360° - Building Strategies for Communication in Contemporary Dance


What are we talking about?

strategy can be defined as a cunning plan (to achieve specific aims); communication as the imparting or exchanging information by writing, talking, visuals or some other medium, and contemporary dance?  That’s where we got a bit stuck.  A room full of experts in the area found it difficult to offer a concise definition, without describing what it is not.  This was an interesting starting point for our discussions, and highlighted just how big the communication gap potentially is between the artist/organisation and the general public.

What did we learn?

Creativity and commerce are lovers, and communication is their match-maker.  Once we accepted the role of commerce in the arts, it opened us up to using words like ‘brand’, ‘product’, ‘sell’ and ‘market research’, which actually made it easier to talk about communication in the arts context.  We needed to accept that if we wish to communicate a piece of work, we do wish to ‘sell’ it (which may or may not involve monetary benefit).  This requires a certain mind-frame while also acknowledging that adopting this mind-frame when needed does not have to compromise or undermine the artistic integrity – if done well, it just broadens the reach and impact of the art object, which is a good thing for the work and the art form as a whole.

What will we do?

A number of important ideas were started at the Dublin meeting.  The two that we will keep central for the continuing meetings to explore further were:

Road-mapping the process of the artist, and all of the different stakeholders they encounter along the way: identifying who needs to know what, and when (it sounds simple – it wasn’t!).

A vision for the future – if we know where we collectively would like to go in terms of a big vision for the communication of contemporary dance, from the individual artist to the dance organisations and venues, to the audiences and funders, we can then make steps to get there, and it opens up the possibilities for making sure we have the right supports in place to achieve these goals.  The vision we came up with will be tested over the year with a wider group of stakeholders.

One of the items included in our vision was that there would be a known understanding in the wider world of what contemporary dance is.  So we will also work this year on an accessible, understandable definition which we can agree on as a starting point.

Summary written by Hazel Hodgins, Programme Manager, Dance Ireland.


Alessia Zanchetta (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Daniel Favier (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Elisabetta Bisaro (La Briqueterie - CDC du Val de Marne)
Hazel Hodgins (Dance Ireland)
Janice McAdam (Facilitator)
Jeanette Keane (Dance Ireland)
Kerstin Evert (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Kristin de Groot (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Merel Heering (Dansateliers Rotterdam)
Roberto Cassarotto (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Roberto Cinconze (Centro per la Scena Contemporane, Bassano del Grappa)
Ulrike Steffel (K3 – Zentrum für Choreopraphie | Tanzplan Hamburg)
Valentina Toth (Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance)
Annette Nugent, Arts Marketing Consultant
Karen Hand, Social Psychologist and Brand Strategist
Eoghan Nolan, Creative Director and Copywriter, Brand Artillery/Think & Son


Dance Ireland is delighted to be part of the six organisations in Europe working on this new 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."