Latest News

Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural dance returns: An eclectic mix of shows to visit village venues this Autumn

Rural Touring Dance Initiative brings dance back to rural venues with a programme of seven works from leading dance companies comprising new shows and returning favourites.

  • Mr & Mrs Clark – Louder is Not Always Clearer 23 Sep – 25 Nov
  • Sonia Sabri Company – Same Same…But Different 1 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash – Blacklist/Fig Leaf 6 Oct – 14 Nov
  • Scottish Dance Theatre – Antigone, Interrupted 7 – 15 Oct
  • Jo Fong and George Orange – The Rest of Our Lives 21 Oct – TBC
  • Edifice – Salomé 27 – 30 Oct
  • Chris Patfield & José Triguero – Gibbon 12 – 13 Nov

A fresh selection of shows covering ageing, masculinity, Greek myths and table tennis, created by dance companies after an open call-out which attracted more than 70 applications, is set to take to village halls and rural venues across the UK this Autumn. The shows have been put through a rigorous selection process by the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, and have been selected by local promoters from ‘menus’ which enable them to choose the work that best suits their venue. They represent an incredibly diverse canon of work that offers a very current and exciting view of what contemporary dance can be, and in small rural spaces where you wouldn’t expect to find it. As well as selected pieces, the menu will include specially commissioned works Antigone Interrupted from choreographer Joan Clevillé for Scottish Dance Theatre, and The Rest of Our Lives from Jo Fong and George Orange. The initiative, which aims to find new audiences for dance and making the art form accessible to everyone by presenting in local spaces, is a partnership between the National Rural Touring Forum, The Place, China Plate and Take Art.

Ralph Lister from Take Art said on behalf of RTDI: “After all the disruption and uncertainty of the last 18 months, we are delighted to once again be offering a full live programme. We know rural audiences and artists enjoy the intimacy and shared experience of rural touring and look forward to many more memorable shows. Many shows were postponed in 2020 and earlier in 2021; during this tough time we supported RTDI artists through a programme shared digitally and provided them with ongoing support to bring us to this exciting moment.”

A young girl ready to die to defend what she thinks is right. A king determined to impose his will as the rule of law. Commissioned by the RTDI and presented by Scottish Dance Theatre, Antigone, Interrupted re-imagines the 2,500 year-old Greek myth for the modern world through the body and the voice of a single performer. From the team that brought you Plan B for Utopia and The North, this new work by choreographer Joan Clevillé packs all the drama, passion and big ideas of a Greek tragedy into a one-woman tour de force by acclaimed performer Solène Weinachter. 

Also specially commissioned by RTDI, The Rest of Our Lives by Jo Fong and George Orange is a cabaret of life – and near death. Jo is an old dancer, George an old clown. They’ve both reached the mid-way point of their lives, and now they’re wondering, what next? Armed with a soundtrack of floor-fillers, a book of raffle tickets and a sprinkling of eco-friendly glitter, they joyfully negotiate middle-life together with humour, tenderness and outlandish optimism. There will be table tennis!

Joshua ‘Vendetta’ Nash is known as one of the UK’s leading Krump dancers, a highly athletic form of street dance characterised by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement. He presents a double bill of shows for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Blacklist is an explosive piece asking how we cope with inner conflict, which delves into brotherhood, isolation and friendship explored through hip hop, Krump and theatre. Fig Leaf questions what it means to be a man, and when masculinity becomes toxic. Joshua and RTDI recently released short film Burnout which explores the struggles of today’s youth, especially in light of the pandemic’s enforced isolation. Set in London and the stunning rural North Devon coast, with three professional adult dancers and eighteen youth dancers, Burnout highlights the importance of connecting with the natural environment and can be viewed here: 

EDIFICE Dance Theatre’s thrilling new take on Oscar Wilde’s classic Salomé takes audiences on an extraordinary journey into a world of rejection and religion, lust and death. Through their unique hybrid language, which combines live classical music, ballroom, Latin and contemporary dance, choreographer-dancer duo Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn tell the tragic story of the Biblical princess in a completely unique way

Same Same…But Different from Sonia Sabri Company is a fun family show about our curiosities and fears, the times we feel different and when we belong. Blending Kathak, hip hop and beatboxing styles, three performers create a playful, colourful world celebrating our individuality, diversity and the bonds which connect us all.

Returning to the rural touring circuit in autumn, Louder Is Not Always Clearer from Mr & Mrs Clark is a funny and honest portrayal of difference and empathy. Meet Jonny. He loves to dance, but he can’t hear the music unless the bass is turned right up. Jonny was born deaf and grew up in a hearing family, surrounded by hearing friends who did not use the word deaf. In a hearing world Jonny is different and Louder Is Not Always Clearer highlights those differences in a warm and humorous way.

Also returning is Gibbon, from breakout juggling stars Chris Patfield & José Triguero, a humorous and surreal show combining mesmerising juggling with dance and physical theatre. Together they explore the absurd and comedic in what it is that drives us to try and try again. Lifting the veil on the rehearsal room Gibbon shows how two charming performers work at working as one.

Speaking about the forthcoming season Christina Elliot, Senior Producer and RTDI partner from The Place, said “We have been delighted with the enthusiasm with which venues and audiences have embraced dance through this project. This enthusiasm is matched by the artists taking part. In many cases it has been a revelation of what touring can be – warm welcomes, open minds and hearts, and an intimate connection and conversation between an audience and the work on stage. In those moments when the magic of live performance is palpable, it’s clear that, despite the different priorities and challenges we might juggle, we – artists, promoters, programmers, producers – are all working towards this same uniquely special moment.”     

In 2015 The National Rural Touring Forum joined forces with The Place, China Plate and Take Art to launch a brand-new initiative designed to assist in the making and touring of contemporary accessible dance to rural areas. The project was set up to address the paucity of dance performance happening in rural areas in smaller community venues.  The project has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England’s Lottery funded Strategic Touring Programme. Due to RTDI successes in November 2017 the project was given a further £417k to develop the project until 2021. Over 160 performances have taken place to date along with numerous workshops and training opportunities for artists. 

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative is a partnership project led by The National Rural Touring Forum with The Place, China Plate and Take Art. The project is funded by Arts Council England through its Strategic Touring Fund. The Rest of Our Lives is supported by Arts Council of Wales

Please note dates may be subject to change, please contact local schemes for confirmed details