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Subject: "Dance - where should the money go?" Archived thread - Read only
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Stuart Sweeney

07-06-99, 10:35 AM (GMT)
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"Dance - where should the money go?"
   LAST EDITED ON 07-Jun-99 AT 10:39 AM (GMT)

Inevitably, ROH and Sadler's Wells funding has been occupying our thoughts over the past year. However, this is an important time in the world of arts funding generally and dance is no exception. The Arts Council is devolving powers and funds to the Regional Arts Boards and the next round of lottery funding may well have an emphasis on areas away from London.

On the one hand, it can be argued that dance is far too concentrated in London and there is a need to change that bias. On the other hand, it is estimated that 80% of the UKs dance professionals are based in London and there is a need to provide an infra-structure to support them.

Around Europe various models have been tried to encourage regional development. As far as I can tell, countries like France and Norway sometimes finance successful small/medium sized companies and 'parachute' them into a regional city to kick-start dance activity in the area. In this country we have a tradition of regional dance agencies where a range of professional and community dance activities take place. But my impression is that the dance agencies for all their valuable and important work have a low profile with the general public. However, the plans for a regional dance centre in Leeds housing NBT and Phoenix with performance, teaching and other dance activities do sound exciting.

On the other hand, one might say - never mind a regional infrastructure, use the money to encourage more touring by a selection of top companies, most of which will probably be based in London.

What thoughts, views, gripes, options and solutions do readers have on this subject?

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  RE: Dance - where should the money go? Eugene Merrett 07-06-99 1

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Eugene Merrett

07-06-99, 06:39 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Dance - where should the money go?"
In response to message #0
   Guess who is first to answer!

Many people will argue that the premier national company should tour the regions as well as have a London season. However the only similar example is the ABT in America. What has happened is that the ABT has become two companies. The regular company who tour the regional towns such as Washington and the "dream team" company who will only dance in New York.

I think that is what will happen if the RB became a local touring company. When Darcey and Yoshida and Durante get big offers in New York, Tokyo I cannot see them touring the likes of Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow etc. I am sure their agent will tell them that doing the regions is not career enhancing. To remain a star you must remain in the limelight. Dancing in Liverpool is not staying in the lime light. If the RB force them to dance in the regions they will leave at the first opportunity.

Quite simply the RB will cease to be a major league company if becomes a regional touring company.

England is probably the most centralized large country in the world. London dominates England politically and culturely more so then say Paris to France or Berlin to Germany or even New York to the USA. As such it is unwise for dance to be the first to challenge the current political and cultural set up in England.

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