Sunday 4 December 2011

Dance Writers Workshop - call for participants

Dance Umbrella 2012, presented by Dance Forum, is scheduled to run from February 7 to March 4, 2012 at various Johannesburg venues.

Dance Umbrella is presented in association with the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder),The National Arts Council and the Goethe Institut. Other funding partners include the Embassy of Belgium, Delegation of the Flemish Government, Joburg and Rand Merchant Bank.

Dance Umbrella is well known as a platform for contemporary dance and it goes further to promote this art form with its robust audience development. Nurturing and educating audiences is an essential component in boosting the awareness and appreciation of contemporary dance in South Africa. This is primarily achieved through quality writing or analysis of works in the mainstream press, enabling audiences to better grasp the value of the dance works and helping dancers to develop their craft through critical feedback.

It is for this reason that Dance Umbrella 2012, in partnership with the Goethe Institut, is once again holding an intensive three-day dance writing workshop. The workshop is designed to encourage new or existing arts writers to turn their attention to contemporary dance and give them the tools to confidently critique and engage with it in the mainstream mass media.

The inaugural dance writers workshop took place at Dance Umbrella 2010 and was facilitated by the veteran, award-winning arts journalist Adrienne Sichel.

The 2012 Dance Umbrella dance writers workshop will take place on 9, 10 and 13 February.

It will be facilitated by Mary Corrigall, senior feature writer and arts critic at The Sunday Independent. Corrigall, a respected critic and founder and head of the South African Arts Writers and Critics Association (SAAWCA) has received recognition for her work - in 2007 and 2011 she won the CNN African Journalism award; in 2009 she received the prestigious Thomas Pringle Award for Reviews, and also the Lorenzo Natali Award for Journalism, awarded by the European Commission.

Workshop participants will be given an introduction to theories informing this expression, which will be augmented by mediated discussions with a variety of leading figures in the local dance world, as well as an in-depth analysis of their artistic trajectories. An introduction to performance art will also be included so as to make participants aware of the porous relationship between the visual arts and dance and the conceptualist thrust that defines much contemporary dance work. Putting their newly acquired skills into practice during the 2012 Dance Umbrella, participants will be expected to write reviews of various productions, which may be published in the Mail & Guardian, or for the publications they work for, if they are already members of the press.

The ideal candidates would be arts writers and journalists already working in the mainstream press or niche arts publications who wish to expand their area of arts writing, and arts bloggers or graduates keen on entering the arts/dance writing field.

There are only six places available and those interested in participating are invited to apply. Acceptance will be based on the strength of the writing ability of the applicant, and an interview.

Applications should be emailed to or and must include your name, contact details and a biography/CV; a one-page motivation, explaining how you would benefit from the workshop and a sample of writing, preferably on the arts (not less than 500 words).

The closing date for applications is January 12, 2012.

For any further queries or information about the workshop please e-mail or

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