Dance mapping A window on dance
A window on danceThe Dance mapping research, , offers a deep insight into the breadth and range of dance
work now happening in England. It offers a snapshot of our funding over the period 2004–2008 and paints a vivid picture
of how what the Arts Council funds impacts on the wider world of dance. It will provide a well of material for us to draw
on as we shape our ambitions for dance, and will also provide useful material for the dance world as a whole.
What struck me from the report is the amount of things dance related that are going on. I see that the sector is growing,
I see real achievement by dance organisations, by choreographers, and by thousands of practitioners in all aspects
Behind all this we must remember what makes dance special. It‟s something people do, it‟s something people get excited
about, it can be a universal and yet highly technical language that people respond to at a deep level. It can change
attitudes and change the world, as the best art can. Two personal memories support this.
A few months ago I had one of the most privileged evenings of my life. I had dinner following a performance with Pina
Bausch and members of her company in Wuppertal, Germany. The talk was about Chile, where the company had been
and was hosted by Joan Jara, the British widow of singer Victor Jara, murdered in the 1973 coup, and who had trained as
a dancer with Kurt Jooss. Under the Allende government she had been involved with bringing dance into Chile‟s school system. The company had explored the reality of Chile today and what had emerged from its painful – and still living –
history. I was under no doubt that a great and profound work of art would emerge from this, saying something universal
that only dance can say – a combination of the physical, intellectual and emotional depths dance can draw from experience and ideas.
Just over a month after I made this visit, I was devastated to hear that Pina Bausch had tragically passed away. But her
legacy will live on. The impact she had made on artists and audiences in England and across the world is unique and will
not be forgotten.
Closer to home, in July 2005 following the bombings in London, I was working with a government minister on the
aftermath – on that day I had been to all the bomb sites, to a support centre we had established and to the mortuary.
Zero DegreesThat evening I went to the premiere of Akram Khan‟s. The combination of movement, music, thought
and humanity I experienced that evening helped me make sense of a day that had challenged my fundamental views of
humanity and frankly what the point of everything was. It spoke to me about connecting and about what it is to be a person.
That‟s what dance can do.
So, I‟m clear that dance is a key part of the Arts Council‟s mission, „great art for everyone‟. I want our dance companies,
practitioners and choreographers to be the best they can be. I want to enable them to make amazing, difficult, baffling or
joyous art. I want people to be able to do dance, to understand it, to encourage and revere our dancers and dance
companies as they should, and to will them to do more. I want what we do in dance to reflect the diversity of the country
we are – and to use all the talents we have, whether in the principle roles in ballet or any other dance form. Talent should
out and express itself. More than anything, dance should reflect who we are and who we want to be. And should say it on
a world stage as well as a domestic one.
I know we have things to do – we always will have, in all artforms. What encourages me reading this document is that dance is at a stage where it has a certain level of presence and confidence on which we can build. The marvellous and
the beautiful is with us, and it looks possible we can have more, and even better in the future. Some of the challenges are
complex, but if we keep our eye on the distant goal we can get there.
Thank you to Susanne Burns and Sue Harrison for leading this work on our behalf and to everyone working in dance who
contributed to the report, whether providing data or giving their time to discuss the many issues addressed by the research.
Everyone‟s contribution is greatly appreciated.
Chief Executive, Arts Council England
A response from the Director, Dance Strategy
This report is an important milestone for dance. It gives us a chance to understand the ecology, environment and
economics of dance with much firmer evidence than we have had in the past. It is „a window on dance‟, which can be looked through in many directions: helping to inform the dance eld‟s planning and decision-making, and refreshing Arts ﬁ
Council England‟s perspective on a form that has changed rapidly over a relatively short period of time.
All of the findings in this executive summary are backed up by evidence in the full report which you can access at
The report, although it contains plenty of ideas, did not set out to firm up recommendations in relation to future strategy.
What it has done is confirm an artform in growth, which is increasingly operating in a mixed economy context.
And it celebrates the extraordinary achievements of the many and varied talents of choreographers, performers,
teachers and community dance artists working across the UK and increasingly into Europe and the wider world as well.
