18. 10. 2016
After our recent tumbling workshops held in Mount Gambier, Lewis and I made the drive to Melbourne with the Jungle Gym for the 30th Annual Performing Arts Conference & Performing Arts Exchange. I was extremely excited to take the Jungle Gym to this event and present it to all the producers, presenters and artists involved.
We set up the Jungle Gym for 2 days outside the Malthouse so that anyone attending the event could have a look, test it out or ask us questions. The weather wasn’t very helpful on the second day, which meant most people were inside. Alongside Pippa Hobbs-Stroud, we pitched a presentation of DanceXtend to interested delegates. There seems to be a lot of interest from most venues about how to generate larger audiences for contemporary dance. Of course this has been a long standing question for regional venues as well.
DanceXtend has been focusing on this question and over the last 2years we have sought ways to interact with regional communities. This includes, workshops in the lead up to touring companies, online contact via facebook, The Dirt blog, DanceXtend App and popping up with the Jungle Gym and Be the Choreographer at local festivals or community events.
Have these things worked? I would say yes! To generate more interest you need to be on the ground communicating with the public. And the Jungle Gym and Be the Choreographer have done just that. This however takes effort and obviously money. Always a challenge in the Arts.
I found great value in this conference. People were extremely inquisitive about the idea, with venues interested in the program. DanceXtend is also a great way to learn and generate movement. The interest from schools has been great as it provides a unique way to teach movement to students.
I am hopeful that this program can have a future that creates excitement about contemporary dance. I believe everyone can enjoy and understand this artform and look towards an openness and dialogue between the work and the audience.