Springback Academy - Open Call for Participants

A project to stimulate dialogue about dance and performance while improving and promoting written criticism online.

Springback Academy will take place at Aerowaves’ Spring Forward festival 20–23 March 2024 (inclusive) in Darmstadt, Mainz and Wiesbaden, Germany.

After Umeå, Barcelona, Pilsen, Aarhus, Sofia, Paris, Elefsina and Dublin, Springback Academy is once again offering aspiring dance writers the opportunity to be mentored in the fundamentals of quality dance criticism in the action-packed environment of the annual Spring Forward Festival.

Under the guidance of four professional dance writers, participants will hone their critical writing skills and have the chance to create, shape and share conversations about dance. It's a fast-track route to gain experience and technique in responsible, effective, attractive dance criticism as well as to explore and understand the opportunities that digital publishing has to offer.

PLUS – Springback Magazine was launched in March 2018 to cover dance beyond the annual Springback Academy and Spring Forward Festival, and to further the professional development of its contributors, who are drawn exclusively from the Academy. Academy graduates also have opportunities to interview artists, speak to audiences about their work, and to participate in further workshops and meetings both on and offline.

Springback Academy is open to writers based in Europe who are proficient in written and spoken English (not necessarily as a first language).

Successful applicants will receive mentorship, accommodation, a contribution to travel costs, hospitality, a pass to the Spring Forward festival and the opportunity to participate in future Springback activities, including Springback Assemblies and contributing to Springback Magazine. Participants will be required to organise and fund their own return travel to the festival.

What Springback Academy 2024 will entail:

We are looking for 10 people with an interest in, or some prior experience of writing about dance. The participants will be mentored in critical writing by our lead critics including Donald Hutera (The Times), Sanjoy Roy (The Guardian, Editor of Springback Magazine) Kelly Apter (The Scotsman) and Laura Cappelle (New York Times, Financial Times). During the Spring Forward festival each participant will:

  • Attend an on-line meeting prior to the Academy to meet the Aerowaves team.
  • Attend an introductory lecture about dance writing given by Sanjoy Roy followed by an extended Q & A session.
  •  Attend a talk by Laura Cappelle about writing in English as your second language.
  • Write short reviews in English (150 words) of several of the performances they see over the weekend. They will work to tight deadlines so that their reviews can be published each day on the Aerowaves/Springback website.
  • Contribute one longer opinion piece for the Springback website in the week after the festival – to allow for greater reflection or to draw themes and bigger ideas together.
  • Participate in a round-table and/or introduction/panel discussions. • Have the opportunity to meet informally with the 200 strong Spring Forward audience made up almost exclusively of dance professionals.
  • Once the Academy programme is completed, writers can contribute to Springback Magazine, participate in the annual Springback Assembly and other related activities.

Find out more about Springback Academy

Read reviews and opinion pieces from last year's Springback Academy

Download Springback’s quickstart guide to writing dance reviews

How to apply:

Fill in and send the online form by 24:00 (GMT) Saturday 2 December 2023

Our team of mentors will read all applications. Successful applicants will be notified by email at the latest by 15 January 2024. N.B.

If you applied to participate in the Springback Academy in previous years and your submission was not accepted, we do encourage you to apply again. Good luck!