The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
Animated Edition - Issues 1996 - 2001
Moving On Up
Animated, Spring 1998. Dance City's Moving on Up is designed to support and nurture Independent dance activity through imaginative working partnerships. Janet Archer elaborates, and, Lesley Younger talks about the new Sunderland Dance Initiative and its links with the University of Sunderland and Dance City
Targeted to last for three years, Moving on Up centres on the establishment of four regional dance initiatives across the North of England. Its overriding purpose is to support and nurture Independent dance activity through working in partnership with a range of different individuals and agencies. Projects span from inter-generational community based performance work and commissions for young emerging artists to a major touring production that will employ five professional artists to perform three new danceworks.

Audience development interlinked with community involvement is an anchor point for the project. We have already proven that there is a great interest in dance through the existing work of the dance agency - what we plan to do through this project is to pass on that message to other 'agencies' who are potentially able to take on the role of driving and funding dance activities. We ultimately want to establish more powerhouses for dance, more places where dance can be supported, more work for artists and above all, more opportunity for people to access it...

Janet Archer, Director, Dance City. Contact +44 (0) 191 261 0505 for further information.

The teaching team at the University of Sunderland, where dance is located within the BA Performance Arts Studies and Arts and Design degree subscribe to the Arts Council view that there should be no hierarchy of academic approach or art form and that the arts are... "central to the individual in society and to community and national life."(1) This ethos is also pivotal to the remit of the newly conceived Sunderland Dance Initiative (SDI) which provides the perfect forum for the realisation of the university's aims for Performance Art Studies whereby the context for learning is student centred with negotiated study, and dance learning and personal development progress concurrently.

A core and emerging feature of SDI is networking - this has expanded and strengthened the university's links with the City and region. For example, students participating in the level three Dance in the Community module have undertaken projects with SDI partners such as NO Limits Theatre Company. A mini-residency in Sunderland led by regional dance artist Debbie Purtill and her company - consisting of a series of workshops in secondary schools and the university, culminated in Stalkers, a multi-media performance, at the university's theatre. The performance was preceded by a short presentation choreographed by university students and a company member. It appears that the experience was beneficial in enriching dance learning, promoting participation and partnerships and to some degree audience development, although this latter element needs to be addressed and researched further.

Events are escalating. A national and international dimension are on the future agenda and the launch of SDI in May 1998 at the Sunderland Empire Theatre has already set this in motion. The recipe for success appears to be the determination and commitment of key individuals, the foresight and drive of the National Dance Agency - Dance City, the support of the Lottery and above all, the main ingredient - dance.

LesleyYounger, Senior Lecturer in Dance, University of Sunderland. Contact + 44 (0)191 515 2110.

(1) A Creative Future, Arts Council of England, London, 1993.

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Animated: Issues 1996 - 2001