CriticalDance Forum

Funding for London based Ballet Dancers
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Author:  warren123 [ Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Funding for London based Ballet Dancers

I have been a dancer sponsor for the past few years via UK companies. I will probably renew those this year but the anonymous nature, the lack of direct connection with the dancer, their needs and success is beginning to grate a little.

I have talked with the sponsorship teams at the London and UK based ballet companies and it seems overly difficult to connect a sponsor with a dancer so I thought I might try a few online forums for advice?

In summary what I am hoping to find are dancers that have specific financial needs (lets say you really need 10 pairs of pointe shoes to excel). I would then work directly with the dancer to fill that need. It doesn't have to be shoes ( just an example) but could be anything. Maybe its a flight home to see family, maybe its help with a landlord, maybe its physio. My point is that I want to connect my donation with a human being and not a company or organisation.

Last year I spent some £18k with dance companies and schools and while I admit I was offered lots of opportunitiues to participate in corporate sponsorship activities what I really wanted and needed was a chance to provide direct support ( without the need to show up at events).

I would welcome advice or comments, approaches. Why is there not a dancer forum for those that need a bit of help?


Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Jul 12, 2013 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Funding for London based Ballet Dancers

I think it is highly laudable that you want to offer help. When I went to see the Canadian Ballet recently I was surprised to note in their programme that most principal and soloist dancers have their own personal sponsor, but felt a bit sorry for those that didn't. I don't quite see why a successful leading dancer needs a sponsor actually and reading your post it seems you would like to support someone lower down in the pecking order, so well done you!

Now comes the hard bit: I imagine a thread for needy dancers would be open to abuse and that that hard-up dancer you thought you were helping out could well be spending your dosh on booze and illegal substances. That is why it would probably be better to help out through a company or a school. If I were in your position I might consider setting up a scholarship for a dancer short on funds, the other option could be for a company to nominate a dancer that might be in need of financial help.

Just a couple of thoughts. Please do get back and let us know how you progress with this.

Author:  David [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Funding for London based Ballet Dancers

The idea of personal sponsorship has never really caught on here. As Cassandra says, though, it's common in Canada - and in the US.

One of the problems here is that even where a company may have a "sponsor a dancer" scheme or whatever, they do tend to operate at a corporate level. In practice the cash effectively disappears into a general pot. You finish up not giving to an individual at all.

That's why Cassandra's scholarship idea is rather a good one. You wouldn't necessarily have to do it via a company and thus restrict yourself to one company (although I can imagine may would prefer it that way). A scholarship ensures it stays personal. And I'm sure there must be ways of doing it and not committing to a set figure, if you felt that was how you wanted to do it. I too get the impression you are maybe looking a someone lower down the ranks, maybe even someone freshly graduated from vocational school and who I can imagine would be especially short of funds.

However you decide to proceed, I suspect you may get further with one of the smaller companies. How much contact you can have will depend to some extent on where the dancer is based and where you live, but have you thought about someone with the likes of Northern Ballet, Ballet Black or Ballet Cymru?

And to echo Cassandra again - yes, please, please do tell us how you get on.

Author:  David [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Funding for London based Ballet Dancers

One other quick thought - It might be worth approaching someone like Dance UK or Artist Development at The Place for advice (although I appreciate the latter tends to work with the contemporary scene, they may still have some thoughts or ideas).

Author:  David [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Funding for London based Ballet Dancers

And yet another quick thought...

If you still don't get anywhere, try a letter to Dancing Times outlining briefly what you want to do and that you want to avoid the 'corporate trap'. It is read by those who matter!

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