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?