The Future: New Ideas, New Inspirations, Day 3

Invest, Create, Innovate, Saturday 11 April

A packed day shines light on creating dance works, how we invest in the workforce, from dancers pay to how we keep artists healthy and performing at their peak. Sessions also explore choreographic development and career transitioning. The day is divided into three strands that delegates can cross between to create their own personal programme. 

The National Dance Network has programmed a day of sessions looking at the life of a dance work. Following the different stages of how a dance piece comes to life, from the initial spark of an idea to coming face to face with the audience and the ensuing journey, NDN offers insights and provocations about the making and touring of dance in the UK today. Inviting creative voices from a range of artistic fields together with dance artists, producers and promoters, these sessions are a chance to debate, exchange and imagine what could be done differently. The strand is divided into two sections: Cooking and Serving. Dance UK's Healthier Dancer Programme which is part of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science is bringing world renowned health and medical experts. The final strand of the day is designed for dancers and choreographers, starting with optional classes led by Kerry Nicholls and Stretchworks, followed by debates about dancers' pay, career transitioning and a panel discussion titled "Why a dramaturg?". From 3:00 to 4:15pm there will be five discussions about specific dance forms including musical theatre, ballet, ballroom, South Asian dance and dance of the African diaspora.  The day ends with delegates visiting Greenwich Dance to see a performance of Our Mighty Groove choreographed by Vicki Igbokwe, Artistic Director of Uchenna Dance.

Venue: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Studio 3

8:15 - 9:15am: Stretchworks Class

Brought to you by Stretchworks

An exclusive offer to attend a Stretchworks class led by founder and ex dancer Alison Evans and explore the potential of becoming a Stretchworks Instructor. Endorsed and supported by medical practitioners and psychologists, Stretchworks is a unique exercise programme highly regarded amongst elite athletes and dancers including Christopher Wheeldon and Jackie Barrett. With growing and established research exploring the relationship between the emotional and physical and their impact on our general health, Stretchworks is at the forefront in delivering a unique approach that directly contributes to the overall well-being of the individual through controlled stretching. Alison Evans will be available throughout the day in the conference marketplace to discuss the Stretchworks Teacher Training Course.

Studio 8

CANCELLED: 8:15 - 9:15am: Class with Kerry Nicholls

Kerry will deliver a fast-paced, energetic and athletically demanding contemporary technique class. Using the foundations of Limon and release based techniques, her classes explore a kinetic use of spatial architectonics with an attention to momentum, qualitative change and musical sensibility. Open to professionals and early graduates.

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Reception

9:00am: Registration

Studio 1

9:00am - 5:00pm: Marketplace

Discover The Future: New Ideas, New Inspirations' Marketplace

Come meet and chat with Dance UK members and representatives from schools, workshops, trusts and foundations.

Laban Theatre

9:30am: Introduction by Caroline Miller, Director of Dance UK

10:00 - 11:00 am: National Dance Network Session 1

COOKING: Developing artists and developing work - how ideas are grown and tested in dance

What does a successful R&D look like? Are all ideas worth developing into a production? Who decides what gets made and what doesn't? How is research funded? When should we start thinking about audiences? 

Emma Gladstone, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella, will introduce three presentations on behalf of NDN:

  • Yorkshire Dance - Antony Dunn and artist Robbie Synge
    Digital feedback project: respond_ 'Yorkshire Dance did what???'
  • Independent Artist Ivan Blackstock, BirdGang Dance Company
    The importance of keeping it raw
  • The Workroom Glasgow - Laura Eaton Lewis and Christine Devaney
    The cultural research economy and artist-led projects

11:30am - 1:00pm: Debate: Developing artists and developing work - how ideas are grown and tested in dance

Chaired by Sue Davies, Independent Consultant. With Simon Coates, National Theatre Wales; Hetain Patel, Independent Artist; Judith Knight, ArtsAdmin; and Tamsin Fitzgerald, 2Faced Dance Company

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunch

2:00 - 3:00pm: Power Hour

Watch the Power Hour livestream online

TED-style presentations featuring:

  • Hannes Langolf
  • Kenrick 'H2O' Sandy: "My Practice"
    Delve into the mind and heart of Kenrick 'H2O' Sandy from his beginning in basketball to centre stage alongside Danny Boyle for the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and beyond. Finding his path that has allowed others to express, explore and develop within life and stage. 
  • Shobana Jeyasingh: "Dance making in the high street" 
    A talk about how life, times and people influence choices in a dance studio.
  • Jeanefer Jean-Charles: "Mass Movement - from 'Local Community Performance' to 'Global Community Performance"
    Jeanefer will present her work from the start of her becoming aware of Mass Choreography, directing the World Record Breaking Big Dance on Trafalgar Square in 2006 with over 40 community groups - through to her experience at all four of the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies as a Mass Movement Co-ordinator.  And today an insight into her work as Choreographer and Mass Movement Director for several mass events including the Rugby League World Cup, the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace, the award winning Derry London -Derry UK City of Culture  event and the New Year’s Eve parade in Newcastle.

4.15-5.30: National Dance Network Session 2 and debate

SERVING: Making it happen - producing, presenting and touring work

Is there a dearth of dance producers? What is the market for dance in the country? What are the issues with touring dance? Small is beautiful: the question of scale. What are successful models of growing audiences for dance?

Emma Gladstone of Dance Umbrella introduces three presentations on behalf of NDN:

  • Pavilion Dance South West - Deryck Newland
    Are we our own worst enemies? Shift and Share regional partnerships
  • State of Emergency - Deborah Baddoo 
    Pathways to production - supporting and exposing diverse dance talent.Based on years of producing and developing Black dance artists, she refers to State of Emergency’s commissioned Research Report ‘Altered States’ to share a roadmap for developing new talent. 
  • Sadler's Wells - Suzanne Walker
    From small to big scale spaces - the challenge of scaling up

4:55 - 5:30pm: Debate: Making it happen - producing, presenting and touring work

Chaired by Jodi Myers, Independent Consultant and NDN Chair. With Emma Bettridge, Producer and Programmer, Bristol Old Vic;Luca Silvestrini, Choreographer and Artistic Director, Protein; and Clara Giraud, Independent Dance Managers Network (IDMN)

5:30 - 6:00pm: Summing Up of Day

Studio Theatre

10:00 - 11:00am: Dancers Need Rest (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker Glenna Batson

Over the summer, Dance UK teamed up with Dancing Times to promote a twitter photo campaign called #dancersneedrest – promoting the importance of adequate rest for dancers between intense performance schedules. We received over 200 photos showing dancers resting from all over the world, ranging from professional dance companies, to independent dancers, to dance teachers with their very young dance students. The campaign raised awareness of the need for rest and the value of balanced training schedules. This session will build on this groundswell to further promote the importance of rest by offering tools for integrating rest into their dancing schedules, and exploring ‘active rest’ and how dancers can use it. 

11:30am - 1:00pm: The Dilemma - Risk Taking in Choreography (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Moira McCormack, Head of Physiotherapy, Royal Ballet

Risk is an inherent part of developing new and boundary breaking choreography, but how can dancers and choreographers collaborate to innovate in the studio without putting bodies at risk? Dancers are disciplined and ambitious, willing to carry out any choreographer’s instruction without question, but some moves over the years have proved disastrous in terms of injury. Artistic exploration should continue, and when we bring health and safety into the studio and onto the stage we threaten to place limitations on the art form, but how can everyone be more aware of the risks involved. 

Choreographic Demands in Dance - Risk, Injury and Boundary-breaking 

Chaired by Farooq Chaudhry, Producer, Akram Khan Company and English National Ballet, with panellists choreographers Didy VeldmanKim Brandstrup, former dancer Deidre Chapman,Sharon Watson, Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre.

A panel discussion with choreographers working in companies with varied repertoire to get their perspective on the current repertoire and choreographic demands placed on many companies and the affects this is having on dancers injuries and well-being.  How can we support dancers with ever increasing repertoire and creation demands and ensure the development of the art form?

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunch Provided

3:00 - 4:15pm: Dance of the African Diaspora, Reimagining the Future: After Re:generations 2014  (Art Form Discussion)

Chaired by Funmi Adewole, dance artist and scholar. Panellists:Jonzi D, UK hip hop legend and Artistic Director, Breakin' Convention; Dr. Patricia Noxolo, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham; Yassmin Foster, dance artist and scholar; Freddie Opoku-Addaie, dance artist and choreographer,

Organised by Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, this session will pick up the conversation about the future of African people's dance where Re:generations 2014 left off. The panel will discuss current issues and concerns and explore opportunities for future developments in African diasporic forms. 

