DanceLive is Soctland’s longest running and most prolific contemporary dance festival. It has now run for 13 years and aims to showcase the best contemporary dance, nationally internationally and locally.
Last year I presented my work at DanceLive. I was honoured and delighted.
I really cannot believe that fast forward a year and I was one of the Festival Directors. This was a rather large job as the festival lasted three weekends in October, with a warm-up weekend the weekend prior. We had multiple visiting artists, some of which who were on residency, open classes to professionals and community, employment and management of festival staff, marketing through press releases and social media, budget handling, and all the little bitty stuff such as ensuring all spaces are adequate, clean and welcoming. It was tiring, but completely and utterly rewarding. I am very grateful of the opportunity and thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the artists. The festival left me feeling inspired by many of the works presented.
The festival is funded by Aberdeen City Council and Creative Scotland.
We selected phrases to advertise the vast array of dance we had on show:
Brave, Bold and Beautiful
Full on Physicality
Curiously Questioning what is happening around us
And the opening weekend certainly did that.
We had Dance Base associate artist Farah Saleh, opening up the discussion and questioning Brexit. Her work, made with Candoco Dancers, ‘Brexit means Bexit’ looks at the politics of today and how this effects those living in Britain during this time. The piece was funny as well as emotional, and I personally enjoyed how she moved the audience around the space and got us all talking to one another. It was perfect for encouraging connection.
Lynn Shaw, an Aberdeen based artist took an autobiographical journey of mental health, engaging with dancers Errol White and Davina Givan to share a dance trio, and engaging with researchers and lecturers from Aberdeen University to deliver two lectures looking at the topic. She also shared a film. This was excellent use of the Anatomy Rooms’ Lecture Theatre and allowed the launch day to engage with a while new audience consisting of students and researchers.
Brave, Bold and Beautiful was shown throughout DEP by Van Huyn Company. This fully naked piece looks at the circles of life and death as well as human connection and vulnerability. Nudity is used to symbolise vulnerability as well as strength. This piece is moving and incredibly engaging. We were intrigued to push people’s comfort zones and to bring new and challenging work to Aberdeen.
HICCUP Project came from Brighton so share with us a comedic piece looking at the trials and tribulations of day to day life for two young females. This piece was funny and a great audience pleaser.
DanceLive was warmed up by a collaboration with Imaginate consisting of a fully funded residency in the Anatomy Rooms. Mhairi Allan and Heather Fulton worked together to begin creating a new piece of dance for new audiences. We shared this as the warm-up event which was delightful. They used local artists and this really got a local audience engaged in the festival immediately.
We were delighted with the success of the opening weekend, and enjoyed evenings with a variety of complimentary shows on offer. It was a real pleasure to programme work that was comfortable viewing, and to have some works that made the audience question curiously what was happening in front of them, and to create a safe, positive environment for this to happen in.
Photos: See Imagine Define