide range of audiences and ensures it does not become stale or static in its progression. I am truly excited to see the vast range of applications and look forward to launching a further two parts of The BENCH 2018-2021 later this year”.
The BENCH, in partnership with Dance Hub Birmingham, Strike A Light, Pavilion Dance South West, Corn Exchange Newbury, Kala Sangam, One Dance UK and The Elmley Foundation will offer a substantial commission for one candidate to create an outdoor work for up to three male dancers from 2Faced Dance Company during Spring 2019.
Women of Colour
The BENCH commission is open to self-identifying women of colour to create a new outdoor work in Spring 2019 on up to 3 dancers from 2Faced Dance Company; we recognise that there is a lack of opportunity and platforms for women of colour to make outdoor work and with this commission we (and our partners) wish to make a positive difference. With this commission we want to present a distinctive piece of work that will preview in 2019 and tour nationally and internationally in 2020 as part of 2Faced Dance Company’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
We are looking for women who are courageous in their physical language, can articulate their idea on paper/in the studio and understand the benefits/challenges of creating work outdoors. We believe that, as an internationally touring dance company, we are in the best position to know what is useful and needed for a commission; the selected artist will receive
• Commission fee of £4500
• Access Budget of up to £2000 to ensure the work is fully accessible
• Production Budget of up to £1000
• Fund of up to £1000 to be allocated for travel and accommodation
• Fund of £1000 to be allocated to an artist-nominated mentor
• Fund of up to £800 (£160 p/w x 5 weeks) to be allocated towards any child/dependent care needed during the creation process
• A fund of up to £500 to be allocated for the development of knowledge around Outdoor Arts
• A work-in-progress opportunity with Strike A Light Festival and a preview performance (arranged by 2Faced Dance Company) in Summer 2019
• 8 days of dedicated fundraising / bid writing support for your next project from Kala Sangam • One-to-one sessions with Tamsin Fitzgerald.
• 1 day of Marketing & Communications support from PDSW
• Production support and technical assistance from 2Faced Dance Company
The commissioned piece will tour nationally and internationally in 2020 as part of a 20th Anniversary tour for 2Faced Dance Company.
The BENCH will be open for applications from Wednesday 10 October, with a deadline of 9pm on Monday 5 November.
Following the application deadline, a panel comprising of Fitzgerald and Ian Abbott for 2Faced Dance, Louise Katerega (Creative Director, Foot in Hand) and Pawlet Brookes FRSA (CEO and Artistic Director, Serendipity) will shortlist and interview up to four candidates.
For full details, criteria and FAQs, and to apply for the Women of Colour Commission, visit: www.the-bench.org