Thursday, October 11, 2012

The "Bespoke" Experience: Origins, Conceptualisation and Creation

As a culmination of our Devon Dance Compass Project, Dance in Devon is presenting to local communities across the county a series of four unique performances in four different localities which are certain to be memorable events.

Performing Artist: Ruth Voon
"Absent Made Present" choreographed by Freddie Opoku-Addaie
Photo by Benedict Johnson
The evening entitled "Bespoke" is anchored by the main piece of the evening of the same name conceived and choreographed by former Royal Opera House ROH2 associate choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie.

"Bespoke" is a somewhat unusual collaboration between dance and artisanship with the two worlds seamlessly becoming one to create a unique and captivating performance.

But how did this idea come about?

Who better than to ask than Choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie.

"I’m interested in working mechanisms of traditional craft techniques and what this says about the value of human creativity and manual skills in an age that is dominated by technological advances." Freddie explains, "With this I do not want to arrive at a nostalgic view of a pre-technology era, but looking at notions of manual precision, clear work processes and how design and patterns leads to production."

This initial interest resulted in the creation of his Royal Opera House ROH2 commissioned piece "Absent Made Present" which was premiered at the Royal Opera House earlier this year.

Set amidst a malleable environment conceived by James Button in response to the work of  ceramic artist Katharine Morling with lighting design by David Kidd, the work featured craft skills as an explicit element of the choreography exploring how humans transform materials and how the materials transform our physicality and our surroundings

Photograph: Benedict Johnson
Photograph: Benedict Johnson

"Bespoke" is the anchor of the intriguing concept explored in "Absent Made Present".

"The second line of enquiry is the notion of the bespoke and the individual against collective practice." says Opoku-Addaie, "Does one size fit all? What does ‘off the peg’ mean in dance creation? If you have a movement pattern, how can individuality and personality still manifest? How can movement language become ‘Bespoke’ and yet be rooted in collective experience, for the dancer and the audience?  And how does traditional knowledge and techniques become personalised for today?"

Using "Absent Made Present" as a starting point, the original piece has been adapted to realise the "Bespoke" experience. To achieve this, Freddie has collaborated with four prominent Devon craft artists; one from each of Devon's four compass points.

Opoku-Addaie, performing artist Maria Olga Palliani and East Devon Craft Artist Louise Cottey
After months of development and a week long residency in North Devon adapting the original material from "Absent Made Present" one new piece with four different and unique voices will be touring Devon this Autumn.

This unusual and innovative performance will be unlike anything Devon audiences have seen and, true to the name, will provide a truly "Bespoke" and memorable experience on each leg of the tour.

To book tickets for the Bespoke Tour, visit:
The Devon Dance Compass: "Bespoke" is Coming: Box Offices Open for Bookings!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Bespoke" Tour residency hosted by Beaford Arts

From 17th - 21st September "Bespoke" Tour choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie was joined by all four of our Dance Compass Ambassadors along with each each area's selected craft artist in a week of colloboration and development at Beaford Arts.
Freddie taking notes from  East Devon Textile maker Louise Cottey

Freddie and the ambassadors fully absorbed by West Devon Silk Weaver Jane Deane

  The week was spent exploring each craft artist's work and how their individual medium of work could be interwoven into each dance performance on the Tour.

Freddie experimenting with North Devon Eco-Artist Pete Ward
Over the week Freddie and his team were introduced to the processes involved in the silk weaving, textile making, sculpting and natural art practices of Jane Dean, Louise Cottey, Philip Wakeham and Pete Ward.
From left to right: West Devon Silk Weaver Jane Deane; East Devon Ambassador Ruth Bell; "Bespoke" choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie; (standing Centre) South Devon Ambassador Claire Summers; (kneeling centre) North Devon Ambassador Katy Lee; West Devon Ambassador Jessica Squire; South Devon Sculptor Phillip Wakeham; East Devon Textile Maker Louise Cottey
Each performance on the tour will be "hand -crafted" so to speak, adapting the core piece to speak with a different voice on each leg of the Tour. Most importantly, it means each leg is a celebration of the craft and artists in that community. The tour is a celebration of what makes each of these communities unique and special and it is this aspect of the tour which is a core value of the Compass Project.

