Groundwork are delighted to have received funds from the Arts Council of Wales to be able to offer a program of physical practice, discussion events, support and exchange for dance artists – launching week commencing 6th July.

Groundwork’s mission is to support, nourish and connect independent dance artists across Wales. Our vision is to enable a community of diverse dancers, movers and makers to fulfil their artistic potential. We offer development opportunities and artistic encounters, including classes, workshops, discussion events, residencies, mentoring and sharing of practice. 

When COVID-19 interrupted the world, Groundwork were forced to cancel the last few months of our 2019-20 program. We paid all the artists we had booked in full and in exchange they shared their practice in ways that were appropriate to them (see our blog). We channelled remaining financial resources into immediate remote residencies, allowing 4 dance artists in Wales to continue practicing/creating and earning during the lockdown period. We spent our time offering guidance around new ACW funding schemes and other financial support mechanisms via open meetings, blog posts and 1-1 support.  Along with disseminating critical information about financial support options for freelancers we have also been listening, gathering and sharing information about training, development and creative opportunities. We have also been making sure Groundwork survives.

Now, with our Stabilisation grant in place, we are launching a program that we hope will connect the dance community in Wales and keep us moving in a way that is resilient and responsive to the cultural, social and economic changes that are happening around us. Through this program we: plan to engage and hope to support a more diverse range of dance artists, communicate and deliver elements of the program bi-lingually, increase our support for and connection with artists across Wales and make what we offer more accessible. 

The program runs from July to December and includes four key elements with each occurring once per month, so there is some way to connect each week. 

  • Live online class/physical practice
  • Discussion events
  • Pre-recorded class/physical practice, in audio or video format, that participants can access in their own time
  • Groundwork presents – artist curation of online work and an accompanying event bringing people together in creative discourse around ideas, topics and issues

We will run two more rounds of Seeds Dispersed remote residencies. Six artists will receive a weeks fee to develop their choreographic practice within current restrictions. They will be supported by mentors of their choice and Groundwork will host sharings/facilitate peer-led feedback as appropriate to projects. Residencies will be offered via open-call to Wales based artists in July and Oct.

We will offer Creative Care bursaries to support mentoring/conversations/meetings. Details to be released soon.

For its 2019-20 program the Groundwork team has consisted of Zosia Jo, Deborah Light and Lara Ward. Deborah Light will step down from the team (statement here) as the new team members come into place in August shifting to a team of four. This team is paid half a day a week each to curate, deliver, manage and market this program.

We hope that via these intersecting strands of activity, we will be supporting dance in Wales through this current crisis, using this time of enormous upheaval as a catalyst for positive change. Rather than emerging weaker, losing valuable practitioners or returning to the status quo we hope that together, with joined up thinking, openness, mutual respect and creativity we can be part of a better future for dance in Wales and a richer, more sustainable landscape for dance artists. 

However, we cannot do that alone. We are a small collective of freelance dance artists, operating on project funding and working to the best of our ability/capacity to support the community that we are part of. We welcome the voices and the dancing of all ‘dancers, movers and makers’ across Wales as we move through the rest of 2020.

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