FIND WHAT MATTERS
Dance enriches all our lives. This is the core message arts organisation South East Dance wanted to get across in a communications and fundraising campaign for The Dance Space. Opening in Brighton in 2018, the state-of-the-art building will be a place for artists to explore, collaborate and create.
But The Dance Space won’t just be for professionals. It will be a place where many people can dance. As well as high-specification studios, it will provide a community and performance space, offering a host of classes, projects and performances.
South East Dance wanted to build excitement and support for the project, taking local people on the journey as they raised awareness and funds.
But how could they reach a wide range of audiences – local residents, businesses, media – and get them feeling connected to dance? How could they raise the money needed to finish The Dance Space? And could they make it all happen without big advertising budgets?
We worked closely with South East Dance to create a campaign identity that could propel the message everywhere it needed to go, and help make The Dance Space happen.
MAKE IT MATTER MORE
First, there was a challenge to overcome. The Dance Space is for everyone – all ages, all abilities, and including people who may not yet have discovered their passion for it.
But a ‘dance space’ might easily be perceived as something for other people – professional artists and those already connected to the world of dance.
So we looked for ways to break down that barrier and bring dance, and all its joys, to a broader audience.
Our creative process began with the question: “What is dance?”. It led us to consider how the concept of dance itself can be open to individual interpretation.
That freed us to explore what a non-judgmental, free-thinking space would feel like. One that invites people in. We began to develop a “Space to Dance” campaign that encouraged the audience to decide how they would participate, in whatever way felt right for them.
Visually, we represented the idea of a blank canvas – an open space for people to connect with dance in their own, unique way – using simple white boxes and clean black lines. The words ‘Space to…’ were contained in the squares -, inviting people to think about what dancing gives them space to do, whether it’s ‘be confident’, ‘be social’, ‘have fun’ or ‘feel free’.
We challenged the stereotype image people might have in their heads of ‘a dancer’ with a series of photo case studies of local people. Brighton photographer Rebecca Jackson captured varied, vibrant and down-to-earth personalities, pictured alongside their own words about what dance means to them.
We focused on how we could be innovative and efficient with design and production techniques. We made an impact with a graffiti wall painted by a local artist at The Dance Space’s future home in Circus Street.
To reach people in different spaces, throughout their daily lives, we created ‘dance floor’ squares for pavements around the city, encouraging people to stop and dance. We also designed posters and social media graphics, asking questions such as “When was the last time you danced?” to kick-start conversations.
Now, people are starting to get excited about The Dance Space becoming part of their lives – whether they’re keen dancers looking for studio space to train, or curious amateurs ready to discover some new moves.
“This was a new kind of challenge for us, the scale of which we had never undertaken before. The team at Neo were fantastic to work with and really helped guide us through what turned out to be a huge learning curve.”
Rowena Price, Communications Coordinator