Dance On Tour

31 May 2024

Spring 2024 has been a busy time for the Take Art Dance Team. 

While at home in Somerset we hosted another successful Spring Forward, we were also spreading our special brand of dance magic across the South West region with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI).

As a long-term lead partner of the project, Take Art hosts one of three regional RTDI co-ordinators who work together as a team to create nationwide tours for up to 8 menu companies each touring year.

In the South-West alone in Autumn 2023/Spring 2024 RTDI brought us:

  • 2 week-long residencies for dance artists
  • 26 performances across Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, North Somerset, Gloucestershire, Gloucester and Wiltshire. 
  • 17 workshops with visiting dance companies

With all of this, we reached:

  • 1200+ audience members at our shows
  • 250 students, primary school children, young dancers and rural community members taking part in our workshops

Take Art followers will know how important rural touring is in bringing professional live performances to their doorsteps. Live music and theatre are widely enjoyed by so many and easily attract regular audiences. 

Contemporary dance can be harder to sell because it’s less familiar to most of us than music and more traditional story-telling through theatre.

Have you ever looked at an ad for a dance show and thought “I won’t understand what it’s about”, or “I’m not a dancer so it’s probably not for me”? 

If so, you’re not alone! 

Comments like these are quite often heard as the reason rural promoters might be wary of programming dance. RTDI is all about breaking down those barriers and showing audiences just how exciting, and accessible, live dance can be. 

Spending a week in February in Ashburton Arts Centre with Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance gave South-West Co-ordinator Beccy plenty of time to talk to audiences and the Company about their experiences.

Audience members Sarah and Celeste hadn’t known what to expect from their first ever live dance show, and were pleasantly surprised!

Mitchell wasn’t expecting dance at all, but he also enjoyed the show and was very clear about the importance of a Company like Protein touring to rural venues.

It isn’t only the audience who get a lot out of rural touring. 

It was a beautiful way to showcase my work and we met the best cast of characters, volunteers, audiences and artists on the road. Laura and I drove down long winding roads and unloaded our show into spaces that were stunning and unusual in equal measure. We had home-cooked stuffed peppers, warmed our feet by fireplaces, and chatted to aspiring young artists after shows. Thank you for helping to make this all possible. It was memorable and meaningful, a fantastic way to create intimate spaces with audiences who care.

Nikki Rummer, who toured with her solo show Unbroken

During a rare quiet moment, the Protein cast were happy to tell us what it is about rural touring that excites them.

Right now, the RTDI team are busy planning the next tour. Six of the seven companies in the latest menu will be coming our way between September this year and April 2025. In the South-West we can expect another residency, another 20+ performances and a whole host of workshop activities including several performance opportunities for young people and communities. 

At Take Art, we also have our very own pair of RTDI Volunteer Dance Ambassadors working on a plan to develop the dance offer in the Shepton Mallet area. Watch this space!

As we’re always looking ahead, dance artists should also keep their eyes peeled for the callout for artists for the 2025/2 menu, expected to launch at the end of May. 

Other News

Theatre & Dance Networking Event

We’re thinking it’s time for a dance and theatre-makers networking meeting, which will include circus, spoken word and performance poetry.  

The event will provide an informal opportunity for us to get together and share news, plans, collaborative possibilities, training and ideas. We know that people have found previous similar events really useful: new ideas are often hatched, potential partnerships discovered, and training needs identified. And of course, the event will include the statutory tea, cake, biscuits and friendly faces!

When: Tuesday 25th June 2024 

Where: The Ridgeway Hall, Staceys Court, Bow Street, Langport, TA10 9PQ 

Time: We’re going to start with a BYO lunch from 12.30pm. If the weather is good, we may go out onto Cocklemoor, which is right next to the hall. The hall has kitchen facilities that we can use. The ‘main’ networking event will be from 1.30pm until 3.30pm. These events tend to be pretty informal, so please feel free to arrive and leave when it's best for you. 

Parking: There’s a small, free car park next to the Hall. The larger, free car park is just a bit further along Bow Street. 

Car sharing: if you would like to come but don’t have transport, please let us know and we’ll try and put you in touch with someone coming by car. Likewise, if you can offer a lift to someone else, please let us know (and the direction you’ll be coming from). 

Access: If you have any additional access needs, please let us know and we will do our best to help.

RSVP: Please email to let us know if you would like to join us so we know how much cake to buy!