Dance development agency Pavilion Dance South West will co-ordinate ‘Surf the Wave’, a programme of talent development and artist support leading up to a showcase in May 2019.

photo of dance production
Shoreline by Simon Birch Dance, which was presented at PDSW's Summer Festival


A new £1.2m project of dance talent development and artist support aims to “fundamentally change” the way dance touring and showcasing operates in the UK.

Led by Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW), the Bournemouth-based dance development organisation, ‘Surf the Wave’ will begin with an eighteen-month training programme for artists, producers and promoters across the country.

This will culminate in a UK Dance Showcase in Bournemouth and Poole in May 2019, after which the programme will focus on supporting dance companies to improve relationships with promoters and secure tour bookings until it comes to an end in August 2020.

Major funders including Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation have supported the programme, which has also levied support from partner organisations including DanceXchange, Yorkshire Dance and South East Dance.

Changing climate

Surfing the Wave was conceived in response to research by the National Dance Network in 2015, which identified a “rapidly changing touring climate”.

Since then, several dance venues and agencies from across the country have come together to create a long-term showcasing strategy to respond more directly to the varied and changing needs of artists and promoters.

Alongside Surf the Wave, Nottingham-based Dance4 will deliver parallel programmes that aim to expand international markets for UK dance.

Speaking about the initiative, Zannah Doan, Chief Executive of PDSW, said: “This is an important project that will put Bournemouth and Poole on the map as a central region for excellence in dance. It demonstrates excellent partnership working as it pulls together a great number of partners from across the country.”