5 Actionable Tips to Make the Most of a Performing Arts Conference

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What can you expect from Stretch?

The first edition of Stretch is in less than a month – and we’ve been working behind the scenes to make everything happen. From production to marketing, our team has been busy making this exciting 2-day event a reality. If you’re also counting down the days until we all meet in person on the 10th and 11th of March, we’ve prepared a list of 5 things you can expect from this pilot conference & showcase event. 

Get insights and discuss ideas with a diverse range of speakers and contributors at a conference like this

Our programme of panel discussions is a core part of Stretch. These moments will provide opportunities to debate topics that matter to the dance world right now. Tip: bring your notebook as you might want to take notes from this wide range of conversations. Shall we have a look at what will happen in the panels?

Making Dance More Accessible – Production and Programming

How to create dance work that is accessible to wider audiences? Lydia Wharf (Independent Dance Producer & Manager) and Reece McMahon (Chisenhale Dance Space) will share their experiences as producers and how they have been working towards more inclusive dance programming. 

Dancepreneurs and Innovation in the Sector

Thinking about starting your own project in the dance sector? Get inspired by Tamar Dixon (One Dance UK, unique tay) and Simone Muller (Dancers Career Development). We will discuss the challenges and opportunities you might face when starting your journey as a dance entrepreneur.

Fund Your Creative Career – Institutional vs Alternative Funding

Johanna Taylor (VAULT Creative Arts) and Jessica Walker (Trade Creatives) will talk about fundraising. From drafting funding applications, finding the best grant for your project, or finding alternative funding such as crowdfunding or trading, this panel will help you organise your fundraising strategy.

Your Freelance Desk – Accounting and Admin for Freelancers

Calling out all freelancers! We know how difficult it is to take care of all your accounting and admin work. Christopher Rodriguez from One Dance UK will share some tips to help you organise your admin work. Don’t be afraid to bring your questions related to accounting, contracts, or other legal matters.

Q&A with Beverley Glean MBE (IRIE! dance theatre)

As one of the main Stretch partners, IRIE! dance theatre is relaunching its performance company. Beverley Glean MBE will introduce the company and its value to heighten the profile of DAD (Dance of the African Diaspora) in the UK. Bring your questions to Beverley about the following topic: how can dance education and dance practice be more diverse?

Diversity, Inclusion, and Creating Safe Spaces

Peter Laycock (Freelance Creative Learning Consultant), Pierre (Mind Ur Head), Bakani Pick Up (Freelancer), and Katie Hagan (dance art journal) will share their own journeys towards a more diverse and inclusive dance sector – on and off the stage.

How to Network within the Sector – Best Practices
Get some practical networking tips from the amazing experts Isabel Sachs (I Like Networking) and Steph Townsend (Yodanga Arts). The word “networking” can be scary, but it can also be your key to navigating the dance sector. Learn some of the best practices to expand your connections in the industry.

Diversifying your Career Paths – Working with Agencies and Embracing Commercial Work

What work can a dancer do? Well, many! Choreographers and performers Kosta Karakashyan (Studio Karakashyan) and Helen Esther Aschauer (Freelance Director/Choreographer) will talk about how dancers can make an impact in other fields, such as advertising or fashion.

Creating Content and Storytelling – Communicating Dance Better

A conversation to help you boost your audience development strategy. Create meaningful content in a variety of channels and formats. Rachel Elderkin (Fjord Review, Dance Dialogues Podcast) and Sarah Blanc (Moxie Brawl, 2Faced Dance Company) will talk about how they create content and how that positively impacts their dance careers.

Boost your writing, marketing, and leadership skills through our workshops 

The professional development workshops are designed to dive deeper into specific fields that dance professionals can apply in their work, in every career stage. You will able to join one of the following workshops:

Leadership Development for Women in Dance

With Avatâra Ayuso (Ava Dance Company, Awa Dance)

This workshop is perfect for everyone planning to boost their leadership skills to help manage creative projects.

Workshop with dance art journal: Dance Writing

With Katie Hagan (dance art journal, Royal Academy of Dance) and Angel Dust (dance art journal, The Albany)

Dive into the world of dance writing and explore multiple ways of writing about dance, including creative writing and dance criticism.

Dance Marketing in Practice

With Antonia Wiese (HdK Associates), Ines Carvalho (diagonal dance, English National Ballet) 

This workshop will provide a toolkit for freelancers and small organisations to improve their marketing strategies with a low or zero budget.

Create meaningful connections within the sector

We know the panels and workshops sound exciting. But how about the networking moments? Joining Stretch also means that you will be surrounded by people working in the dance sector for 2 days, which is a great opportunity to see familiar faces or meet new people. Our “meet your peers” session and after-party will help break the ice amongst all attendees and provide a moment for everyone to meet each other. 

See new dance by emerging dancers and choreographers

We wanted to showcase some of the newest dance makers that still don’t have many opportunities to perform their work publicly. During the first evening of Stretch, you can watch two dance works from dance students and recent graduates: Connectingvibes (IRIE! Dance Theatre Year 3 dance company) and Beatriz França (UEL Dance Urban Practice graduate).

Be part of a community, even after the conference event

We might see each other in person on the 10th and 11th of March, but what happens next? You will keep part of Stretch through our online community on Slack, while getting exclusive access to the conference videos on demand, being able to keep in touch with Stretch attendees, and sharing your work with this wonderful community. 

Have you got your ticket? Secure your event pass via Eventbrite or Eventual


Written by Bernardo Queiros

Bernardo is a creative thinker who always comes out with the boldest ideas. With a background in music, he works in content marketing and social media management.

Posted February 17, 2023

Listed in: Events | Featured


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