Anna Lewis

Dance Collective

Partnership Visit Brest 2013

A research and development project for Uma O'Neil, the Director of Dance Collective CIC, to visit the Un sour a l'Ouest organisation in Brest, coinciding with the finale of their annual international dance festival La Becquee.

Uma O'Neil, Dance Collective Director: "As envisaged the trip to Brest was a timely opportunity to firm up working relationships between the two companies and cement a commitment between the companies for a working partnership.

On the one hand scheduling the trip during the La Becquée festival was problematic as the usual working structure of the company and daily schedule was completely interrupted by various activities and roles needed for the smooth running of the festival. My out bound flight was delayed by 1 ½ hours which disrupted the planned schedule of transfers and meetings at the offices in Brest.

The Festival performance on Thursday 10th Oct was in a different town, Plougonvelin at the Espace Keraudy

and so during the afternoon the Un sour a l'Oest team had regrouped at the Theatre. By the time I had joined them Marie was in technical rehearsals and other members of the team were equally engaged on Festival business.

Initially I was down cast, however having been shown to the 'green room' I met other performers and choreographers from across Europe who were either included in that evenings show or had actually had their work in the previous evenings show. The afternoon was spent in creative discussions which I feel was a valuable networking opportunity. One of the things that struck me during the afternoon was how freely the choreographers and performers travel through Europe to attend Master Classes, Performances, Workshops, attend Auditions etc.

I also had the opportunity to meet for a brief discussion with the manager of the Espace Keraudy, Jean-Marc Kerléo. During this short meet we touched upon the difficulties of rural programming. The Theatre seems more equipped for and indeed open to experimental and new innovative unconventional work.

To have secured the partnership agreement and received confirmation that one of our Associates will feature in La Becquée 2014 is a solid base for future activity to grow and flourish between North Wales and Brittany, The Dance Collective CIC and Un soir a l'Ouest.

We are moving towards the Artist Exchange for Spring / Summer 2014 and our Associates will imminently be invited to apply for this first round.

I do feel that the trip came at a pivotal time and without the support of Wales Arts International we would not have been able to secure these important international opportunities for our organisation, our Associates and the wider Dance Sector of North Wales.

Based on the success of this first year of activity we will be looking to build on activity for year 2 & 3.

These are very exciting times for our organisation and we are looking towards an internationally flavoured future."

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