SIAP 2015 in Focus: Gary Rowntree
Gary Rowntree is a freelance dance artist and choreographer. As Creative Director of Gary Rowntree Dance, he has been worked in both professional and community based dance projects in Northern Ireland over the past 6 years.
Gary's work is new and innovative, he aims to fuse contemporary dance with action and emotion to create audience specific choreography that connect them holistically to the work. Gary describes his work as 'fresh and risk-taking' and it embraces topical matters that are designed to both challenge and delight the audience.
Gary received General Arts Award from the Arts Council under the Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) in both 2012 and 2014. Here Gary explains what receiving these awards meant to him and his professional development, and offers his advice to those considering making an application for an award from the Arts Council.
What did receiving the award from the Arts Council mean to you?
Receiving the awards from the ACNI meant that I could really explore new ideas that I would not normally get the chance to explore. The financial support made a big difference. This really contributed to depth my research could access as I was able to do longer and more intensive periods of research, using professional working dance artists. It also meant that I could really challenge my thinking.
Receiving the awards made me feel good. They made me feel that my work was taken seriously. They pushed and challenged me. It also meant that I could network and work with other dancers. It meant that I could advertise myself as an important individual in the dance sector. It meant I felt placed in the professional dance sector in NI.
What impact did the award make on your professional/artistic development?
The award impacted on my creative exploration process as it allowed me to enter the studio with the knowledge that I didn’t have to produce something for stage. It gave me freedom to play with a range of concepts, movements and characters. The award also impacted on my networks as I extended connections with others in the arts such as; different types of dancers, visual artists and also techies. Nevertheless, it really had an impact on what I do next creatively. It gave me a base to take my next creative steps.
What advice would you give to other artists who are considering applying for the SIAP award from the Arts Council?
My advice would be to utilise the opportunity as much as possible. To really think about what skill set you want to develop and to consider what it could do for their artistic growth. To be risk takers!
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on developing future performance opportunities for my most recent work: Princess Gritzabella. I am seeking out potential interest from a range of festivals in Ireland and in the UK. I am also working alongside another dance artist in creating a new dance work for children. This has been commissioned by Arts Care.
What are your hopes for the future?
My hope for the future is to fully develop my company; Gary Rowntree | Dance. To get a board of directors together and gain further funding. To create full length works - that ideally tour. To access youth dance development and build a strong company of dancers for the future. To continue to take risks creatively.
For further information on the Support for the Individual Artist Programme (SIAP) and to download the application forms and guidance notes, please click here