Memorandum submitted by Arts Council England
Arts Council England is the national arts development
agency, responsible for developing and implementing arts policy
and funding on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and
Sport, and making strategic use of both National Lottery and Treasury
grant-in-aid funding. Arts Council England believes in the transforming
power of the arts and aims to place the arts at the heart of our
national life. We welcome the Committee's interest in dance, and
the opportunity this Inquiry presents to summarise the current
position and potential of the art form. A summary of its development
is attached as Appendix 1.
Dance has achieved much over recent
It is diverse, innovative, collaborative
and culturally relevant, and demonstrates the benefits of sustained
Its future is dependent on talent;
we need to do more to identify, nurture, sustain and retain that
Now is the time to address:
The potential benefits of dance
In 2003-04, Arts Council England directly invested
£33.8 million in dance (excluding investment in The Royal
Ballet which is integrated into a single grant to The Royal Opera
House). Of this, £26.8 million provided regular investment
in organisations, equivalent to just over 10% of Arts Council
England total regular investment in organisations compared to
nearly 21% for music and 33% for theatre.
About 78% (£21 million) of regular investment
in dance was in 40 dance companies. Of this, over 80% (£17.4
million) was invested in six companies each receiving over £1
million, the remaining 34 companies each received less than £500,000.
Regular investment is also made in nine National Dance Agencies,
umbrella organisations, promoters and theatres.
The other £7 million was from the Lottery
funded Grants for the Arts programme, and represents around 14%
of total expenditure on the programme. The flexibility of this
new programme allowed the largest single touring grant, of over
£800,000, to support the touring of international dance companies.
A breakdown of direct investment in dance in
2003-04 is provided as Appendix 2.
Outstanding international reputation
London and New York are the leading dance capitals
of the world. The UK's high international standing is largely
the result of sustained public investment, and characterised by
Infrastructure of support for dance
Internationally acclaimed artists,
wealth of dance styles, and cultural diversity.
Innovative productions for public
spaces, videos and new media.
Wealth of professional education
and community work, the growing application of dance in the wider
Major professional training institutions
that attract students from across the world.
Leadership in healthier dance practice.
The Target Group Index shows an increase of
nearly 29% in audiences for dance, comparing the period 1990-91
to 1994-95 with 1995-96 to 1999-2000. Between 1999 and 2003, the
total UK audience for the five largest companies (Royal Ballet,
Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet
Theatre, Rambert Dance), grew by almost 10%. Dance attracts a
significant proportion of younger people and those from lower
Quality, diversity and collaboration
Performance standards have risen dramatically
in recent years, the diversity of dance is a major strength and
the profession is resourceful and entrepreneurial in collaborating
with others. Dance has close connections with music, sport, the
visual arts and theatre; different aspects of dance are experienced
in many walks of life.
Escapade, produced by the South Asian
Dance agency Akademi, involved 118 performers, ranging in age
from 11 to 75 years, dancing in the less attractive spaces around
the South Bank Centre, London. Attracting an audience of around
15,000, it re-positioned Indian arts in a contemporary British
context. Major sporting events use dance to celebrate their openings,
examples being the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the Sydney
Olympics, choreographed by UK based Lloyd Newson.
Organisations and Infrastructure
Dance is still building its critical
mass. Having grown dramatically since the 1960s, dance is newer
and smaller than its peer performing arts disciplines of music
and drama. While beginning to benefit from a building infrastructure,
as yet dance lacks the visibility provided by a network of buildings
equivalent to the concert halls, libraries, art galleries and
theatres that benefit other artforms.
Low levels of investment:
Local authority funding provided
an average of 4% of total organisation income for dance, compared
to 9% for all arts (Arts Council England Survey of Regularly Funded
Business invested £2 million
in dance, of a total investment in the arts of £99 million
(Arts and Business survey of Business Investment in the Arts 2001-02).
Commercially, dance does not lend
itself to mass reproduction. Dance is essential to commercial
products such as musicals, advertising and pop videos, but these
industries provide minimal investment in the artform.
Creating dance is expensive. All
dance companies produce new work, usually at least once a year.
Creating dance requires a group of dancers working with the choreographer
in a studio. It can take a day to create one minute of dance.
The dancer's day must start with a dance class, and injury prevention
treatment is essential.
Touring is expensive. Only The Royal
Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet have home theatres, and share
these with other artforms. Larger companies normally perform in
a theatre for a week; smaller ones may be booked for a single
performance so increasing costs and limiting opportunities to
build audiences. A few key promoters programme dance with energy
and commitment, and consortia of theatres are emerging. It is
possible to see dance performances in many parts of the country
on any night of the year, although such opportunities are fewer
than for music or theatre. Evidence shows that dance attracts
many first-time attenders, who then return to see other arts events
in the same venue so benefiting the venue more than the company.
Increased employment costs. It is
estimated that the increase in National Insurance contributions
will cost the arts some £9 million annually. Most dancers
cease performing in their mid-30s, and the larger companies contribute
to The Dancers Pension Scheme and to career transition provision.
Poor job security. Only a few companies
provide full-year contracts to dancers. Most dancers juggle portfolio
careers, combining dancing with teaching and other work. Some
also move between the subsidised arts and commercial musicals,
for example Bombay Dreams and The Lion King.
Low pay. It is not uncommon for dancers
in full-time work and at the peak of their performing career to
earn less than £23,000 annually. Pay is also an issue in
recruiting and retaining experienced managers. There is a will
to improve this situation, but financial constraints inhibit the
capacity to act.
The Place is the home of Contemporary Dance
Trust, UK's leading centre for contemporary dance, and created
The Place Prize in 2004. It will provide £100,000 for new
dance work and attracted 178 applications from choreographers,
23% being from British Ethnic Minority groups, who all submitted
a three-minute DVD. Dance promoters, including 30 from across
Europe, selected the shortlist of 20, and the audience will decide
the final prizes.
Bloomberg was attracted to sponsor The Place
Prize by the creativity of the idea, its potential profile and
its benefits for the wider dance ecology.
Arts Council England Dance Policy
Arts Council England is the only agency charged
with responsibility for policy and public investment for the development
of dance as an artform. The dance department was established in
1979. Since then, and within the financial resources available,
the approach to developing dance has been to balance:
to the vision and energy of dance artists, nurturing their creativity,
experiment and professional development.
Audience provisionchoice of
high quality, adventurous dance product and opportunities to engage
with dance as audiences and participants.
working conditions, education and training, geographic and demographic
spread, partnerships, public perception of dance.
Siobhan Davies CBE is one of the UK's leading
choreographers. A dancer with London Contemporary Dance Company
from the 1970s, she established her own company in 1988. She collaborates
with musicians and visual artists, and recently toured the critically
acclaimed Bird Song that re-defined the relationship between
artists and audience. Her concern for supporting the development
of dancers motivated her to establish a building base in Southwark,
which has been awarded £3.2 million from the Arts Council's
Capital Programme and has raised almost £1 million in partnership
Over the last 25 years Arts Council England
investment in dance has achieved:
Growth in the number and kinds of
dance companies, from 7 in 1970 to 40 in 2004. Last year, a further
45 companies received Grants for the Arts funding for production
projects. Early support for Matthew Bourne's Adventures in Motion
Pictures in the 1980s, provided the foundation for his subsequent
commercial success with new productions such as his all-male Swan
Dance buildings through the Arts
Capital Programme, including the new Laban Centre that won the
Stirling Prize for architecture last year, The Royal Opera House,
Sadler's Wells Theatre, and Birmingham Hippodrome providing a
home for Birmingham Royal Ballet and DanceXchange. Work in progress
includes a new home for Northern Ballet Theatre and Phoenix Dance
in Leeds, for Dance City in Newcastle and DanceEast in Ipswich.
New kinds of arts provision: community
dance practitioners delivering dance participation and performance
locally; National Dance Agencies providing local activity, national
centres of excellence and a network for dance production and distribution;
choreographer-led production companies.
Improved working conditions, through
better studio and performance spaces, healthier dance practice
and the Dancers Pension Scheme, established in partnership with
the larger dance companies and Equity.
Strengthening the position of culturally
diverse dance. In 2003-04, 11% of dance expenditure on regularly
funded organisations supported this area, compared to the 9% of
the population who are from British Ethnic Minority groups. The
South Asian diaspora looks to the UK for leadership and innovation,
and internationally acclaimed CandoCo Dance is a world-leader
in integrating dancers with and without disabilities.
Dance and new media. The Dance for
the Camera programme has run for over 10 years and given rise
to initiatives with broadcasters such as Dance 4, Capture and
Dance Film Academy with the BBC and the Scottish Arts Council.
New distribution networks for dance film are being developed and
UK dance films regularly win international awards. Other uses
for new technologies are emerging, such as software for dancers.
Resources for education. Including
the work of funded dance companies and Set Steps that has created
two films, of works by Akram Khan and Henri Oguike, that have
become set studies for GCSE and A-level dance examinations.
Launched in August 2000, the Company shot to
international fame within 18 months. Arts Council England investment
of just under £160,000 in 2004-05 will result in partnership
funding of over £400,000 and a world-wide audience of around
Arts Council England investment is critically
important to dance. The 2001-02 survey of organisations showed
it accounted for 43% of total income, across all art forms it
Comparing data across a constant sample of dance
organisations over the previous four years shows earned income
has increased from 31% to 43% and contributed income grew from
6% to 10%. These indicative trends show a broadening of support
for dance, and that increased public investment is levering funds
from a range of sources.
Created as three pilot agencies in 1990, National
Dance Agencies were a new kind of arts organisationflexible,
dynamic, entrepreneurial and providing quality dance experiences
for the community and the profession in the same space, at the
same time and with equal status.
By 2002 the network of nine agencies were achieving
a great deal. In that year, they commissioned 68 new dance works,
provided 450 professional performances in 183 different venues
to an audience of over 85,000. Their education and community programmes
involved almost 300,000 people in 600 venues. Audiences and participants
together represented a subsidy of £4.78 per attendance. Arts
Council England contributed around £1.7 million to their
combined turnover in excess of £6 million. Examples of significant
initiatives include Swindon's DansConnect apprentice company
creating performances for young people, Birmingham's Bare Bones
making dance for small spaces, and Dance East's Rural Retreats
bringing together for the first time 26 artistic directors of
international ballet companies.
Arts Council England believes dance makes a
significant contribution to the lives of young people. Education
is the only way to ensure all young people have access to relevant,
high-quality dance experience and to learning in, through and
about dance. The position of dance in education is precarious
and fragmented. It does not attract the kind of policy attention,
resources and status that benefit music and visual art.
Despite this, dance is attracting increasing
interest in both arts and sports specialist colleges, and in entrants
to examinations in dance. Arts Council England manages Artsmark,
achieved by over 1,700 schools. To qualify, schools need to dedicate
a minimum amount of time to dance and provide out-of-hours dance
opportunities. The Arts Council's arts and education initiative,
Creative Partnerships, has brokered dance projects in Cornwall
and Sunderland with Random Dance, in dance from South Africa,
Japan, Brazil and Maori dance in Slough, and with 500 young people
aged from 3 to 19 working with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
The National Dance Teachers Association has
proved effective in providing resources, professional development
and knowledge exchange for schools. It operates as a voluntary
organisation with no staff, and has the potential to be even more
effective and productive in return for investment in its organisational
Only since the mid-1990s have aspiring professional
dancers been eligible for Department for Education and Skills
funding for their training. The first Conservatoire for Dance
and Drama was established last year. Higher education contributes
to developing academic understanding and practice with graduates
gaining employment mainly in dance management, teaching and development.
Ensuring young people are able to progress and
reach their potential in dance requires clear pathways from first
access, to deepening interest and support for the most talented.
Work has begun on building the framework, through collaborations
between Arts Council England, the Department for Culture, Media
and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills.
This Department for Education and Skills scheme
provides funding for talented young people to attend specialist
boarding schools. In partnership with Arts Council England and
the dance and music professions, the need to increase geographical
spread and genres has been identified. Complementary models of
advanced training for exceptionally talented young dancers and
musicians aged 11 to 18 years are developing. Provision will be
selective, child-centred and provided locally. The first two dance
pilots will be in Leeds, combining the expertise of Northern Ballet
Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Phoenix Dance,
and in London at the London School of Contemporary Dance. Plans
are in place to extend provision across the country in coming
London Contemporary Dance School is introducing
a South Asian dance route in 2004, beyond this there are limited
training opportunities in culturally diverse dance forms or for
dancers with disabilities. CandoCo Dance is an internationally
acclaimed contemporary dance company and a world leader in integrating
dancers with and without disabilities. The Company established
CanDo 2 to provide initial experience and training for young people
and is now working with the Dance and Drama Awards scheme as part
of its initiative to establish appropriate provision for young
people with disabilities.
The future of dance is dependent on identifying
and nurturing talent, providing clear pathways for progression
through to training and employment. Years of diminishing discretionary
funding for training positioned a dance career as unobtainable
for many. Happily, this is now changing, and the "Billy Elliott"
effect has been a positive boost. It is essential that dance careers
are equally progressive and sustainable if we are to fulfil our
promise to young talent and to the potential of dance in society.
Balancing infrastructure and artistic development
A positive start has been made in building the
dance infrastructure of studios, education and training provision
and development organisations, and more will be done as additional
resources become available. We need to turn our attention to raising
artistic ambition and the capacity to take risks.
Visibility and profile
We need to increase the visibility of dance,
through encouraging new ways of programming, creating more dance
product for specific audiences and unusual settings, developing
the network of dance buildings and promoting the values of dance
in the wider social agenda.
Sustainable careers and diversity
We need to work harder to promote sustainable
careers in dance, particularly for artists and managers, and ensure
our artists of the future better reflect the geographic, demographic
and cultural diversity of the population. The majority of dance
organisations are micro-businesses, so offer limited opportunities
to develop leaders.
Developing pathways for young people has been
greatly assisted by improved working across government departments.
Notably, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has initiated
and championed several key developments in this area. A significant
barrier remains as dance is rarely on the radar of those most
directly concerned in developing and implementing policy in the
areas of health, social inclusion and justice. Recently, the DCMS
has seconded an officer to Arts Council England specifically to
develop the area of arts and health. We are confident that this
will help to improve the situation.
Space for dance
We need to continue providing spaces for dance
to ensure geographic spread and address gaps in, for example,
culturally diverse dance, for the pool of freelance dancers who
sustain the major part of contemporary dance production, and in
the standard of facilities available to some of our major companies.
Key to ensuring the world-class reputation of
dance in the UK is the ability of Arts Council England to build
the capacity of our regularly funded organisations, bring on new
talent at the appropriate moment in its development and encourage
a wide range of artistic experiment and local dance activity.
Any reduction in investment at this stage would seriously undermine
the achievements of recent years.
Dance has potential benefits for health, active
lifestyles, regeneration and social cohesion.
Dance Included is taking dance to young
people at risk in Middlesbrough, young offenders in East London,
older people in Plymouth, homeless people in Kings Cross and Wetherby
Young Offenders Institution. Motionhouse dance company is working
with long-term inmates and officers at HMP Dovegate over 20 months,
to develop skills and reinforce positive attitudes and behaviour
through dance. Performances for peer groups extend the impact
of this work beyond the participants themselves. Research and
publicity will demonstrate the values of dance in the wider social
agenda, based on evidence.
Dance has re-invented itself for the 21st century
in its contemporary diversity of style, meaning, social benefit
and cultural relevance. This has largely been a result of the
creativity and entrepreneurialism of dance artists and practitioners,
nurtured by sustained public investment. With an enviable international
reputation, growing public interest and increasing support from
a widening range of sources, there has never been a better time
to invest in dance.
Recent increases in Arts Council England's grant
have enabled us to increase core direct investment in dance. This
is a positive start in addressing previous years of standstill
and cuts, but the task is far from complete. Priorities for additional
funding would be:
Career Developmentto ensure
dance careers are progressive and rewarding, and to ensure that
dance can recruit and retain the talent that is essential to its
future creativity and effectiveness, there is an urgent need to
bring pay more in line with other graduate careers. Implementing
this requires a step-change in funding levels specifically for
National Choreographic Hubvarious
organisations provide choreographic training and development opportunities.
Provision is fragmented and lacks coherence, and too often pathways
from experiment to public presentation are unclear. A national
choreographic hub would provide a mechanism for addressing these
issues, raise artistic ambition and the capacity to take risk.
Dance and Healththere is a
significant body of anecdotal evidence to show the benefits of
dance in health. More needs to be done to demonstrate the specific
and special benefits, and extend the delivery, of dance in a range
of health contexts.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF DANCE AS AN ARTFORM
Dance is one of the oldest means of human expression.
Since the 1960s new styles and purposes have made dance artistically
vibrant, and more culturally relevant than at any time since we
were dubbed "the dancing English" in the 16th Century.
Ballet became established in England from the
1920s and became increasingly popular through the 1940s. The Arts
Council of Great Britain supported Sadler's Wells Ballet (now
The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet), Ballet Rambert
(now Rambert Dance) and Ballets Jooss when it was first established
During the 1960s an increasing number of contemporary
dance forms took root, notably through London Contemporary Dance
Trust (The Place) embracing training, education and production
within a single organisation. Ballet Rambert re-invented itself
as a contemporary dance ensemble, and an increasing number of
dance artists developed new forms of expression and distribution.
From the 1970s a new breed of arts practitioner
developed, the dance animateur. Based in a specific locality they
provided and promoted classes, workshops, youth dance groups,
training and performances, and provided the foundation for the
establishment of National Dance Agencies in the 1990s.
Choreographer-led dance companies grew in number
and the first Dance Umbrella Festival took place in 1988. A wider
range of companies and organisations became established, including
those working in classical, traditional and contemporary South
Asian and African Peoples' Dance forms and involving dancers with
disabilities. Regionally based companies developed, some presenting
a repertoire of works by different choreographers and some, for
example Ludus in Lancaster, focused on dance in education.
As the sector grew and diversified, the need
for professional organisations to provide information, networking,
professional development and advocacy also grew, leading to the
establishment of artist and practitioner led organisations such
as Dance UK and the Foundation for Community Dance in the 1980s.
In its contemporary diversity, dance is adventurous
and innovative, and standards of physical performance have risen
dramatically in recent years. UK companies perform styles that
range through ballet, South Asian dance, African dance, contemporary
and hip-hop, reflecting the growing diversity and dynamism of
contemporary society. Almost all subsidised companies provide
dance education and participatory activity alongside their performance
work, the continuum between artistic excellence and access is
embodied in the same organisation, and often in the same individual.
Dancing is one of the most popular recreational
activities; people dance for fun, inspiration, learning and recreation,
and dance is increasingly recognised as valuable in social justice,
inclusion and regeneration contexts. Dance can be seen in theatres,
art galleries, musicals, film, opera and between the programmes
on BBC1. It sells healthcare products, building societies and
clothing, opened the Commonwealth Games and animates public spaces
as diverse as the Natural History Museum, Tate, the British Museum
and Canary Wharf Station.
London enjoys a rare choice of dance every night
of the year. Alongside the permanent presence of The Royal Ballet,
there is the more experimental work of ROH2. Sadler's Wells is
London's major dance theatre, presenting the best of UK and international
dance companies. The Peacock Theatre presents popular work while
the Barbican presents the more esoteric, and The Place Theatre
and the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank present cutting
edge work. The National Theatre presents musicals and the hugely
successful Play Without Words. Each Autumn the Dance Umbrella
Festival creates a special excitement, and last year included
commissioning Merce Cunningham to create a new work for Tate Modern.
London's musicals are a significant factor in attracting tourists.
ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND SPENDING ON DANCE 2003-04 REGULAR
||Amount||% of total
|National Dance Agencies||8
London Contemporary Dance Trust includes the Richard
Alston Dance Company and The Place National Dance Agency in the
same grant, which is included in Companies.
National Dance Agencies combine participation,
production and promotion and form a national network for the creation
and distribution of dance.
Other Dance Agencies combine participation and
professional dance activities.
National Umbrella Organisations are Dancers Career
Development, Dance UK and the Foundation for Community Dance.
Promoters and Managers include Sadler's Wells
Theatre and independent dance managers.
|Over £1 million||6
|less than £100,000||21
FURTHER £6.9 MILLION: