Outdoor Dance Is Popping Up In D&G

Pop-up Dance events appearing in fields and shopping centres in Dumfries and Galloway this Autumn, and everyone is invited.

Local dance development group, Dumfries and Galloway Dance, announce today Dance Happens Here, their series of pop-up dance performances which will be taking place throughout the region between September and November 2021.

The performances, all under the banner Dance Happens Here, are the culmination of a residency of four dancers from across Scotland, each of whom have been living and working in Gretna, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, and Castle Douglas, and making connections with local communities across the region.

Throughout the Autumn months, residents and visitors to Dumfries and Galloway will be treated to over 30 free, outdoor pop-up dance performances at some unexpected places, including fields, bike tracks, public parks, and at school gates. Some work has already been popping up in various locations as part of Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, in association with The Talking Horse.

Speaking of the project, Artistic Director of Dumfries and Galloway Dance, Emma Jayne Park:

“As someone who grew up in Gretna, I’m unbelievably excited that this is happening.  We’ve already seen just how much dancing outside sparks the curiosity of people passing by. Some people smile, some are more unsure, and often, the performances initiate meaningful conversations with residents and visitors to the region, started by talking about the dance that is happening. This is the exact purpose of the project – creating moments of connection at a time when it is so drastically needed.
All of these reactions are great because we know that dance isn’t for everyone, but we want it to be an option for everyone.”

Each performance has been created or adapted for outdoor touring in the region by a guest choreographer, following an open call in Spring 2021. Guest choreographers each come from a range of dance backgrounds, from hip hop and breakdancing to aerial performance and contemporary dance.  One of the first performances happening as part of Dance Happens Here, Sprawl has been co-choreographed by Tony Mills (incoming Artistic Director of Scotland’s National Centre for Dance, Dance Base) and Jen Paterson (All or Nothing Aerial Dance).

As well as live performances of dance, the Dance Happens Here project is also inviting residents of Dumfries and Galloway to get involved. Young dancers (ages 14-25) will be invited to attend a company class with the professional dancers and choreographers, and members of the public will have the chance to attend an open rehearsal, watching one of the choreographers working with the dancers. With Dance Happens Here, Dumfries and Galloway Dance are keen to open up what happens behind the doors of a dance rehearsal space, to share the creative process and break down the barriers between ‘performer’ and ‘viewer’.

Meanwhile, the Dance Happens Here resident dancers (Jorja Follina, Malcolm Sutherland and Claire Pencak) will spend six months in the region getting to know the residents of Dumfries and Galloway, by volunteering with community groups, working with other local artists, and making personal connections with the region, in a shift from ‘standard’ dance touring, where community engagement is often limited by the dancers having to change location frequently.

Dance Happens Here is the inaugural touring project of dance development group, Dumfries and Galloway Dance, set up by Gretna based dancer and theatre maker, Emma Jayne Park, and is funded by the Holywood Trust and Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund, delivered in partnership with Dance Base.

Programme of performances

Opening event:

Saturday 4 September (1pm), Soaperie Gardens, Kirkcudbright (attendees invited to bring a picnic)

Initial programme of performances (later dates and locations still to be confirmed):

Saturday 18 September (time TBC), Kirkcudbright

Sunday 26 September (time TBC), Logan Botanic Gardens

The full schedule of dance performances and precise locations will be shared via www.dumfriesandgallowaydance.org and on their social media channels @dumfriesgallowaydance.

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