it may be your price of doing art but it's not ours nor is it the price the many dozens of artists we know are willing to pay, many of whom are extraordinarily talented.
if it's all right with you and the patrons we'll ramp up the humiliation on any organisation that chooses to follow this particularly sleazy path.
I've stayed out of taking sides in this debate, to date. Partly because I can see the point that ABT style sponsorship could be seen as problematic, especially if young artists are placed in a potentially difficult position.
But Michelle's response is way over the top, in this particular instance.
Point 1: These Scottish Ballet members are experienced artists, near the top of their profession, who I'm confident can well look after themselves. I'd hate to be in the shoes of an SB administrator who ascribed words to Jarkko that he wasn't happy with - soft touch he ain't! Further, SB has made it clear that this event is chaperoned and takes place in a designated, public space.
Point 2: Dance can only take place when it is funded. This has three basic components: state, ticket and related sales, private (personal, corporate and trusts). UK state funding for the Arts in the UK, while infinitely higher than the US, has never been as high as that seen in much of Continental Europe. However, the concerted efforts of a number of highly talented administrators has persuaded Arts Council England and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to increase funding for dance over the past decade, when across the rest of Europe the money for dance has been in decline.
Much though I would love to see greater state Arts funding, and will continue to support those such as DanceUK, so often derided by Article19, who interact and work to persuade Govt of the need for more money, I suspect that we are not going to see a bonanza for the UK Arts over the next few years. Especially as the Olympics will probably erode some Lottery funding for the Arts.
Assuming Trust income and ticket sales remain at similar levels, that leaves private funding. Thus, if companies want additional cash, in all probability they are going to have to market to the private sector and compete with a host of other causes for cash.
An example from another field: a few years ago, I sat opposite a professional fundraiser for Amnesty International who helped raise £8m for a new HQ. She courted sponsors for up to a year before raising the question of a donation. The senior campaign staff accepted the need to be available for events, briefings etc in order to help the organisation project an image that would enable this money to be raised. That's the way it works in a range of organisations, including the Arts. Easy work it ain't.
Like Kate, I cannot see why dancers should be averse to helping the marketing of their companies by legitimate ways and it would seem that the SB dancers are happy to do this. I know that this sort of activity in the US is a contracted duty in some companies and that does makes me uneasy. However, I strongly suspect that the two SB dancers involved are happy to be involved.
Michelle, if you and some of your colleagues wish to play no part in the raising funds for your companies, then so be it, and I respect your wishes. But you are saying that you are different from those who work for other organisations such as Amnesty, plus you are helping to keep dance impoverished.
If you really want to give money to the arts just give them the cash and be done with it.
If only it were that easy, but private funding is a two way relationship with both sides needing to benefit in a range of possible ways. For corporates, it may be branding by association or training for employees. For individual funders it is often social contact with the artists they admire. In the mists of time this was on-stage coffee mornings for the Friends of provincial rep theatre companies. The SB charity dinners are a modern version of an old approach.
I hope UK skills in the area of private funding for the Arts increases, in order to make the sector more financially robust and that artists help their administrators to achieve these goals; it's called team work.