Big Dance took place throughout the country between 5th and 13th July 2008. It was designed as a biennial celebration of dance, celebrating the diversity, accessibility and fun of the artform. The emphasis was on inviting people to get involved: by creating unusual events in extraordinary places it encouraged sustained engagement and participation by those audiences not typically associated with dance.
This assessment of three events in Big Dance took place in Manchester and Liverpool and engaged new audiences not typically associated with dance. This was undertaken through Acorn profiling and self definition through an onsite survey.
The Acorn profiling revealed that Big Dance 08 was extremely successful in engaging a new audience for dance. The ‘Hard Pressed’ category, who do not tend to engage with cultural events and are particularly under represented in dance audiences, were shown to be slightly over represented in the attenders/participants of Big Dance 08. The survey results revealed some interesting trends in motivations for attendance, perceptions of dance and barriers to engagement. Segmentation of the data was carried out to isolate those respondents who were first time attenders and/or non-dancers (FTA&ND): in other words, not a typical dance audience.