4:15 - 5:15pm: Why a Dramaturg? (Artistic Discussion)

Chaired by Mary Ann Hushlak, Past President of the dramaturgs' network (d'n). She now coordinates the Dance Dramaturgy Working Group. Her own practice is Think Dramaturgy.

Panellists: Ruth Little, theatre and dance dramaturg, teacher and writer; Akram Khan, Artistic Director and choreographer; Patricia Doyle, director and dramaturg; David Nixon, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet; Lou Cope, dramaturg, teacher and writer; andHelder Seabra, choreographer.

This session is an opportunity to extend our understanding of dramaturgy practice, including those of us who would like an introduction to what it is all about.

It's not often that we have available three choreographer/dramaturg teams who work with a variety of dance genres and ready to answer questions about how they work together in different settings, their modes of collaboration and giving us a way in to unravelling the mystery of these partnerships. 

Lecture Theatre

10:00 - 11:00am: Dancers' Pay Debate

Chaired by Hilary Hadley, Equity. Panellists: Nicholas Keegan, Flora Wellesley Wesley; Shanelle Fergus, Dancers United

Heated debate about dancers’ pay has been one of the most high profile challenges for dance recently, nationally and internationally. It has even been picked up mainstream news on several occasions. This discussion is facilitated by Hilary Hadley, Equity’s Head of Live Performance, speaking with artists who have taken pro-active steps to address the pay debate.

11:30am - 12:15pm: Clinical Symposium - Bone Health in Dancers (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Dr. Roger Wolman

There are a range of factors known to influence bone health. At the top of the list is the Female athlete triad (which has recently been termed Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport by the International Olympic Committee). This syndrome can display low BMI, low body fat, infrequent/ absent periods, fatigue, and effects on endocrine and cardiovascular systems. Another important factor is vitamin D, deficiency in which is common in the Northern hemisphere, especially in winter months. Research has shown that in some dance companies up to 100% of the members are low in vitamin D during the winter. Lastly, exercise and the rate of stress loading needs to be considered. If the dancer builds up activity too quickly, not giving bone sufficient time to adapt, there is a risk of developing a bone stress injury. This may occur when the dancer returns too quickly following an injury, after a prolonged vacation, or when a student enters full time dance school for the first time.

12:15 - 1:00pm: Protein for Dancers (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Prof Kevin Tipton

Appropriate nutrition is necessary to optimize the health and performance of dancers. Protein nutrition is crucial, but often underappreciated as an important contributor to health and performance. Given limits on energy intake, protein intake may not be optimal for all dancers. Whereas protein is associated with muscle mass by many, it is also crucial for immune function, bone and other health-related concerns for dancers. In particular protein may be critical during energy restriction. In this session we will discuss the relevance of proper protein nutrition for the health and performance of dancers.

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunch provided

2:00 - 3:00pm: Schedule for Success: Periodisation in Dance (Healthier Dancer)

Speakers: Joost van Megen, National Centre of Performing Arts, ArtEZ School of Dance, Netherlands and Prof Matthew Wyon, National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, University of Wolverhampton

Training pre-professional dancers has become increasing complex due to the diverse skill demands being placed on today's graduate.  This has often resulted in an overloaded curriculum causing heavy workload for teachers and students alike and increasing perceptions of fatigue, overwork and increased prevalence of injuries. ArtEZ School of Dance developed a 4-year periodized programme with phased goals for each year that accumulated in a graduate specifically trained as a dancer/choreographer for the independent dance artist profession. The implemented changes have seen recognition of these changes with the awarding of an international distinction for higher education, 95% of graduates are working as either a dancer or choreographer, decrease in injury incidence and course drop-out. 

3:00 - 3:30pm: Psychology Bitesized (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Dr. Peter Lovatt

Stress on the Dance Floor As a Psychologist, and former professional dancer, I’ve always been struck by the idea that people will go through hell and high-water to pursue their dance-related goals; coping with extreme anxiety and pre-performance vomiting, dancing through injury and working for very little money, for the chance to perform and dance. In this short-talk I will share some of the work we are doing in the Dance Psychology Lab to understand the stressors that professional dancers face on a day-to-day basis and I will explain how we hope to develop new tools to help dancers cope.

