Building bridges for others to cross: community, performance and education
'Hercules' is a dance performance which toured to large scale theatre venues in the UK in 2015. The cast consisted of six professional performers and three groups of dancers drawn from community and educational organisations local to each venue and prepared for their involvement by a regionally based dance artist. The amalgamation of professional performance, community practice and informal education, which ' Hercules' embodies, reflects a profession in which many, if not most, dance practitioners work regularly across arts, community and education sectors. This has not always been the case. In the 1970s and 1980s there was a gulf between dance in the theatre and dance in education. They were seen as based on radically different models of practice designed to meet radically different outcomes (Smith-Autard 2002). In the 1970s debates about dance as education and dance as art were characterised by bitter controversy and divisiveness (Haynes 1987:141). It was at this time that a ‘newly identified profession’ (Glick 1986:7) of community dance practitioners—referred to at the time as dance animateurs—emerged in the UK. This paper draws on research into the development of community dance in England in the 1970s and 1980s. It argues that dance animateurs intentionally and successfully bridged boundaries between the very distinct worlds of professional, community and educational dance. In doing so they were key to determining the nature of and infrastructure for dance as it exists in England today.
Paper given at Boundaries: Transgression, Authority, Performance, 22 June 2015 at De Montfort University, Leicester.
Citation : Stevens, J.S. (2015) Building bridges for others to cross: community, performance and education. paper given at Boundaries: Transgression, Authority, Performance, 22 June 2015 at De Montfort University, Leicester.
Research Group : Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Dance (CIRID)
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts