Published on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 01:14
Written by Chantal Guevara
Blue Cloud Scratch is a new scratch night for the independent dance sector curated by Blue Elephant Theatre and Cloud Dance Festival. Blue Cloud Scratch aims to provide UK-based dance artists with opportunities to present their works in progress and receive feedback from their peers and audiences alike.
Currently bimonthly, our scratch night provides artists with a friendly space in which to show their work, with facilitated Q&A sessions, full technical and marketing support, documentation (photography and filming) and a box office split (with a bit extra chucked in).
Blue Cloud Scratch originated from Cloud Dance Festival's open space event in January on gender and equality, and seeks to address the need for scratch nights and feedback sessions, while Blue Elephant Theatre seeks to explore ways to support independent artists.
Artists we have presented so far include Bridget Lappin, Konstantina Skalionta, Monica Nicolaides (MonixArts), Charlotte Jarvis, Julia Gleich, Masha Gurina, Adrian Look, Camille Jetzer, Piedad Albarracin Seiquer and Zuzanna Pilat. Our upcoming event on 28 July will feature Dickson Mbi, Autin Dance Theatre, Alice Weber, Lewys Holt, Fern Wareham and Ian Parsons. Tickets are available via ticketweb.co.uk/event/239359 or on the door.
For people unfamiliar with the concept of a scratch night, it's an evening where artists can present their work in progress in a friendly environment, enabling them to test it on audiences and receive feedback on their work so far. It is not a performance opportunity, nor - as we have received so many applications from artists beyond the UK - an opportunity for overseas artists to present their work to London audiences. We're very grateful for your interest, though.
The Blue Elephant has long aimed to supporting emerging choreographers and has worked with Jerwood-nominated choreographer Fleur Darkin, thrice-National Dance Award nominee Sally Marie and Levantes Dance Theatre, who performed at the Blue Elephant in 2006 and 2007 before going on to win the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award in 2009. More recently, they have worked with Carlos Pons Guerra, nominated for the Emerging Artist Award at the 2015 National Dance Awards, and programmed their inaugural dance festival, Elefeet, featuring a range of work form emerging choreographers Zosia Jo Dowmunt, Mounir Said, Andrea Queens, Andrea Walker, Rachel Johnson, Justyna Sochaj, Dorota Popińska and Masha Gurina, which was a great success with half of the performances selling out.
Cloud Dance Festival has spent many years, exploring, among other avenues of work, ways for dance artists to show their work, with projects including Cloud Dance Festival, Cloud Dance Sundays (with Giant Olive), Made Up North (with Seven Arts, Leeds) and Cloud Dance Friends (with New Diorama Theatre).
Our first scratch nights were on Wednesday 9 March and Tuesday 31 May; our next scratch night will be on Thursday 28 July, with dates to be confirmed for late September and late November. If you would like to be updated with our callouts and performance dates, please sign up to our mailing list using the form below.
If you would like to participate, please complete this form, and if you have any questions, please do email Niamh de Valera (Blue Elephant Theatre) and Chantal Guevara (Cloud Dance Festival) at [email protected] For technical information about the stage and lighting, please visit www.blueelephanttheatre.co.uk/companies. Our only requirement is that you are based in the UK. Although we have application deadlines, we tend to select applications as they come in, so do get yours in quickly - or at least let us know that you plan to apply.
Niamh de Valera and Chantal Guevara
Published on Tuesday, 19 January 2016 14:20
Written by Chantal Guevara
On Sunday 10 January, I held an open space event on gender and (in)equality in the dance industry, organised through Cloud Dance Festival and with the partnership and collaboration of Donald Hutera, Sally Marie, the Female Choreographers' Collective, Kaleidoscopic Arts, Technique Exchange and others.
Although the lack of support for female choreographers and the wider issue of gender in dance have been ongoing problems, a few recent events - Rambert's panel debate on 14 October 2015, The Stage's article of 12 January with Akram Khan claiming that we "don't need more female choreographers" followed by Luke Jennings's response in The Guardian on 18 January - have forced people across the industry to speak out and write about gender discrimination in dance. Two recurrent themes keep appearing: there is an absolute need for change, and many independent dance artists are feeling frustrated by not being heard, by being left out of the decision-making, and by not being able to do anything about this situation we're in.
Read more: #cdfgend: The Summary