3:30 - 4:15pm: Psychology of Injury: The Impact of What We Say and Do (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Dr. Natalie Walker, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Sport Therapy at the University of Bedfordshire and Associate Lecturer for the Open University.

This session aims to provide dancers, teachers, choreographers and healthcare professionals with an opportunity to explore injury from a psychological and social perspective. It will provide a deeper look into not only the recovery from injury, but also the psychological factors that may precede injury (such as life and work stress) and how dancers can develop effective and positive strategies for prevention, rehabilitation and full recovery. Social support for injured dancers and tools to help dancers to develop resilience and coping skills will also be discussed.  

4:15 - 5:15pm: The Future of Dancers' Health (Healthier Dancer)

Panel discussion with Daniel Watson, Company Physiotherapist with The Royal Ballet; Dr. Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; Prof Matthew Wyon, Professor in Dance Science at University of Wolverhampton; Helen Laws, Manager of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science; and Mark Rasmussen, Group Marketing Manager, Harlequin Floors.

An overview of the current state of health and wellbeing for dancers including key innovations of the past two decades in research, private and NHS based healthcare, and education as well as looking to the bright future of further knowledge and widening best practice across training and performance.

5:15 - 5:30pm: Summing up of Health Strand

Studio 2

10:00 - 11:00am: Alignment of the Leg and its Impact on the Dancer's Knee (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Dr. Liane Simmel

Being the largest joint of the body, the knee functions as an important coordination centre of the leg. Located between the hip joint and the foot, it reacts to all movements and positions of its functional partners. When it comes to assessing the stress and load on the dancer’s knee the form and mobility of the foot, the bony and muscular situation of the hip joint and the pelvic position including the whole spine together play an important role. This presentation is of benefit to dancers, dance teachers and medical practitioners who are interested in a holistic approach to the dancer’s leg alignment and in supporting the dancer in optimising their individual anatomy and biomechanics.  

11:30 - 1:00pm: Career Transition for Dancers: Thinking Big

Chaired by Zoe van Zwanenberg, Chair of Dancers' Career Development. Panellists: Isabel Mortimer, Personal and Executive Coach; Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director of Rambert; Gail Graves, Head of Vocational Studies at The Royal Ballet Upper School; Ingrid Mackinnon, dancer and teacher; and Amanda Hancox, Executive Director, Dancer Transition Resource Centre, Canada.

Hosted by Dancers' Career Development. Following the New Directions Symposium in 2010, hosted by Dancers’ Career Development, The Clore Leadership Programme and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the panel will observe where we are now, challenge perceptions, examine new thinking and debate the opportunities for supporting all dance artists through their unique life-long careers.

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunch

3:00 - 4:15pm: South Asian Dance: Excellence, innovation and classicism in the pursuit of recognition

Chaired by Eddie Nixon, Director of Theatre and Artist Development at The Place. Panellists: Dr. Ann David, Head of Department and Reader in Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton; Sonia Sabri, Director, Sonia Sabri Company; Chitra Sundaram, dance artist; and Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director, Rambert.

In order to gain the recognition our sector needs and the opportunities our artists yearn for, more often than not we are pushing innovation to fit contemporary performance contexts. Is this at the expense of quality? Does the wider dance sector understand what is an innovation in South Asian classical work and is it given credit?

Studio 3

3:00 - 4:15pm: Ballroom - Strictly Stuck (Art Form Discussion)

With Dr. Gerald Schwanzer, Managing Director of DSI London;Bradley Stauffer-Kruse, Dancer and Producer; and Ann Gleave, Professional Ballroom Champion.

Despite the overwhelming popularity of programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, participation in ballroom has not seen an increase in the UK. Is the current competition format enough to keep the audience and public excited – do things need to change? How do we find and support the next generation of talent?

Studio 4

11:30am - 12:15pm: Injury in the Classroom - Adapting Class for the Injured Dancer (Healthier Dancer)

Speakers: Nicola Stephens, Specialist Physiotherapist in Dance Medicine, Performers College and Helen Steggles, ISTD Examiner, Pilates Coordinator and Ballet Faculty, Performers College

80% of dancers sustain at least one injury every 12 months (Laws, 2005). Therefore managing injury in the dance class needs to be part of a dance teacher’s repertoire. This session will give an overview of the principles of dance injury management and return to dance following injury including how to keep the dancer engaged whilst injured, and how to manage a safe, graduated return to dance. An interactive workshop will allow participants to discuss injury examples and help plan appropriate management for injured dancers within their class. 

