Retail Therapy with Jasmin Vardimon Company

27 Nov 2020

A walk around McArthurGlen Ashford Designer Outlet reveals a surprising presence, a contemporary dance company rubbing shoulders with big brands including Nike and Hugo Boss. It may seem a strange anomaly to situate a dance studio just metres away from fashion, homeware and gifts but in the case of Jasmin Vardimon Company it’s an arrangement that makes perfect sense.

Jasmin Vardimon Company has been based in Ashford since 2012, delivering internationally acclaimed touring productions and establishing their world-class professional development course JV2. In 2019, the company secured funding for a new purpose-built premises in Ashford. In anticipation of this, the company teamed up with McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Ashford to open their Pop Up Space in January 2020. With a full timetable of classes and workshops, they have successfully increased their interaction with the local community, reaching a more diverse audience of individuals and groups to take part and learn more about the company and its activities. They have now further expanded their presence at the Designer Outlet taking over an additional retail unit, which has been refurbished and transformed into a dedicated dance studio for the company’s new cohort of young international dancers for JV2.

Dancers from this year’s JV2, photograph by Bill Knight.

The company’s partnership with McArthurGlen Ashford Designer Outlet has resulted in an enhanced platform for contemporary dance within the local community, with opportunities to participate and an ambition to inspire the next generation of dance talent. The McArthurGlen team at Ashford have further shown their commitment to supporting the educational work of the dance company by offering a substantial bursary to a local student who successfully auditioned to join the JV2 development diploma. In these challenging times, this kind of backing for local arts is incredibly important and partnerships with new industry sectors enables vital support for training and development programmes. The result of the partnership for Jasmin Vardimon Company has been a vastly increased presence and visibility, capitalising on footfall at the Designer Outlet and developing brand awareness among shoppers. It would have been unlikely for the company to have reached this new audience with stage performances alone.

As well as providing a new space for JV2 students to train, Jasmin Vardimon Company’s presence in the retail sphere also offers exciting new opportunities for performance. The company is planning a series of new immersive experiences for shoppers, in which JV2 will take over 2 retail units at Ashford Designer Outlet to create a unique performance event. Visitors will be invited to take a journey through the transformed retail spaces, encountering dancers in an intimate, yet Covid-secure creative space. Known for their captivating and innovative productions, this event will be unlike anything else in the area and presents a fantastic opportunity for audiences to experience live performances again. In retail, the physical shopping space has already begun transforming into a place where people can explore and experience. Jasmin Vardimon Company has shown that by developing partnerships and sharing expertise across industries, both retail and performing arts sectors can contribute original, authentic and interactive experiences to the communities they serve, fostering a much needed sense of connection.