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 Post subject: Amateur dance: a contradiction in terms??
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 3:19 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
I was talking to my flatmate, who is a professional opera singer, last night about amateur operatic companies, who occasionally invite her to do paid solo roles which they have no-one capable of singing. <P>These groups seem to flourish in London and the home counties: the number of small towns that have them is quite extraordinary.<P>This led me to wonder why there seems to be no equivalent number of amateur dance company. One answer could be to do with the required level of technique, but I do not think this is valid. Singing Wagner is just as difficult, demanding and rigorous as dancing Balanchine.<P>Another answer could be that there is less demand for dance, both in terms of performers and potential viewers. I can't accept this argument either, for there are far more dance classes in London than vocal classes, and the number of professional dance performances appears to be higher than operatic ones. <P>The only answer I can think of is that there are far more small professional dance companies than small professional opera companies. Perhaps it is these small dance companies, filled with professional dancers, that takes the audience and theatre space that might otherwise be filled by amateur groups?<P>Do you think that there is room in the dance market for a vibrant amateur dance scene? Are there companies out there already? Why do you think that there aren't more?


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur dance: a contradiction in terms??
PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2002 7:47 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
I know of at least one amateur ballet company Maria. Here is the link to the <A HREF="http://www.stage.demon.co.uk/" TARGET=_blank><B> website of Chelsea Ballet</B></A>.<P>In the US there are a lot of ballet companies associated with local schools and when they put on shows they bring in star dancers to perform the solo roles. I saw such a performance of "R&J" outside of SF in 2000. i thought it worked well with choreography to suit the different standards of performers. A friend told me that this type of performance is frowned on by the Dance Admin. profession who are very keen on creative community dance projects involving choreographers such as Wayne McGregor.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur dance: a contradiction in terms??
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 3:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 218
Stuart, do you know of any examples of those community dance projects involving choreographers the Dance Admin. profession is keen on? I have never heard of anything like that. And why should those not co-exist<BR>with amateur companies putting on performances similar to the kind you watched in the US? Could you please elaborate?<P>I find the idea of an amateur dance company intriguing. Given that dance is a performing art the prospects for adult students are very bleak. Ballet schools for children have their regular recitals but there seem to be very few opportunities for adults who wish to perform.<P>Maria's point about theater space being taken up by all the small choreographer driven professional contemporary companies in London is a very relevant one in my opinion. Anyone having any other ideas or experiences?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Amateur dance: a contradiction in terms??
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 10:18 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Here's one successful example by choreographer Lea Anderson of the Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs from a couple of years ago:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/1999site/1999/sr.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.danceumbrella.co.uk/1999site/1999/sr.html</A> <P>and a review from The Times (via the ballet.co review database):<BR> <A HREF="http://www.times-archive.co.uk/news/pages/tim/99/11/16/timartdan02001.html?1376249" TARGET=_blank>http://www.times-archive.co.uk/news/pages/tim/99/11/16/timartdan02001.html?1376249</A> <P>I think the point that some dance organisers would make is that the performances of the amateurs stand on their own and don't need a couple of professionals to make it valid. Community dance is about commitment and soul and can be just a rewarding as a professional performance. <P>A couple of years ago, Greenwich Festival staged a trio of performances in Greenwich, Canary Wharf and the South Bank Centre connected by a boat journey. The latter two were professional, buit the first which was a community dance piece stole the show for most people. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 10, 2002).]


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