Cloud Dance Festival's life began in 2007, in a very sandy internet cafe on a beach in Guatemala, fairly near the Salvadorean border. Originally conceived of as a thrice-yearly London-based contemporary dance platform, it's evolved over the years to become an umbrella for my projects, my research, for giving (some) dance artists a voice, and of course much more. Through the 13 or more Cloud Dance Festivals I produced, we presented works by over 100 artists and companies, a number of which are now leading artists, plus quite a few in my later platforms as well.
I've been a very vocal advocate of independent artists, their rights and the financial implications of being independent artists with portfolio careers, supported by my seeking to maintain a truly national profile by participating in and observing many of the regional dance networks across the UK - thus enabling me to advocate at a national level. Several years before the pandemic, I promoted the benefits of remote working for arts freelancers, from meetings and coworking to learning and participation, and even auditions and rehearsals.Our final Festival (to date) was part of a feature by Article19.
Ultimately - assisted no doubt by my parallel career in data - one of my recurring themes has been about the economic reality of freelance dance artists: the role of unpaid work (including an unpaid commission on unpaid work), rates of pay for dancers, the financial burdens on choreographers and directors, and particularly the financial burden on freelance dance artists when expected to attend or participate in something elsewhere in the UK: from a meeting in London to the bottomless financial abyss that is the Edinburgh Fringe.
As for Cloud Dance Festival itself, I do miss it - I had some really great plans for its subsequent incarnations, but above all, I miss working with my wonderful CDF team!