Book your tickets now for the "Bespoke" Tour! Visit the "Bespoke" Page for booking details.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"Bespoke" is Coming: Box Offices Open for Bookings!

The countdown has begun until the "Bespoke" rural tour hits communities across Devon this Autumn!

Its going to be an unprecedented event in four different communities at each of our four Dance Compass Points made even more unique by special performances from visiting guest stars of the Royal Ballet!

We are delighted to announce that Offices are now open for bookings!

EAST DEVON                                                    SOUTH DEVON
Date:    Sat  27th October                                        Date: Sat 3 November  
Venue:  Stockland VH                                             Venue: Stoke Fleming Village Hall
Time:    7:15pm                                                       Time: 7:15pm  
Box Office:                                                              Box Office: Contact Villages in Action
Contact Wendy van der Planke                                                     Phone - 01363 773660
01404 881207                                                                                  E-mail –

WEST DEVON                                                    NORTH DEVON
Date: Sat 17 November                                           Date:    Fri 23 November
Venue: Princetown VH                                           Venue: Chulmleigh Community College
Time: 7:15pm                                                          Time:   7.15pm
Box Office:                                                              Box Office: 
Contact Villages in Action                                      Chulmleigh Community College
Phone - 01363 773660 Phone                                  Phone - 01769 580215
E-mail –                   E-mail -                                
We expect great participation from each local community and so we encourage you to book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Summer of Dance!

After what many would describe as a remarkably underwhelming 2012 British Summer, we are endeavouring to play our part in brightening the Devonshire summertime with dance activity for all ages and abilities over the summer months.

In the next week; a flurry of Summer dance activity will be launch from North to South and East to West aimed at getting people across the county active, in shape, meeting new people and most of all enjoying themselves whilst doing it!

Here is a snapshot of all the exciting activity in store for Devon over the coming weeks:

South Devon Summer School!

A summer dance, art, design and music programme in conjunction with the Flavel Arts Centre for young people ages 8-18.

Workshops in Street Dance, Light Design, Set Design and Music are set to offer a unique summer experience to captivate creative young people and enhance their growth.

Workshops will be hosted by high quality teachers including our very own South Devon Dance Ambassador Claire Summers, Kadus "K-Dot" Smith (Sky 1's "Got To Dance") of Plymouth-based BeatBreakers Crew, DJ Mitch Knight and many more.

Book places now by contacting

Dance to get all ages moving in West Devon!

Thursdays in Princetown will come alive this Summer with a fantastic variety of dance activity for the community to get involved in.

From dance for Tiny Tots, to Bollywood, Jazz and Rock'n'Roll dance for young people; Street dance for teenagers to Aerobicsm and Pilate-style classes for teendagers and adults - there is truly something for everyone!

Bookings are open for sessions in August on Thrusday 16th and 30th August..

Book your space now by contacting our West Devon dance ambassador Jessica Squire on:
By telephone on 07746892660

North Devon- Dance the Sunshine In!

Dance the sunshine in with some energetic summer Salsa, Bollywood and Bellydance classes in North Devon!

Join us every Tuesday evening at 7pm for a great time, great laughs, great people and of course great dance!

Classes are open to all abilities and participants will be in the very capable hands of experienced teachers such as Jo Ashbeth Coffey and Rebecca Popwell, as well as the energy and vibrancy of our very own Jessica Squire.

Booking is essential so book spaces now by contacting our North Devon Dance Ambassador Katy Lee on:
By telephone on 07979521889

It promises to be a summer full of excitement at our Compass Points and you are invited to come along and take advantage of all that is on offer!

Announcing: The Bespoke Tour 2012!

We are thrilled to announce the confirmation of dates and venues for the "Bespoke" Rural Tour 2012!

As the culmination of all the work done facilitating and promoting high quality dance opportunities in local communities around Devon, Dance in Devon presents an unprecedented rural tour featuring a specially adapted work by former Royal Opera House associate choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie and visiting guest stars from the Royal Ballet!

Photograph: Benedict Johnson

This unprecedented event will feature a surprising collaboration between Freddie and a craft artist from the local area. Freddie will spend one week in each of the four Compass Point communities adapting the performance to include the local craft artist, who will be part of creating work on stage for the performance on the night.

