The Relevance of Dance

Breathing space

Breathing Space was a two-day creative conversation that took place in Athens on 30 November and 1 December 2015. With the participation of the European Dancehouse Network members, the activity was designed with the purpose to think together about our future as a network. The relevance of dance was also considered alongside our host, Duncan Dance Research Centre in Athens, who organized a series of cross activities including the Greek artistic community.

EDN invited The Map Consortium to work with us for this meeting to bring their methods of creative facilitation to ignite a different kind of conversation. Local illustrator Eugenia Koumaki documented the process.

This creative approach to the meeting opened the door to new thoughts and questions about what is relevant for dance and the meaning of networking in a globalized world. The following extracts are from delegates and represent some of the thoughts, ideas and reflections that emerged and were debated.

Some key take-aways from the participants of the Breathing Space

The Relevance of Dance

  • “It is hard to talk about the future when the present is so present”.
  • “The social landscape is changing so we should reconsider our place”.
  • “Where do we, where could we, where should we take risks in these times?”.
  • “Art is not a house, a museum. Why don’t we have open boxes? Are we open enough to let the outside in?”.
  • “Can we free ourselves from the “liberal” management system of numers?”.
  • “What would it be like for us to risk NOT defining the taste and quality of dance in this changing world?”.
  • “We tend to think of risk as being about “experimental/oblique/high”. What if we risk that the risky work is really at the other end of the spectrum?”.
  • “Relevance happens in may ways. Art has a role in society but it doesn’t have to be a mission”.
  • “There is a shift in audiences from spectators to users. They are active participants on our art form. We are all in the creative process”.
  • “The different attitudes of the next generation mean we must change our view/perspective”.
  • “Artists are becoming more independent, anti-institutional, what does this mean for our vision?”.


  • “Trying to control made it fall. Each partnership needs a different balance of pressure”.
  • “The way we pass communication defines the quality of connection we make”.
  • “Being clear, being open, being decisive and responsive”.
  • “Leading by letting go. Changing the lead is difficult. How to include everyone?”.
  • “From diversity to unity: we have to think about our diversity and USE it”.

Video documentation

The European Dancehouse Network met in Athens to celebrate its General Assembly. Also to work together in a Working Group entitled “Breathing Space” to think about the future of the network and the relevance of dance.