Audiences are increasing, albeit from a small base. Dance is widening its presence in theatres and galleries as well as
exceeding all expectation through the work of dance houses such as Sadler‟s Wells, and venues such as the Lowry and
the Birmingham Hippodrome. A new generation of young artists is starting to emerge through the centres for advanced
training (CATs) and through the work of organisations such as Youth Dance England. Popular culture has brilliantly
Strictly Come DancingBritain’s Got Talent,Billy helped to raise the profile of dance. TV shows such as and as well as
Elliot the Musical, have captured the public‟s imagination. As a consequence more people are dancing and classes are
full in many places across the country. Dance has moved out of theatres onto the streets, into site-specific locations, pubs
and clubs, interconnecting with physical theatre, aerial work and new circus. Alongside all this,our traditional forms of
dance, such as Morris and Rapper Sword dance, continue to thrive.
There are a number of important factors that will need to be taken into consideration as Arts Council England moves
towards developing a national arts strategy. Diversity is clearly emerging as a major priority on a number of different
levels. There is a need to widen understanding of the many and varied different kinds of dance that now make up the
dance field, influenced by the social and demographic richness of British society, and by other artforms. Dance needs
to celebrate and respect its differences, and not see them as barriers to mutual cooperation. And although shifting,
leadership within dance and the make up of the dance workforce is not diverse enough.
Like theatre, dance needs to develop new approaches to touring to ensure that audiences countrywide have access to high quality work, touring companies and venues are able to plan ahead strategically and the Arts Council‟s investment
is applied where it has most impact. Relationships between choreographers, dance companies and theatres could be strengthened to better foster an environment within which dance can flourish.
Almost 48 per cent of dance artists live and work in London and the south east. Although this reflects population figures, there are still parts of the country with patchy access to dance, and this needs to be addressed.
The report shows Arts Council funding matched by significant investment from other sources, including local authorities, private sector funding, trusts and foundations, all of which is starting to drive new levels of earned income. But there is undoubtedly more that could be done to share the bank of knowledge building up around this funding mix. More networked approaches to development could accelerate opportunities for dance both within the dance field and the wider creative industries.
Dance needs to generate the confidence to value itself and position itself assertively. Perhaps more so than other artforms, there is a hidden economy within the dance field. Artists and producers will often elect to work for nothing or very little, in order to get things done. It should not be acceptable for talented people to rely on passion alone to fuel their
work. We have many outstanding dance leaders working in the field. Unfortunately many choose to leave to pursue more realistic career options. We should be recognising and supporting them to build and diversify opportunity for dance, fostering their development and providing incentives for them to both work themselves and provide work for others. Underpinning this, a better understanding of how to work with boards needs to be developed, to maximise expertise held by volunteer directors who are an invaluable but sometimes untapped resource.
Dance is a highly trained profession and yet the bleak reality is that personal earnings from dance continue to be low. The skill sets required to grow a more effective dance workforce need to be reviewed. Training provision should be adapted to generate more entrepreneurs, producers and leaders, as dance graduates need to become employers and educators as well as performers and dance makers.
Despite operating in this challenging environment, the visibility of British dance is increasing. Artists like Hofesh Shechter,
Akram Khan, DV8 Physical Theatre and Wayne McGregor Random Dance are in demand on a global level. Dance has |
developed an approach to innovation which, particularly in the field of youth and community dance, is envied worldwide. But we need to find better ways of encouraging and inspiring new talent to emerge as well as supporting mature artists to continue to work and develop their audiences.
The Arts Council acknowledges that dance needs more investment. Dance has never had significant additional investment to develop itself as an artform. It might be challenging in a recession context to achieve this in the short term. But it feels important to put a marker down for the future, as and when the opportunity presents itself.
Even without new money, dance could undoubtedly do better within existing grant schemes than it currently does. One simple strategy must be to support dance artists to increase their potential to successfully apply for funding, both from the Arts Council and from other funding distributors.
The Cultural Olympiad presents a major opportunity to achieve greater recognition for dance. It is already a major focus for the Legacy Trust programme in London, through Big Dance; the West Midlands, through People Dancing; and Yorkshire, through imove. But if it is really to succeed in making an impact, the field needs to work as one, embracing the parts of the sports sector involved in movement and physical activity as well as dance performance
and community dance.
In November 2008, Alan Davey urged arts organisations „to be bold and ambitious, to surprise even more and not retreat
into the “safe”‟. The Dance mapping research is a call to do just that. We hope the dance field will use relevant sections to
inform its own strategies and plans over the coming years. We will use it to feed into future Arts Council strategies which
will inform our investment decisions to ensure „great dance for everyone‟.
So what’s next?
