Joan Clevillé & Jo Fong Commissioned By Rural Touring Dance Initiative

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI) has commissioned two leading dance artists to create brand new shows especially for the rural touring circuit. The innovative partnership founded to increase touring by dance companies to rural areas has provided funding to create two new works designed especially to be performed in village halls.

Choreographer Joan Clevillé will present Antigone, Interrupted, an intimate solo work performed by Solène Weinachter re-imagining the Greek tragedy of Antigone for contemporary audiences. Featuring his distinctive mixture of dance, theatre and storytelling, the production will explore the strength and vulnerability of the body as a tool for resistance and civil disobedience, examining the value of dissent and compromise in present-day democracy.

Having previously participated in the RTDI with tours of Plan B for Utopia and The North through his company Joan Clevillé Dance. Joan has recently become the Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre and will create the new work in Dundee where the company is based and Roadwater in Somerset. Antigone, Interrupted will be offered for programming to rural touring schemes around the UK.

The second commission follows a call for a Wales-based dance artist to create a work with funding provided by the Arts Council of Wales. Jo Fong is creating a two-hander with George Orange called The Rest of Our Lives which looks at two middle-aged lives in an eclectic, spontaneous, predictable and random decline. Jo is an old dancer, George an old clown. The Rest of Our Lives avoids a mid-life crisis and asks 'where do they go from here?' The tour will mark the first time Jo has toured to rural venues.

These new works follow the RTDI's first commission, Ben Wright's Point of Echoes, which toured during 2018. In addition to commissioning new works, the partnership has also helped a number of companies including Lost Dog, Uchenna and Luca Silvestrini's Protein to adapt their existing works for rural venues, performing for communities who otherwise may not have access to high quality contemporary dance.

In 2015 The National Rural Touring Forum joined forces with The Place, China Plate and Take Art to launch a brand-new initiative designed to assist in the making and touring of contemporary accessible dance to rural areas. The RTDI was set up to address the paucity of dance performance happening in rural areas in smaller community venues. The project has been made possible by a grant from Arts Council England's Lottery funded Strategic Touring Programme. Due to RTDI successes in November 2017 the project was given a further £417k to develop the project until July 2021. Over 160 performances have taken place to date along with numerous workshops and training opportunities for artists.

Speaking about the new commissions, Claire Smith, Project Manager for the RTDI said "RTDI commissioning opportunities will enable the rural touring sector to see work from these extremely exciting makers of dance made specifically with rural spaces in mind.

Joan Clevillé said Joan Clevillé said "touring in the rural circuit with the support of the RTDI has had a great impact in the development of my choreographic voice. This commission is an exciting opportunity to Take That journey further and create a work that is specifically conceived for rural audiences, bringing together accessibility and artistic exploration".

Jo Fong said "Delighted to be working with RTDI. I look forward to bringing a new night out to audiences across Wales and the UK. Although age is of the essence in this show we're planning on performing The Rest of Our Lives for a good while."

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