12:15 - 1:00pm: The Hypermobile Student in Dance Class (Healthier Dancer)

Speaker: Nicky Ellis, osteopath, teacher and choreographer

The session aims to create a platform for teachers and health care practitioners to share ideas on how to assist hypermobile students gain better alignment and develop an understanding of how to integrate this into the studio. Rather than focus on exercise prescription the session will explore practical, visual and kinaesthetic ideas that help students of varying ages understand optimal placement statically so that it can be applied dynamically. Areas to be addressed include, foot posture, sway back leg posture, lordotic spines, shoulder/scapula placement and elbow position. All information provided will be underpinned by sound biomechanical principles and current literature on best practice for hypermobile bodies.

1:00 - 2:00pm: Lunch

2:00 - 3:00pm: Physiological Preparation for the Demands of Choreography (Healthier Dancer)

Speakers: Edel Quin, Emma Redding, Sarah Beck, and dancer Jessica Wright of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance

What are the physical demands of contemporary dance choreography and how can dancers be better prepared to meet these demands? This session will reveal the physiological demands of an excerpt of Wayne McGregor’s choreography during a live demonstration. Dancer Jessica Wright will perform while wearing a portable gas analyzer. The projected data gathered during the dance will be explained in the context of a discussion regarding what constitutes effective training that prepares the dance artists of tomorrow. 

3:00 - 4:15pm: Ballet - A Museum or a Creative Powerhouse? (Art Form Discussion)

Chaired by Ismene Brown, The Spectator's Dance Critic. Panellists: Kevin O'Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet; Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet; Assis Carreiro MBE, Creative Producer; and Adolphe Binder, Artistic Director, GöteborgsOperans Danskompani.

Embodying both the practical experience of classical ballet's specific demands and the intellectual experience of the art form within the scope of contemporary dance arts, the panellists represent ballet companies ranging from large-scale classical to former classical troupes redirected into contemporary dance. All fairly recent appointees as leaders, they have all acted as artistic directors for subsidised companies during periods of substantial economic and fiscal changes throughout Britain and Europe. 

Drawing upon this wealth of experience, this session will deal with the familiar changes facing ballet; that classical ballet has to modernise itself or die; and that subsidised ballet is dead, with the only good ballet company being a commercial one.

Studio 8

3:00 - 4:15pm: What a song and dance! (Art Form Discussion)

Chair: Arlene Phillips CBE

An artistic discussion about musical theatre and creativity with world renowned directors and choreographers, chaired by Arlene Phillips, in conversation with Anthony Van Laast, Stephen Mear and Alistair David.

Venue: Clore Studio Upstairs, Royal Opera House

PERFORMANCE: Youth Dance England Young Creatives 2015

3:00pm & 5:00pm

Now in its eighth year, this national programme, managed by Youth Dance England in partnership with The Royal Ballet School and Royal Opera House, supports young people to develop their choreographic skills and deepen their knowledge of choreography.

Eight Young Creatives, who have been selected from across England, will each present short dance works they have devised following intensive workshop sessions with Paul Hoskins, Music Director, Rambert, choreographer and dancer Sarah Dowling, designer Alice Walkling, and a four-day residential at The Royal Ballet School.

Tickets to these performances are £8/£6 and must be purchased separately.

Venue: Greenwich Dance

7:00pm: PERFORMANCE: Our Mighty Groove

Our Mighty Groove is an immersive and interactive piece transforming the Borough Hall into a New York underground House nightclub. The audience is both spectator and participant, observing and experiencing the individual attributes of five clubgoers.

Developed with support from ADAD Trailblazer Champion Fellowship, Arts Council England and Sadler’s Wells, Our Mighty Groove is inspired by Vicki Igbokwe’s baptism of fire into (into one word) the New York club scene as she recreates an authentic setting and characters that are based on those she encountered. 

Presented by Greenwich Dance in collaboration with Dance UK. (Show included in conference ticket.)

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Conference Speaker Bios

The Healthier Dancer Programme would like to thank the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) for the inspirational 2014 Annual Meeting in Basel, from whence some of our conference’s speakers and presentations are drawn. To learn more about membership to IADMS and to attend their upcoming meeting in 2015, please visit: