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 Post subject: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 10:48 pm 
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CULTURE MEDIA AND SPORT COMMITTEE

HOUSE OF COMMONS C SESSION 2003-04

19 April 2004 No 19

New Inquiry:

Arts Development: Dance


The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has agreed to inquire into the development of dance as an art form. Anyone with data, information or a view is invited to submit written evidence which can be based around any or all of the questions set out below.

Current situation
What is the current state of the dance economy?
Submissions may wish to include discussion of topics such as: the value of dance to the UK economy; the infrastructure of dance and the built environment surrounding this; the economic prospects for dance; and the relationship between public and commercial investment.

Are the benefits of dance as a sporting activity recognised and built upon effectively?
Effect of public policy and investment
How have public investment and policy initiatives influenced the development of dance as an art form in the UK?
How effective is Arts Council England at developing policies, deploying investment and implementing policy initiatives?

Is public investment in dance at a sufficient level? Considering the importance placed recently on 'active lifestyles' by the Government, does the funding level need revision?

Young people and dance
What opportunities and support currently exist in order to promote the inclusion and progression of young people in dance?

What is the role of dance within education at present? Should this change in the future?
Please submit memoranda by Monday 3 May 2004. It is most helpful if your evidence can be e-mailed in a Word format followed by a signed letter by post verifying the submission. The Committee's e-mail address is cmscom@parliament.uk. A single evidence session will be held on the morning of Tuesday 11 May 2004.

Contact

House of Commons Committee Office, 7 Millbank, SW1P 3JA

Tel: 020B7219B6188 (fax B2031) E-mail: cmscom@parliament.uk <mailto:cmscom@parliament.uk>

Website www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport.cfm <http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport.cfm>

<small>[ 09 August 2004, 02:34 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Tue Jul 11, 2006 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:11 pm 
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The statement above gives any number of "Issues" and feel free to pick up on any of them and post your comments below.

This Inquiry is a big deal and this important committee focusing on dance does provide a real opportunity. Looking through the work of the Committee over the past two years, film is the only other art form which has received a particular focus.

It looks as though the Inquiry follows on from the 2003 Dance Umbrella/DanceUK seminar on "Dance and Politics" which we reported:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=32;t=000001

One of the panel members, Frank Doran MP, is also on the Select Committee and his comments about the profile of dance, or its lack, could provide an answer as to why this particular theme has been taken up now. Here's the relevant section from the seminar report:

Frank Doran opened by stating that, ‘politics is my art’. He continued by commenting on the fact that arts and culture currently have such a high profile, but that ‘dance’ hasn’t engaged with him at all. In doing some research before the symposium, Frank also found one folder on ‘dance’ and only 10 questions in the Houses of Commons since October 2000, with the majority of those promoting English Folk Dancing. He then suggested that perhaps this was because the feeling is that politics doesn’t relate to dance, or that there is a lack of understanding about how to go about it, or maybe everything is just perfect.

Frank therefore offered some ideas for raising the profile of dance, such as making sure you have a clear objective when lobbying. He also talked of the danger of just lobbying ministers as this will not maximise the impact. It is crucial that relationships are built with local MPs and the general public and not just with government. Allies can also be sought from departments such as the Department for Education and Skills who will strengthen your case. For example, even if you manage to persuade the Cultural Minister, she then has to convince the Treasury and there is a huge amount of competition and unfortunately, dance is already way behind. If dance companies and organisations can lobby local constituencies and build a relationship with them, then they will be a stronger force to lobby government with on a National issue. It is also important to lobby local constituencies when there is not an issue, so that you have a constant relationship, which will give you more of a chance when there is a problem.

The fact that dance has such a low profile is a huge problem. There is a lot of public funding going into dance and a lot of good will but this could be cut. Not necessarily because of your efforts but because of other things. This raises the question, ‘who will fight your corner?’

Questions:

Jeanette Siddall
So why is dance not engaging? I have done things in the past which I thought were about raising the profile of dance but they obviously haven’t worked. What you have just said is very helpful, because it is not that we don’t want to engage but we are obviously not clued up enough. So if we were thinking of a campaign, what would be the platform?

Frank Doran
Firstly, it is crucial to have a strategy. I would definitely recommend that you work from the bottom up and develop your own resources by getting as many people involved as possible as it is everyone’s responsibility. It would also be a good idea to look up people who are interested in dance. For example, the Houses of Commons have a tap dancing club!

Emma Gladstone
Do you think that part of the reason dance is not seen as political is because it does not involve words?

Sue Hoyle
Yes, maybe it is more about changing the way dance is perceived.

Frank Doran
To a certain extent maybe, but I think it’s not seen as political because you don’t make enough contact with politics. You need a strategic way of solving this problem to encourage dance to be seen as a necessity rather than a luxury. Politics is where the leaders are so if you want to make progress you’ve got to get close to those leaders.

<small>[ 21 April 2004, 09:12 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 7:58 am 
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Quote:
Are the benefits of dance as a sporting activity recognised and built upon effectively?
Dance is a sporting activity?


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 8:24 am 
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Funny that we should have been discussing that very issue recently:

http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=000701

The opening statement: "The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has agreed to inquire into the development of dance as an art form," makes it clear that it is the art form rather than the dance sport aspects that will be examined, but the area you highlight Cassandra seems to run contrary to that. Put it down to committee drafting and a variety of agendas. Remember that this is the Select Committee for Culture, Media and Sport.

<small>[ 21 April 2004, 10:28 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 4:33 am 
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The oral evidence session takes place tomorrow:

Oral Evidence Session:

Arts Development: Dance


The Culture, Media and Sport Committee announced an inquiry into the development of dance as an art form. Please see: http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/culture__media_and_sport/cms_040419.cfm

One evidence session will take place in the Thatcher Room on Tuesday 11 May at 10.15am. Evidence will be taken from the following witnesses:

- at 10.15am

Dance UK
Youth Dance England
Foundation for Community Dance
South Asia Dance Alliance

- at approx 10.55am

Anthony Bowne, Laban Centre
Derek Purnell, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Wayne McGregor, Random Dance
Siobhan Davies, Siobhan Davies Dance Co

- at approx 11.35am

Arts Council England

- at approx 12.15pm

Rt Hon Estelle Morris, Minister for the Arts, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

*************************

The session will be broadcast on Parliamentlive.tv on Wednesday and will be available here:

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Schedule.aspx?Where=Cttees&When=ThisWeek&Day=Tuesday

<small>[ 10 May 2004, 06:35 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 4:40 am 
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The line-up looks good given the relatively short amount of time available. Deborah Bull will be part of the team representing Arts Council England.

50+ submissions have been received, which is good to hear. A small number could have given the impression that no one cared.


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 5:00 am 
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Here's the submission I sent to the Committee:

SUBMISSION to the CULTURE MEDIA AND SPORT COMMITTEE

from CRITICALDANCE

NEW INQUIRY (19 April 2004 No 19):

ARTS DEVELOPMENT: DANCE

I write as the European Director of CriticalDance, an international performance dance website comprising an active forum and the monthly online publication "Ballet-Dance Magazine": The URLs for our two websites are:

www.criticaldance.com
www.ballet-dance.com

We currently receive around 50,000 hits per day and while the USA, France and the UK are the strongest countries for CriticalDance, we also have correspondents in Italy, Canada, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Singapore, and regularly have articles and comments from other countries as well. We cover all forms of performance dance, including ballet, contemporary, South-East Asian dance, African dance, musicals and a host of other dance styles. One of the interesting points of websites like ours is that they provide an opportunity for artists and audience members to come together online to discuss performances and issues. In the UK, for the past three years we have worked closely with Dance Umbrella to provide an online discussion forum for the festival and dance writing competitions. We also have good links with other UK dance organisations such as Rambert Dance Company and Dance UK.

In addition I write for "Dance Europe" magazine and am a member of the Critics' Circle. Thus, I comment on the themes raised by the Inquiry into Dance from my experience of writing about dance, attending over 100 performances and seminars each year and with the international perspective provided by the discussions on our website.

To start with a current example, at present I am in Vilnius, Lithuania reporting on the British Council Next Step II Dance Showcase featuring 12 UK contemporary dance companies. The event is a great success, with many performances sold out and local audiences applauding loudly. As a snapshot of the current UK dance scene, many of the delegates I spoke to at the festival were impressed by the quality of the dancing and the range of styles and choreography on display. This included large, well-established groups, such as Random Dance, to young solo artists, such as Eddie Ladd and ranged from abstract virtuoso dance to humorous dance theatre. Like music, dance is an art form that crosses international boundaries with its non-verbal communication and Next Step II is a fine advertisement for the UK and the dynamism of its current arts scene.

With the melting pot of national groups that live together in the UK, it is not surprising that we also enjoy a wide spread of dance styles that originated in other countries. For instance, in South-East Asian dance, we not only have fine classical artists, often born and trained in this country, but also innovators such as Akram Khan, who is developing a new dance form combining elements of South-East Asian and Western contemporary styles and is much in demand both in the UK and overseas. Such companies and those performing in other international dance styles increase diversity in the arts, enrich our culture and provide positive role models for those in minority groups.

In 2004, the major UK ballet companies seem more stable and successful than was the case a few years ago. Since that time, new Artistic Directors are in place at the Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and Scottish Ballet and dancers, audiences and critics are pleased with the resulting changes. In addition, Birmingham Royal Ballet continues to thrive under David Bintley. Performance standards and audience appreciation are high for ballet, but the UK shares the problem, widely acknowledged in the rest of the world as well, that there is a shortage of top class ballet choreographers to replace the previous generation of Ashton, MacMillan and Cranko. The Regional DanceAgency, DanceEast, addressed this issue and others facing ballet at their Rural Retreat on the theme of "Ballet into the 21st Century" with 25 of the leading Artistic Directors from around the world. The discussions willl be resumed at a follow-up event in 2005, but there are no easy answers.

The generally positive situation for UK performance dance has not come about by accident, but has been greatly assisted by the support infrastructure established here, largely driven by the activities of the various UK Arts Councils, such as ACE. Looking at infrastructure in more detail, the UK has several top-class dance schools, some providing dance education to graduate and post-graduate levels and attracting overseas as well as local students. A second vital factor is the grant system administered by the UK Arts Councils, which is essential for the survival of most of our dance companies and although the overall level of funding remains lower than that seen in many continental European countries, it is orders of magnitude higher then the USA. While the private and commercial sponsorship model seen in the USA works very well for the largest companies with social cache to market, the smaller and experimental companies there suffer from the shortage of public funds. For example, the leading American artist, Mark Morris, was able to start making large scale dance works, now seen as masterpieces, because of a three-year residency in Belgium with a funding system similar to that in the UK. It is very unlikely that these works would have been made if he had remained in the USA, owing to the lack of significant public funding for dance and the arts generally.

Another aspect of the dance infrastructure that is well-developed in the UK is the network of National and Regional Dance Agencies around the country which provide facilities for professional dance companies, showcase new work and reach out into the local communities with non-professional classes and educational work in schools. The largest of these, London's The Place, also houses a top-class contemporary dance school and several directors of overseas dance houses have told me that they view The Place as one of the most important dance institutions in Europe.

Regarding audience figures, the report of the Policy Studies Institute from 2001 showed that, of the various art forms, contemporary dance was alone in increasing its audience in the period from 1993-94, to 1998-99. While I do not have access to more recent figures, my impression is that various UK dance companies are performing in larger venues and several times I have seen the 1500-seater Sadler's Wells theatre sold out for contemporary dance, which would have been a rare event few years ago.

Turning to ballet, my impression is that there is a great hunger for this dance style around the country, but the problem remains how to satisfy this demand given the problems of scale associated with much classical ballet. English National Ballet and, more recently, Birmingham Royal Ballet are to be congratulated for taking high quality dance, performed by smaller scale ensembles from within their companies, to towns which would otherwise see little live ballet. George Piper Dances has also been very successful in taking modern ballet of an international standard around the country and through their TV Ballet Boyz persona they have brought new audiences into theatres, while presenting challenging work rather than the classical favorites.

Thus, overall there is much to applaud in UK dance and its associated infrastructure. Turning to what can be improved for the future:

- UK dance continues to be a lean art form and many high quality companies, especially outside of ballet, rehearse in poor and sometimes unsuitable premises. Further, top dancers in these companies receive poor salaries. In 2001 at the "Paying for the Privilege" seminar, Emma Gladstone (Producer and programmer for The Place and freelance), told the participants that she had surveyed a number of dance artists on the subject of pay. Their maximum income from all sources was £14,000 pa, including those at the top of the independent dance profession. This compares with the average starting salary for a graduate at that time of £18,000 pa. While funding increases since then have started to address this problem, levels of public arts funding closer to those seen in countries such as France and Germany would enable a fairer salary to be paid to these fine artists who often represent the UK around the world.

- While UK ballet is popular and provides a fine product to its audiences, few commentators would disagree that there is greater creative energy and internationally recognised success from the choreographers working in contemporary and other dance styles, such as Wayne McGregor, Russell Maliphant, Henri Oguike, Akram Khan and others. Thus, while it is appropriate that ballet continues to receive the bulk of UK dance funding to sustain the major companies essential for the large-scale classics, the majority of any future funding increases for the dance sector should be concentrated on contemporary dance, the companies based on techniques from other cultures and the new hybrid dance forms, to capitalise on the creative drive of these sectors.

Stuart Sweeney
European Director, CriticalDance
May 2004


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2004 1:52 am 
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LIST OF WITNESSES

10.15am The Associations

Ian Bramley Director, Dance UK
Linda Jasper Director, Youth Dance England
Ken Bartlett Director, Foundation for Community Dance
Piali Ray Director, SAMPAD, South Asian Dance Alliance

about 10.55am The Professionals

Anthony Bowne Laban Centre
Derek Purnell Managing Director, Birmingham Royal Ballet
Wayne McGregor Artistic Director, Random Dance
Siobhan Davies Artistic Director, Siobhan Davies Dance Company

about 11.35am Arts Council

Jeanette Siddall Director of Dance
Deborah Bull Ex Principal Dancer at The Royal Ballet
Anu Giri Head of Dance, London Office

about 12.15pm Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Rt Hon Estelle Morris MP Minister for the Arts
David Fitzgerald Head of Arts Education

<small>[ 11 May 2004, 03:52 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2004 10:30 am 
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Initial word on the Select Committee meeting:

- the various panels (see above) did a good job on behalf of dance

- the Select Committee received over 70 submissions, whereas the usual number is around 20

- some themes raised:
* pay and working conditions for dancers
* the need for the grant subsidy system
* small dance companies seen as small businesses

I'll confirm when the online audio [corrected from TV] version of the proceedings is on the Parliament website.

<small>[ 19 May 2004, 04:34 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2004 2:58 am 
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An audio version of the Select Committee Oral Evidence meeting is now available on the Internet. In total it lasts some 2.5 hours:

- Go to http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Archive.aspx

- In the first and second boxes choose 11 May

- In the third box, choose - Committees

- Click on Search

- Opposite: Tue 11 May 10:15am HoC Culture, Media & Sport Committee, click on: Listen

<small>[ 12 May 2004, 04:59 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2004 11:45 pm 
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Simonetta Dixon has prepared a summary of the oral evidence proceedings on ballet.co. Well worth a read, especially if you haven't time to listen to the full audio transcript:

http://www.ballet.co.uk/dcforum/DCForumID7/42.html

We'll let you know when anything further is published on the Parliament website.


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 3:33 am 
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At Rambert this week I spoke with one of the MPs on the Select Committee who reaffirmed the excellent impression that the various groups made. The report should be available in late June.


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2004 1:17 pm 
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The Uncorrected Transcript of Oral Evidence to the Select Committee on 11th May is now available. Click here for the transcript

<small>[ 01 June 2004, 12:03 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:21 am 
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<img src="http://www.het-muziektheater.com/educatie/docenten/seizoensbrochure/0203/broch_random2.jpg" alt="" />

<small> An earlier work from Wayne McGreor and Random, "Nemesis"</small>

Press Release

Arts Council England present performance by Random Dance in Parliament

To mark the publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's report into Dance, Arts Council England and Frank Doran MP are presenting a performance by Random Dance in the Palace of Westminster. (The atrium, Portcullis House on Thursday 1 July at 11am, and repeated at 11.45am.)

Random Dance, resident company of Sadler's Wells, will perform "Series", a specially commissioned piece of contemporary dance. Artistic director, Wayne McGregor has choreographed the piece to animate the extraordinary light and space of Portcullis House. The event will provide a unqiue opportunity for MPs, Peers and staff of the Palace of Westminster to enjoy a new performance by one of the UK’s foremost dance companies.

Sir Christopher Frayling, Chair of Arts Council England, said:
“I am delighted that this event is taking place. It will be the first commissioned dance performance to be staged in Portcullis House and will showcase to a very influential audience the amazing talent and innovation that exists in today’s dance sector.“

Wayne McGregor, Artistic director of Random Dance, said:
"Random is delighted to have been commissioned to perform at Portcullis House, especially as it coincides with the publication of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's report into Dance, which attempts to bring the value of dance to the attention of Members of Parliament."

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee will publish its Sixth Report, Arts Development: Dance with a press conference in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House at 10.30am on Thursday 1 July 2004. The press conference will be followed by two performances by Random Dance in the atrium of Portcullis House at 11am and 11.45am.

Notes to Editors
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report, Arts Development: Dance will be available at the press conference and on the Parliament website www.parliament.uk from 3pm on Thursday 1 July.
For Random Dance:
Choreography ­ Wayne McGregor
Dancers - Claire Cunningham, Laila Diallo, Khamlane Halsackda, Odette Hughes (Rehearsal Director), Léo Lérus, Ngoc Anh Nguyen, Matthias Sperling, Hilary Stainsby, Antoine Vereecken and Amanda Weaver
Music ­ Craig Armstrong/Scanner
Costume Design ­ Ursula Bombshell
Lighting Design ­ Christopher Charles/Andy Downie

Random Dance is supported by Arts Council England and is in residence at Sadler's Wells. Further information is available at www.randomdance.org or contact info@randomdance.org.

<small>[ 25 June 2004, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New Inquiry - Dance (UK House of Commons)
PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:34 am 
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The event at Portcullis House on July 1st shows every sign of turning into a celebration of UK dance, with the Random Dance performance. Congratulations to all those who have fostered the relations between Parliament and UK dance - the names that spring to my mind are Jeanette Siddall from Arts Council England and Ian Bramley of DanceUK and Frank Doran MP from the Select Committee.

This is an important event for UK dance, so everyone, please feel free to copy the details for other websites etc.

<small>[ 25 June 2004, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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