Three years after it was created by Pavilion Dance South West to initiate change in how dance is showcased and toured in the UK, Surf The Wave now waves goodbye. The programme staged the first UK-focused dance showcase and connected more than 450 artists, producers, programmers and facilitators. It delivered 13 Intensives; 29 networking and programming events; supported 22 Seed Support projects and 10 Showcase Legacy Support projects as well as provided 32 Go See bursaries and 43 Response Pot awards.
Surf The Wave connected artists and programmers through events and workshops. It also provided 204 bursaries for artists and producers to cover time and expenses of attending networking events. It provided a safe space for artists and programmers to meet, to discuss issues and barriers that may be facing them, and to build more opportunities for dance to be presented in the UK. To this end, it also incorporated a UK Dance Showcase which allowed artists to demonstrate their work to programmers from all over the country and reinforce their touring potential. Through the programme, the power of relationship-building between artists and programmes became clear as new dance experiences were created.
Surf The Wave’s commitment to demonstrating that dance doesn’t have to be presented on traditional stages has only become more important: as the new normal changes every day, opportunities continue to open up in new and unusual ways. It is with the skill and creativity of both artists and programmers that dance will be able to continue to flourish. Surf The Wave actively encouraged non-dance specialist programmers to expand their repertoire and explore how dance can work in different performance contexts. Dance is a small world and in these days of division it is key to reach across geographical and artistic boundaries and build a stronger foundation for support and growth.
It was in the programme’s final six months that Covid-19 disrupted livelihoods, plans and tours. However, Surf The Wave honoured all the projects underway, some of which hope to complete in summer 2021, and created a new programme supported by £1000 “Response Pots” which enabled artists to reimagine their work and how to get it to audiences now.
Artistic Director and CEO of Pavilion Dance South West, Zannah Chisholm commented: “The Surf the Wave programme explored ways of showcasing and touring small to mid-scale dance differently across the UK. Many projects were undertaken by artists and programmers exploring new models of working together and with audiences and the UK Dance Showcase was itself a new way of showcasing independent dance. The website has become a place to find information and insight into the ideas, processes and outcomes across all of these projects. The artists and programmers tell their own stories. There is information to support the planning of future showcases and tours. It is there for you to use. Do check it out.:
The Surf The Wave website will be maintained as a resource for artists and programmers alike. Three newly commissioned dance films are available to view on the website. Familiar Struggle from Keira Martin follows a woman born in Barnsley with an ancient heart, ancient tears, ancient struggle and ancient fears. Marathon of Intimacies from Jo Fong and Anushiya Yarnell emerged from walking in parks and talking about race. White rooms, family, shame, power, being heard, justice, presence. For Bent Wood, Theo Clinkard spent a night dancing in the woods to embrace the wilderness in all its complex, messy glory as a home for rural queerness.
The legacy of Surf The Wave will inspire positive change and enhance communication within the industry meaning that we will continue to see more dance not only on our stages but in all the different places that audiences can be found. Its legacy lives on through the work of Pavilion Dance South West who are established promoters of new talent and raising the profile of dance across a multitude of sectors. Surf The Wave’s values of kindness, inclusivity, inspiration and passion remain at the heart of all Pavilion Dance South West do. They will be hosting the website and promoting all the work through their social channels. Feedback from, and action taken by the artists, programmers and partners shows the value of the project – the conversations held will resonate for some time to come.