360° - Building Strategies for Communication in Contemporary Dance


What are we talking about?
This session centred around one main question: How do we make dance (more) relevant?

“The function of relevance is to create a connection between a person and a thing. […] Our work matters when it matters to people”, that’s one of the definitions of the word ‘relevance’ by Nina Simon included in her book The art of relevance
Do we know who we want to make our work more relevant to? 
Do we know for whom it is already relevant: who are our insiders and our outsiders? 
What are the risks of only serving our insiders? What are the long-term risks of only serving outsiders?

How do we identify who we want to reach? How can we communicate well beyond words? How can we be relevant to our colleagues and collaborators?
How can our work be more vital to our community/communities and, ultimately, to our society?

What did we learn?

On communication in general:

  • Honesty in communication is vital: do not mislead people; give them instead a reason to go see a show/engage in a project and help them take a risk
  • Sometimes it is necessary to state the obvious - always check in: what is the voice of the project? Who is it for? What is the position we are taking? What is our common ground?
  • Not all the people are the same or share the same attitudes, opinions and motivations about the arts
  • People’s differing attitudes, opinions and motivations shape behaviour: it can show how and why people are likely to engage with the arts
  • Thinking about audiences early in the process will help ensure we do not accidentally put up barriers to who we want to reach with a show or a programme
  • In defining audience segments, our primary goal should be to identify a group of people who share a common need that our organisation or project can satisfy
  • Segmenting audiences will save money and time!
  • It is important that we get people onto the same page, especially regarding what we want to achieve.

On non-verbal communication:

  • Words, images, posters, videos, sound are all filters between an artist/institution and the public: they should illuminate not obscure a work!
  • You can always find a photographer you can afford!
  • Designers and photographers should be part of the creative process from the beginning.

Culture connects people: if we can show that culture produces empathy, we can scale it up to prove that culture makes our society more empathic. Consider the implications for documenting, measuring and evaluation arts’ public impact.

What will we do?
We will develop an online tool that includes a roadmap and a glossary. The glossary will be composed of a list of 10 key words: audience, dialogue, translation, relevance, identity, documentation, collaboration, trust, communication and evaluation. Each of these words condenses many of the discussions and concerns shared in this project’s process. Each of them will lead to theoretical and practical content developed by and for artists, programmers and other cultural stakeholders over the next two working sessions. We aim to create a final tool that can be as informative as its user requires it to be.


Hazel Hodgins (Dance Ireland )
Jeanette Keane (Dance Ireland )
Roberto Casarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Alessia Zanchetta (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Roberto Cinconze (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Kerstin Evert (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Uta Meyer (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Elisabetta Bisaro (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Daniel Favier (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Pascale Pommat (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Cecile Vernadat (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Laurence Moreau (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Ayakan Duku (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Valentina Toth (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Nina Kunek (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Mirna Žagar (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Kristin de Groot (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Merel Heering (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Annette Nugent (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Aoife McAtamney (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Lionel Avignon (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Christian Ubl (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)

About the Project

Dance Ireland is delighted to be part of the six organisations in Europe working on this project. of 360° - Building Strategies for Communication in Contemporary Dance (BSCD), aims to bridge a gap identified transnationally in the ability of dance artists and makers at all stages of their careers to communicate their work effectively beyond the medium of movement to a wide range of stakeholders.  In order to address this, the partner organisations will share best practices on the topic of communication with international experts through a series of transnational meetings.  The knowledge generated will be captured and shared through an online publication which will be available for free to all.

This initiative involves six partners from across Europe: Centro per la Scena Contemporanea, Bassano Del Grappa;  Dance Ireland, Dublin; La Briqueterie - CDC du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine; K3 – Zentrum für Choreographie, Hamburg; Dansateliers, Rotterdam; Hrvatski institut za pokret i ples, Zagreb and will run from 01 September 2016 – 31 December 2017. 

 Keep up to date with the latest on the project on communicatingdance.eu

"The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."