As the artistic director of a young company (Commotion Dance) I am constantly questioning my practice: What will people think? What are others doing? How will I get my work seen? Am I doing enough? I have found over the last two years that as an emerging company you not only have to have the skills, dedication and passion to make work but you must also be business minded and have an understanding of the industry you are in.
I believe great work can be found through collaboration and, possibly, the most important collaboration and partnership work in terms of quality is between a company and a venue. As an associate artist of The Point, Eastleigh, I have been given the time to ask questions and understand the industry. The Associate Artists’ Scheme offers not only rehearsal and office space but also a space to develop, challenge and embrace the role of and relationship between programmer and artist.
As a company making work for young audiences, I feel programmers need to see the work being made, not just as an end product but also throughout the process of creation. The Associate Artists’ Scheme allows this to happen. Companies are given the space and time to create while programmers are invited to observe and offer support; generating what I believe is a pretty good recipe for the making of quality work.
Models such as the Associate Artists’ Scheme offer an exceptional example of good practice which, in my opinion, can only lead to a better quality of work being created for audiences. This is surely the overall outcome that both artist and venue want; creating high quality, engaging, risk-taking work that will inspire and engage the audiences and makers of the future.
To make quality work, yes, we need great artistic values but we also need to work hard on how the industry develops. Perhaps if Programmer and Company worked together more, we would understand as a sector what quality work actually is and how we can continue making it.Vicki Hargreaves is the Artistic Director of Commotion Dance and is an Associate Artist at The Point, in Eastleigh. You can also find the on Facebook.