Springback Academy: Open Call for Dance Writers

Springback Academy will offer aspiring dance writers the chance to be mentored in the fundamentals of quality dance criticism in the buzzing environment of Spring Forward, Aerowaves’ annual contemporary dance festival. It’s a project designed to stimulate dialogue around contemporary performance whilst boost the presence of online.

Springback Academy at Spring Forward, Pilsen, Czech Republic, 22-24 April 2016

The Academy first took place during the Spring Forward 2014 festival in Umeå, Sweden. Following it’s success, an extended version was held during last year’s Spring Forward in Barcelona. This year, Springback accompanies Spring Forward festival in Pilsen, Czech Republic from 22-24 April 2016.

Under the guidance of four experienced dance writers, participants have the chance to create, shape and share conversations about dance and hone their critical writing skills for a number of different formats. It’s a fast-track way to gain experience and technique in responsible, effective, attractive dance criticism as well as to explore and understand the opportunities that digital publishing has to offer.

If selected for the project, Aerowaves will provide mentorship, accommodation and hospitality. Participants will be required to organise and fund their own return travel to Pilsen. Aerowaves will organise local travel to and from the airport.

What Springback Academy 2016 will entail:

aerowawesWe are looking for up to 10 opinionated people with an interest in, or some prior experience of, writing about dance. The participants will be mentored in critical writing by our four lead critics – Donald Hutera (The Times, London), Sanjoy Roy (The Guardian, London), Nina Vangelli (Dance Zone/Taneční Zóna, Prague) and Oonagh Duckworth (Editor, Brussels).

The first afternoon/evening of the Academy will be spent making acquaintance with one another and attending an introductory lecture about dance writing followed by an extended Q & A session. During the Spring Forward festival each participant will:

  • Write short reviews in English (140 words) of several of the performances they see over the weekend. They will work to tight deadlines so that their reviews can be published each day on the Aerowaves website.
  • Generate ultra-short reviews, provocations, opinions and questions to share on Twitter – using #Springback to gather the conversations.
  • Participate in the final round-table/panel discussion to assess achievements and make projections and suggestions as to where dance writing is, or should be, heading.
  • Contribute one longer opinion-style piece for the Aerowaves website in the week after the festival ­— to allow for greater reflection or to draw themes and bigger ideas together.

How to apply

  • Send us a brief outline of any relevant critical writing or experience of review writing you’ve had to date (140 words or less).
  • Send us a sample review (in English) of a dance performance you have seen (140 words or less). This can be an existing review or one you’ve written especially for this application.
  • Tell us in 140 words or less why you want to participate in Springback Academy 2016.
  • Tell in 140 words or less a little about your local dance scene.
  • Tell us your potential arrival and departure date & time. If selected for the project, you would ideally need to arrive on the afternoon (ideally by 2pm) of Thursday April 21 and depart after midday on Monday 25 April.
  • Send all of this in an email to: oonagh@aerowaves.org before 11am (GMT) on Monday 29 February.
  • Participants will be notified by email by Monday 7 March whether they have been selected for the project.


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