Dates in each area are as follows:

East Devon                                                             South Devon

Residency Week:                                                    Residency Week
Monday 22nd - Friday 26th October                         Monday 29th October - Friday 2nd November

Performance:                                                          Performance:
Saturday 27th October                                          Saturday 3rd November
Stockland Victory Hall                                           Stoke Fleming Village Hall

West Devon                                                             North Devon

Residency Week:                                                    Residency Week:
Monday 12th - Friday 16th November                       Monday 19th - Thursday 22nd November

Performance:                                                           Performance:
Saturday 17th November                                       Friday 23rd November
Princetown Community Hall                                  Chulmleigh Community College

Bookings will be open shortly so refer to our website, Facebook Page or follow Dance in Devon on Twitter for information on getting your tickets in the coming weeks.

For more information on "Bespoke" Click here.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Announcement: Craft Artists working on "Bespoke" Project selected!

As part of the Dance Compass project, Royal Opera House Choreographer Freddie Opoku-Addaie and his Company will be performing a specially adapted performance - "Bespoke"- in each Compass Point area.
Freddie Opoku-Addaie: Developing "Bespoke" with our Compass Ambassadors (February)
The special performance will include a unique collaboration in each area with local dance groups and craft artists as well as a guest performance from members of the Royal Ballet!
Four craft artists from the North, South, East and West have now been selected by Freddie to collaborate with him on a this specialised new creation which combines high quality dance with skilled craftmaking.
Artists from each locality have been selected, so that each performance will (as the name suggests) be a truly "Bespoke" experience in each locality.
The four chosen Craft artists are:
North Devon - Pete Ward (Eco Artist)
Pete Ward is an Environmental Artist and Illustrator whose contemporary art practice aims to enable a sense of connection and compassion with the natural world  through the use of appropriately derived materials. 
For more about Pete's work visit his website.
*Pictured- "7 Days of Creation" by Pete Ward
Jane is a textile designer and tutor working with fibre, yarn and dyes. Her particular passions are colour in the form of natural synthetic dyes and silk fibres.
Visit Jane's website for more information on her craft.

East Devon - Louise Cottey (Textile Weaving)

Louise has been weaving for over 14 years and has enjoyed a number of commissions including large curtains for Corn Barn Wedding venue and cashmere shawls for Devon Fine Fibres. Her collections include scarves, wraps and blankets usually in wool.

Visit Louise's website for more insight into her work.

Philip is a sculptor and artist whose work diverse diverse, innovative and thought-provoking. Philips work includes sculpture with a variety of materials (but mainly using bronze) and also human portraits.More of Philip's work can be seen here.

"The Girl with the Dove" by Philip Wakeham

*The 4 performances (one in each area) will take place later this year over September and October.
Details for dates and venues of performances will be announced shortly.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Olympic Fever!

Olympic Fever!

With the Olympic Torch's arrival in the U.K (Devon in particular of course) and the growing excitement for the 2012 games, Dance in Devon would not be left out of the celebrations!

This of course also extends to our Devon Dance Compass project where our area Ambassadors are coordinating some celebratory dance activity for all ages and abilities.

Have a look at some of the exciting dance activities being facilitated and coordinated in the next few months!

Olympic Family Fun Day - Celebrating the Torch Relay in South Devon!

Sunday 20th May

Stoke Fleming Village Hall & Field


Stoke Fleming will be celebrating the Olympic Torch coming through the villages with a family fun day of dance and sport organized by Dance in Devon’s South Devon Compass project with support from Active Villages.

For more details visit the South Devon section of the blog!

Princesshay Shuffle - Greeting the Olympic Torch as it arrives in Exeter!

Sunday 20th May

Princesshay Shopping Centre


In conjunction with Exeter City Council, Dance in Devon will be sharing a community stage in the heart of Exeter's thriving Princesshay Centre.
A fantastic variety of local dance styles/groups will be on show , all coming together to celebrate dance!
Activities and performances will include:
-ISCA Wheelchair dancers performance
-Devon Youth Dance Company performance
-Free "BIG DANCE" Workshop for all ages/abilities!

For more details, visit our website!

Big Dance 2012 School's Pledge- A World Record dance challenge for schools across Devon!

Friday 18th May

Schools from all over Devon will be joining with schools from across the country in a Record-breaking attempt to have the nations students dancing in unison to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Torch in the U.K!
Participating schools include schools in:

Look out for a school performance in your area!