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Lauren’s rural dance story

Lauren Tucker is a dance development artist with Cheshire Dance. Here she tells us about the work she is currently doing with the Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) and Cheshire Rural Touring Arts (CRTA). 

As a dance development artist, I have a part to play in the accountability for promoting engagement in dance. I also have a strong passion for audience development in Cheshire and beyond. The Rural Touring Dance Initiative, Cheshire Rural Touring Arts and Cheshire Dance are working closely to reach and to strategically develop audiences in rural Cheshire. This joined up way of working is opening up some exciting opportunities for dance engagement in Cheshire to thrive.

I am extremely excited about this prospect. Seeing live performance work informed my own decision to progress to a career in dance. It sounds so simple but that is all that it can take for a young person to be inspired to engage, or to deepen their engagement in the arts. I love that we are continuing to change our ways so that dance has alternative platforms to live and to reach diverse audiences outside of cities.

This year CRTA have programmed a menu of dance work that appeals to a wide range of people, whilst at the same time encouraging dance venues in rural spaces to take risks. These shows have been facilitated by ‘Dance Across The North’ and The Rural Touring Dance Initiative.  It is not about artistic compromise, the challenge is finding work that is suitable for this audience and getting to know the audience so we can make effective decisions. I am working in partnership with CRTA to promote this work . I am finding it a very exciting approach to audience development.

We are currently looking at the next menu. In the summer, I was invited to attend the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as a dance promotor for rural touring to review work. This opportunity was made possible via a ‘Go and See’ Bursary from the RTDI.  I have been attending the fringe in a number of contexts for several years, and it is always wonderfully refreshing to see a wide scope of dance work . Considerations for the work that we present in Cheshire are deeply embedded in strategic thinking, and the celebration of diversity. The visit to Edinburgh allowed me to make further connections with professionals working in the sector, which will lead to further conversations for joined up working approaches to the process of dance development.