Dance 4: International Centre for Choreography (Nottingham)
Open Doors: Early Career Artists Bursaries
The early stages of an artist’s career can be the most challenging period, a time when an artist seeks to establish a reputation for their work and attract support from the sector. Dance4 recognises that emerging dance artists need to demonstrate professional experience as well as having practical skills whilst trying to establish themselves as a new artist.
OPEN DOORS was a paid residency for early career dance artists to explore their practice in a nurturing environment at International Centre for Choreography (iC4C) and receive broader management knowledge.
In September 2018 Dance4 put a callout to recruit suitable early career artists, originally from or currently based in the East Midlands. We received 12 applications and shortlisted 6 of these for a selection day, from which 4 applicants were selected.
Each artist received a bursary to support a week-long residency in October 2018. The residencies allowed time and space for exploration and artistic practice development. The artists had the opportunity to share, talk and receive responses to their questioning throughout the week. Dance4 team members shared knowledge and experience through breakfast conversations each day and Sally Doughty, independent dance artist and dance artist/academic at De Montfort University facilitated an Improvisation Masterclass and provided guidance during the week.
The artists had the opportunity to share their work at the end of the week and receive feedback and guidance on how to develop it further. The artists all reflected on the week positively, commenting on the impact it had on their confidence to apply for further funding and seek other opportunities to develop the work further and present it.
Dance4 offered follow up meetings in the months preceding the residency week, to help support the artists with their next steps. Some arranged further conversations with specific Dance4 Team members to support certain aspects of their work, particularly around funding application advice. We also identified additional opportunities within our existing programmes for them to be involved in to benefit their professional development. For example, one artist was interested in developing their teaching skills alongside their choreographic practice, we enabled them to access some shadowing work through our work in schools and since employed them as a teaching assistant for some project work.
'The residency at Dance4 gave plenty of time for me to research, explore and most importantly, question my own practice. The sense of questioning led me (and my collaborator) into new territories, unfolding into new possibilities for the piece of work we were developing.' Open Doors Artist