DÉPARTS - Practices for an integrated development of European contemporary dance - 2009-2014

The DÉPARTS network aims to invest in the future of European contemporary dance, taking the project of PARTS as its starting point. The name DÉPARTS stands for ‘start’ in the plural. Two starting points are essential to the career of every young artist: having access to high-quality training facilities and getting support to take the step into the professional art world. To reach these objectives, several European partners are collaborating in a network that is funded by the partners and the European Commission (Programme Culture 2000). A first working period ran from September 2001 until February 2004. A second one-year program ran from April 2004 until March 2005.

Currently, the 4th program is in action, running from 2009 until 2014. Current partners in the network are PARTS (Brussels, Belgium), Alkantara (Lisbon, Portugal), Bimeras (Istanbul, Turkey), CDC Toulouse (Toulouse, France), Forum Dança (Lisbon, Portugal), Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin, Germany), Kunstencentrum Vooruit (Ghent, Belgium), PACT Zollverein/ Choreographisches Zentrum NRW (Essen, Germany), Springdance (Utrecht, The Netherlands), Trafo (Budapest, Hungary) Zodiak Center for New Dance (Helsinki, Finland) and MDT (Stockholm, Sweden).
The network is supported by the European Commission, under its Culture programme.
DÉPARTS has established a triple program:
DÉPARTS #1: Advanced training programs bridging education to professional practices
DÉPARTS creates advanced training and coaching projects for young dancers and choreographers coming from Europe and abroad. The projects connect the participants with active artists as teachers and coaches, and take place outside the regular education systems.
DÉPARTS makes professional dance infrastructure available to young dancers and choreographers who do not have the resources to rent them. The network also provides daily dance training facilities, artistic feedback and a presentation possibility to the selected projects.
DÉPARTS #2: Democratic access to a high-level professional training for talented youngsters
DÉPARTS wants to to remove the international barriers facing talented young European dancers and choreographers who have the talent to participate in the training programs of PARTS and DÉPARTS. In a first phase of the selection process, DÉPARTS goes to the local dance communities to attract candidates.
DÉPARTS sets up a student grant system, removing the financial barriers for talented youngsters to participate in the training programs of PARTS and DÉPARTS.
DÉPARTS #3: Support for young choreographers
DÉPARTS co-produces works of choreographers who have participated in the training projects of PARTS and DÉPARTS, enabling them to develop their work in professional circumstances and establish themselves in the professional field.
DÉPARTS presents the work of young choreographers in professional circumstances, giving them the opportunity to reach wide and international audiences and building working relationships in the professional dance world.
In order to build the bridge between the DÉPARTS training programs and the professional artistic world, DÉPARTS provides presentation facilities for the current participants of the training programs. This will enable the work they create in the frame of the program to go beyond the status of studio presentations.

The project was finished in April 2014. Over a period of 5 years, the network supported:

- workshops in 10 cities, in which 400 artists worked with more than 4500 young dancers and choreographers

- coaching projects in 5 cities, providing experienced mentors for 196 young artists

- residency facilities in 12 cities for 330 projects

- 68 preselections and 6 final auditions for PARTS and Forum Dança, with more than 2700 participants

- 700.000 euro in scholarships (1-4 years) for 107 individual students of PARTS, Forum Danàa and CDC/Extensions

- the co-production of 73 new choreographies by 43 artists

- 492 presentations of 143 works by 86 choreographers, for an audiecne of more than 40.000 spectators in 10 countries

- 73 presentations of students of PARTS, CDC, Forum Dança and participants of other workshops


For more information about the network, visit the website www.departs.eu.

Contact: Steven De Belder, coordinator of the network