Déda Plans for Fusion Future

Déda - a creative centre for the development of Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Work - is bringing together a wide range of arts professionals for a symposium in Derby, the East Midlands.

The Symposium on Friday May 13 entitled Crossing Over will be attended by arts professionals from both the dance and contemporary circus sectors and aims to explore the relationship between the art forms from the perspective of artist, producer and audience. The symposium will also contribute to a new piece of research being funded by The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation which investigates the relationship between dance and circus practice and how the use of narrative translates between the two forms.

Rachel Clare, Artistic Director of Crying Out Loud will share her extensive experience of working across the two genres.  Rachel and Déda Director Stephen Munn will then lead a debate which will also feature Déda's current Associate Artists, choreographer Jorge Crecis and acrobatic and physical theatre artists Nikki Rummer and Jean-Daniel Brousse.

Nikki and JD, who are part of the National Centre of Circus Arts’ Labtime² programme, will be working with students from Déda’s BA (Hons) Dance Degree on a piece which will be performed as part of the event. Based at Déda, the Degree is a partnership with the University of Derby and launched in September 2014.

Déda has been adapting its programme and resources to encompass an expanding artistic vision. A new dance and aerial studio was created with additional equipment installed throughout the building as part of a £412,000 capital expansion project, completed in August 2014. Déda’s Class and Performance programmes are now reflective of both genres, with Adult & Academy classes offered in a multitude of styles and techniques from trapeze to hip hop. This has been a positive step change both in terms of artistic and audience development. Being part of the Circus Evolution Network managed by Crying Out Loud has had a significant impact in developing audiences and profile through offering the presentation of high quality national and international companies.

Rachel Clare, Artistic Director of Crying Out Loud, said: “There is a need for the circus sector to work with regional partners developing audiences and artists. Déda is superbly positioned to deliver in both these areas as has been proven through the Circus Evolution Network.”

Déda Director Stephen Munn explained: “Déda’s vision is to enrich people’s lives through dance and the arts – connecting locally, nationally and internationally. The symposium is effectively the launch of our ambition to be a leader in the fusion of dance and contemporary circus – strengthening links with existing partners and forging new relationships both in the UK and abroad. “Having worked in dance for many years I have been fortunate to work with fantastic institutions and inspirational choreographers. It has always been the highest levels of physical skill that captured my imagination and as dance merges with other art forms such as visual arts I see opportunity around talent and audience development. “Working with artists such as Michael Clark and Lea Anderson has allowed me to look beyond the pure dance aesthetic and I believe this is where my interest in contemporary circus and the connection with outdoor work stems from. “I don’t like to see art forms categorised into boxes and I am most excited by the point of crossover. Our partners such as Crying Out Loud present and produce great work which is not necessarily genre specific - dance and contemporary circus are natural bedfellows through the sharing of physical movement, technique and expression.”

Stephen Munn is also the Artistic Lead for Derby Festé, an annual international street arts festival which is part of the Without Walls Associate Touring Network and produced by Déda, Derby LIVE, Derby Theatre & QUAD. 2016 sees the 10th presentation of Festé with the event now established as one of the leading international street arts festivals in the UK. “Our goal is to create a Midlands hub here in Derby for creative excellence and explore where dance and circus meet in performance both for the indoor and outdoor sectors as well as in educational contexts. It’s an exciting time with the national devolution agenda offering opportunity through initiatives such as the ‘Midlands Engine’ and I believe Déda is well placed to take advantage of this political and cultural shift.”

The symposium will also be a ‘launch’ milestone at the outset of Déda’s new Business Plan which outlines an innovative financial model to address the continued reduction of public funds. Stephen Munn continued: “It is vital that organisations such as Déda  continually evolve and break new ground both artistically and through financial modelling - particularly in the landscape of reduced public funding. “The input from our new Board Chair Geoff Sweeney, Development Director at Birmingham Royal Ballet, has been invaluable to focus our strategic fundraising direction. We recently submitted a Catalyst Evolve application to ACE which will further develop a positive fundraising culture within the organisation. “By looking at new ways of working and broadening the scope of the organisation, I am confident that Déda can confirm its position as a national lead and spearhead the creation of some exciting new work – fusing the creativity and innovation of dance and contemporary circus.”

For more information about Déda please visit www.deda.uk.com

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