In this second series of Theatre Thursdays, we’re celebrating the very best of dance in Greater Manchester, by shining a light on some of the amazing dance companies and artists that live here and the wonderful work they’re producing.
This week, we showcase Emergence, the postgraduate dance company of Joss Arnott Dance and the University of Salford. For the next week, their production, When Worlds Collide, is available to watch on our YouTube channel.
Here in a Q&A, Artistic Director, Joss Arnott and Programme Leader, Debbie Milner, tell us more about Emergence and talk about the importance of collaboration, exciting dance audiences and dance training at the highest level.
Q1. Tell us about Emergence.
Emergence is the company name for the MA Dance: Performance and Professional Practices programme at the University of Salford. This is a professionally focused course (10-months), co-designed and delivered between Joss Arnott Dance and the University of Salford.
Dancers who become part of Emergence postgraduate dance company, work with internationally acclaimed choreographers to produce a programme of new performance work each year. Emergence tour nationally each spring/summer season led by Artistic Director, Joss Arnott with Programme Leader, Debbie Milner.
Q2. Tell us about the experience of an Emergence dancer.
Students choose to be part of Emergence and study for an MA in Dance: Performance and Professional Practices to enhance their ability as both a professional dancer and dance professional to support their ambition to pursue a sustainable career in dance.
Acceptance on the course and to be part of Emergence is by application and audition. Numbers are restricted so competition for places is very high. You can select to study and train for an MA or Post-Graduate Diploma qualification. The University expects that applicants have undertaken a recognised Degree or Dance Training programme as the content of the course is rigorous physically, creatively and academically.
The programme not only focuses on contemporary dance performance at the highest level, but also addresses the wider needs of the dance professional including modules on producing, teaching and workshop design/delivery – allowing dancers to develop their skills, knowledge and experience to expand their professional opportunities upon graduation.
Q3. Tell us more about When Worlds Collide that is been featured in the Theatre Thursdays’ series.
Choreographed by Emergence’s Artistic Director, Joss Arnott – When Worlds Collide explores a positive message of empowerment and unity within a fragile and uncertain world. Combining physically charged movement, an original, pounding music score and elaborate lighting designs to showcase a visually bold and exhilarating experience for audiences.
Musically and choreographically driven, When Worlds Collide sees a group of dynamic dancers create alliances to break down the walls and barriers we may or may not face in an unsettled social climate.
Originally created for the company’s inaugural tour in 2018/19, the work is presented through a stylised choreographic language drawing on influences from contemporary techniques and classical ballet. For their 2019/20 season, Arnott adds a modern twist to reimagine the work with this year’s vibrant young company.
Q4. What is your choreographic process?
The Emergence cohort renews every year, as do our guest choreographers who create the productions that tour. Collaboration is at the heart of our work and the commissioned chorographers that are invited to work with Emergence produce work that is of the highest quality. Audiences can always expect to see adrenaline-fuelled and musically driven work that aims to inspire and excite audiences regardless of their dance knowledge or experience.
Q5. Why does a thriving dance community in Greater Manchester matter to University of Salford?
Industry is at the heart of everything we do. We aim to form strong partnerships with freelance dance artists, companies and dance organisations from across Greater Manchester. We want to join organisations such as Company Chameleon to be key ambassadors for dance and advocate for dance to be an essential part of Manchester’s cultural offer. It is our aim to work hand-in-hand with our partners and dance community to develop courses that are up-to-date and relevant to today’s challenges. Dance in Manchester is thriving and we are excited and proud to play a strategic role in its development.
Thank you to Joss and Debbie for taking the time to talk to us. Head over to our YouTube Channel to watch When Worlds Collide performed by Emergence – watch here.
Theatre Thursdays continues next week when the spotlight will be on Daisy Howell (Brink Dance Company) and Aaron Howell (Howl Creative), who collaborate in making dance and digital performance work. Until then, stay safe x
No.1: Josh Hawkins. Dancers – Wubkje Kuindersma and Millie Thomas | No 2: Drew Forsyth | No 3: Drew Forsyth. Dancer: Matilda Maginnis | No.4 : Josh Hawkins. Dancer – Amelia Holsworth | No. 5: Drew Forsyth. Dancer – Matilda Maginnis | No.6: Drew Forsyth. Dancer – Hayley Walker | No.7: Josh Hawkins. Dancers – Wubkje Kuindersma and Millie Thomas
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Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!