Dance Umbrella In Partnership With ResCen, Middlesex University To Provide Unique Insight

Published
17/09/2018 by

Launching in the 40th year of the festival, ResCen: Dance Umbrella at 40 will be documenting the creative process of artists it has commissioned, as they develop and create new work. The programme kicks off by capturing many of this year’s events but will also chart how artists approach their choreography from the inception stage of their ideas to the development of their vision through to a finished dance work programmed and performed at future festivals.

This is the first time Dance Umbrella will give access for insight into how artists make the work audiences normally only experience in its finished form.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella, Emma Gladstone said ‘’This new partnership with Professor Chris Bannerman and his ResCen team at Middlesex University is a game changer for Dance Umbrella.  It allows us to work with artists as they develop the early seeds of an idea, and support it to the point where it can flower.  Like any area of investigation -whether in IT, industry, science or art - time for research is essential to test drive the strength and validity of new concepts, and ResCen has time and again proved itself to be a place where this can happen.” 

ResCen is a Middlesex University Research Centre and not only supports artists in reflecting on and documenting what is usually a closed-door process, but it also involves students, under the expert supervision of Professor Chris Bannerman, and joint team member Carolina Courbis, who will undertake many forms of documentation. This year the website will share videos from rehearsals, artists’ notes, discussions and interviews; photography, blog posts, social media content and more. They will also create a 30-minute documentary about the 2018 festival and 40th anniversary.

Bannerman – an ex choreographer and LCDT dancer who made work for the first ever Dance Umbrella festival, said of the project: “It is a great pleasure to be working with DU and a privilege to be involved in their 40th anniversary – an event that not only looks back to past achievements, but which also highlights the undiminished vigour of their work and the breadth of vision of dance and performance that they bring to audiences. Now more than ever, it is vital that those involved in universities and the arts sector find new ways to work together to ensure that the richness of the UK’s cultural life is sustained and enables new voices to emerge.”

ResCen has worked with several arts partners including Step Out Arts as part of the ArtsCross collaboration with Beijing Dance Academy and Taipei National University of the Arts; Sadlers Wells Theatre as part of the Elixir Ensemble’s performance of Big Dance Theater’s The Road Awaits Us. However, this is its most substantial, long-term collaboration to date.

This year the collaboration will provide web-posting of all DU’s ‘talk time’ events including the 40th-anniversary party, plus interviews with artists involved in Dance Umbrella’s 4 x 4 initiative, plus Chris Bannerman in discussion with Emma Gladstone and previous DU Artistic Directors Val Bourne CBE and Betsy Gregory. 4 x 4 nominated choreographers will be announced on 13 October.