News Story

As we reach the end of the academic year, and our final year students prepare to graduate and forge their own creative paths, we are launching a series of new graduate opportunities under the umbrella term Propeller projects, across our school, Artist Development and Theatre and Programming teams, to help propel our students off to a flying start.

At LCDS we aim to prepare artists for a portfolio career, to seek out opportunities where they can contribute through creativity, which may very well include a variety of different roles and disciplines. This year's graduates are the first cohort to go through all 3 years of the revised BA course validated by UAL, which has invested greatly in developing the students' unique voices as independent dance artists through enquiry-led learning and extensive reflective practice. Over the course of their three years of studies, the young artists who may have come to us with a set dream of what success in dance means to them, learn to widen their perspective, explore their interests, and get to discover all the possibilities the industry presents to originate their own ideas.

Breaking into your chosen industry as a graduate is never easy, and the performing arts can feel like a particularly crowded field with its own set of invisible rules and complicated structures. However, the creative industries as a whole are an ecosystem that comprises a wide range of occupations generated through individual creativity, and the creative economy has been proven to grow faster than the wider economy in a large number of studies.

We know that the time directly after graduation can be particularly tricky for former students leaving the 'sanctuary' of their learning institution behind and finding their feet as young professionals in an undoubtedly tough industry. Suddenly studio space is hard fought over, dance training costs add up fast, and creating sustainable structures and routines is entirely their own responsibility, requiring self-discipline and resilience. To follow through with our vision for the BA course to optimally equip artists for an ever-changing industry, our Propeller Projects offer opportunities to deepen and apply learnings straight after finishing the course, over a wide range of skills and interests, from choreography and performance to networking, researching and reflecting.

LCDS Graduate Residency Programme

This summer, four LCDS graduates of the 2024 cohort will take part ina new residency, as part of our annual Choreodrome programme. Choreodrome is one of the most important dance artist development programmes in the UK, designed to nurture talent and facilitate the growth of independent artists’ creativity and sustainability, enabling artists to explore new choreographic ideas and receive tailored support. Every residency offers a commission of £2,500 and two weeks of studio time, to develop a 15–20-minute piece to present next January at Resolution 2025, our annual festival of new choreography.

International performance opportunities through ArtsCross

Across June and July, four graduates of this year's cohort will travel to Taipei to participate in the annual international choreographic research project ArtsCross. Over three weeks, the graduates will collaborate with artists from across the globe to create short works, followed by a performance in a theatre setting. Academic observers and producers join to watch rehearsals, meet in formal seminars, have informal discussions and present their initial responses at a conference. LCDS supports the graduates taking part with a professional fee, travel, accommodation and per diems.

This long-term initiative started in 2009 as a collaboration between Beijing Dance Academy and ResCen Research Centre at Middlesex University led by Professor of Dance Christopher Bannerman, who is now a Visiting Professor at LCDS. ArtsCross is designed to enable a stronger, more productive debate between East and West, bringing together academics, artists and producers across cultural, national and artistic borders.This year, the ArtsCross partners coming together are University of Taipei, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and The Place.

Publishing Academic Work

For the first time, the dissertations of LCDS graduating students will be published as part of a collaboration with Dance Art Journal for their digital magazine Forging Paths & New Narratives.

The graduating students have worked with six Dance Art Journal writers to publish abstracts of their third-year research projects, alongside reflections from the Dance Art Journal writers who experienced the works during a day of sharings in May.

The Dance Art Journal, launched after Resolution 2018 by one of our Resolution Review alumni, is now an established journalistic platform for independent contemporary dance works, artists and developments within the sector. The visiting writers have written think pieces responding to broad themes in the students' work and a core team of volunteer students created the letter of the editor with editorial support from Katie Hagan, founder of the Dance Art Journal.

We are excited to see how the combination of the new BA course combined with the Propeller projects supports independent artists to have greater and wider impact based on this dynamic and responsive, industry-shaped provision. A recent study by Arts Council England into creativity and education confirms growing evidence for the way that creativity drives change, gives people agency and helps us navigate our way in the world. The world is changing faster than ever, and a creative education is giving young people the vital skills, resilience and confidence to shape their lives. At our recent Graduation performances our Patron, the renowned dance producer Farooq Chaudhry, reminded graduates and guests that creativity is one of the few resources in the world that grows the more you use it. We cannot wait to see how our new cohort of alumni will impact their industry and community through dance, individuality, creativity, hope and imagination. Congratulations to the class of 2024.