'to be of service to and through dance'
As Director of The Place Theatre (1986 – 2009) and Director of the Aerowaves (1996 – 2022) he has promoted the careers of artists from Wayne McGregor to Tero Saarinen and Oona Doherty, from Igor x Moreno to Hofesh Shechter and Silvia Gribaudi. He also encourages the development of criticism as part of the culture in which dance grows with projects like Springback Magazine.
«To be of service to and through dance»
In his speech he talked about several schemes he developed for emerging choroegraphers and the independent scene together with colleagues and collaborators at The Place. He also recalled the first European Dancehouses Network meeting in Vienna and briefly explained how Aerowaves and EDN have expanded and enhanced connections across Europe through dance. He emphasised the importance of having a home for the independent sector, a place of making, of production, woven into the fabric of a city. Ashford stated that the independent sector has driven innovation in choreography and dance into the XXI century and also recalled Robin Howard’s words that the job is ‘to be of service to and through dance’.
Looking to the future, he also mentioned Enya Belak’s documentary and the new Springback Ringside initiative, a project bringing international dance works to remote places in Europe through virtual reality.