Emerge 14
Dancing days: Emerge 14 

The world of dance is intensely competitive, leaving many non-established choreographers few opportunities to road test new work in front of an audience.

Fortunately this is what Emerge Festival is all about, which returns this month to The Space Arts Centre in the Isle of Dogs for a three-week run.

The success of last year’s festival, which saw premieres of pieces that have gone on to be performed at Secret Garden Party festival and large venues such as Hackney Empire, has led organisers to add an extra week to the programme.

Festival producer Adam Towndrow of C-12 Dance Theatre is keen for age not to be a barrier to taking part in the festival.

“Past 25 it’s very difficult for your work to be seen by anyone,” explains Towndrow, who will be presenting one of his own pieces at the festival. “Lots of people are – and rightly so – supporting young people but there’s a big gap where other people who are slightly older don’t have that exposure. For a lot of people it’s about finding the next young hot talent but actually that talent is ageless in our eyes.

Demand to present work at the festival has been high, with applications coming from the young and inexperienced to older, more seasoned choreographers. Towndrow thinks this means there’s greater depth to the three-week programme than ever.

Highlights from the programme include a piece by Gosia Mielech on art and vandalism, Julia Thornycroft’s satirical dance theatre comedy Crufts & Great British Menu and Luke Brown’s Love Is a Complex State Of Mind.

One of the success stories of last year’s Emerge is John Ross, winner of the Matthew Bourne Choreography Award for 2014. His piece Wolfpack, which premiered at Emerge, was recently performed at Hackney Empire.

“It was fantastic to see that in 12 months he’s now performing work in a 1000-seater auditorium in Hackney and to be part of his development and growth,” says Towndrow.

“What the artists need and what we try to give them is that development – not just the platform but choreographic support, rehearsal space and contact with festivals that they wouldn’t normally have.”

Emerge Festival 4 – 22 November The Space, 269 Westferry Road, E14 3RS www.space.org.uk

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