Everyday People:  Audience Development Project 2016

About the Project:
Everyday People was a choreography project conceptualised and directed by Sally Marie (Sweetshop Revolution) & produced by Rachel Deadman of The Dance Movement.

The audience development project was awarded £15k from Arts Council England and took 6 people, unconnected from the dance world through the process of developing an idea, devising a dance and presenting it to an audience.

Why did The Dance Movement (TDM) undertake the project?
As part of TDM's audience development work the Charity was always on the look out for new approaches to connect people with dance.  Throughout her tenure at TDM Deadman placed the community at the heart of programming because she believed that dance audiences would grow as a direct result of people engaging in meaningful dance experiences.

To mark the tenth anniversary year of TDM in 2016 Everyday People launched a new avenue of participatory dance for the Charity by placing the community at the centre of the creative process by inviting them to make a dance.   Marie & Deadman facilitated each novice choreographer over a period of seven weeks to translate their ideas onto 4 professional dancers, before assisting them in developing these into six bite-size dances which were presented at Farnham Maltings on Sunday 21st August 2016, 8pm.

Through the Everyday People project The Dance Movement introduced people to dance by asking them to step inside the choreographic process, meet and work with dance professionals in order to develop a deep and long lasting relationship with dance.

Making art is profoundly connecting.  As dancers when we create work we live in uniquely intense environments, forming close relationships with people that are life changing & illuminating. Everyday People allows people who do not get to work like this to deeply connect with the process of dance, to experience and live it, first hand.

Sally Marie in conversation with Rachel Deadman October, 2015.

Participation as a tool for developing a relationship with dance:
The Pitmen Painters is a useful example of how participation in art can nurture art supporters.  A group of coal miners unconnected from the art world took up an art history class.  Their tutor thought the best way for them to develop their appreciation for art was to learn how to paint.  Eighty years on their art is permanently exhibited and is described as capturing, ‘every aspect of life from their community, from scenes around the kitchen table to the dangerous world of the coal face’.

The Dance Movement envisaged the six Everyday People, like the Pitmen Painters, would nurture their understanding and appreciation of dance as a result of participating in the project and hopefully go on to act as catalysts to ignite other people to experience and engage with dance culture.

Following the project the 6 everyday choreographers went on to continue engaging with dance in a variety of ways:

  • attending TDM's programme of professional dance as audience members
  • joining TDM's board of trustees (Stella Wiseman)
  • bringing dance into their visual arts practice (Mary Branson & Charlie Betts)
  • securing funding to develop their idea into a site-sopecific project in Snowdonia (Jez Ward)
  • performing in MASS in 2020 (Mary Branson)