The themes outlined in this summary along with other areas for development will be discussed with the dance sector
throughout September and October 2009 as part of the process of developing priorities for dance, within the overall
context of our new national arts strategy. We are also publishing a companion piece to the mapping report,
Joining up the dots, focusing on dance agencies. It is likely we will produce similar think pieces on other areas of dance provision in the future.
We would like to hear your views on all of this work. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Later on this year, our draft national arts strategy will go out for public consultation before we publish it in 2010.
I want to add my thanks to Alan‟s, to everyone who has participated in this study. Especially to the steering group, and to
all the Arts Council officers who have worked tirelessly to collate data and proof this report. I also want to offer a heartfelt
big thank you to all the politicians, policy makers and stakeholders who have supported dance so generously in its very
many guises across the country. Most of all, however, I want to thank the dancers and choreographers, teachers,
producers and managers who are the lifeblood of the extraordinary dance field that has developed and which continues
to develop across England today. Without the vision, drive and commitment of everyone working in dance, this report
would not exist.
Director, Dance Strategy
Arts Council England
A window on dance creates a picture of the dance field. It maps the dance ecology, economy and environment, and its various market segments and identifies trends and patterns, challenges and opportunities. It is the most significant
compilation of evidence-based dance research and has been undertaken at a crucial stage for dance in England.
Although commissioned by Arts Council England, it has been developed from the onset in collaboration with the dance
field. This research is for the field not only about it. It has sought to identify key facts and can now inform future direction
It is published at a time of high achievement for dance. England is a world leader in choreography and participatory
dance through community and youth dance. Government is supportive of the extrinsic value of dance and recognises
the need to also support its intrinsic value.
Dance is a growing market made up of many components: production and touring companies, commercial producers,
the network of agencies and local authorities that provide regular informal provision, as well as the informal and formal
education sectors (which include the private sector, schools, further and higher education, the health sector, and the
criminal justice system). The dance field also includes other public bodies that engage dance as part of their work and
the commercial sector, which includes broadcast, film and television, the music industry, fashion and computer game
development. Digitisation offers further opportunities and new digital media forms are emerging.
Evidence suggests that the dance field is becoming increasingly entrepreneurial and its contribution to the overall
strength of the creative economy is growing. New business models are emerging and the field is engaging in more
and more collaborative work across the profit-making and non-profit sectors, with higher education and through
There is evidence of an ever-widening range of in-depth networks and partnerships evolving that are developing new
ways of delivering dance to audiences and developing the workforce. Collaborative structures are assisting the field in
ensuring that it is not a poor relation to other artforms. Sector-wide initiatives, such as Big Dance and the Cultural
Olympiad, are evidence of this.
A window on danceThe research for was undertaken in order to:
• generate a picture of the Arts Council‟s investment in dance over the period 2004–2008
• identify the impact of this on artistic development, engagement and other investment in dance
• identify trends in the dance ecology, economy and environment
• identify and understand the dynamic of the dance field and its various parts
Consultants Sue Harrison and Susanne Burns worked during 2008–2009 to analyse existing research and generate new research. The result is evidence of the significant impact of dance in this country and strengthens the position of the
The report refers to all forms of dance and is not genre specific. For the purposes of this report contemporary dance is
defined as all dance which is contemporaneous; that is dance made today. It offers an insight into the world and peoples‟
emotional and intellectual interaction and behaviour, through the language of the body. Contemporary choreographers
use a diverse mix of techniques in their work. They are often interdisciplinary and range from classical ballet,
modern dance, South Asian dance, dance from the African Diaspora, physical theatre, live art, hip hop and breakdance.
Contemporary dance can include work for theatre spaces, art galleries, outdoor and site-specific spaces in the public
realm. It is often incorporated into commercial dance. It has been used by the video game industry, and the wider
film and digital domain.
The report suggests that the dance field is strong and provision is growing. However demand is increasing and there are
some significant challenges that need to be confronted if dance is to move forward into the future with enhanced purpose
and strength. The primary research surveyed the dance workforce, local authorities and venues, and the challenges
being faced by these groups. It will require collective action between the profession and its stakeholders if the potential
of dance within a 21st-century society is to be realised.
This document summarises the six chapters at the heart of the full report, highlighting key findings.
In order to understand how to contextualise dance we need to generate a deeper understanding of the
political overall environment within which dance operates.
resource dependency within part of the dance field makes it vulnerable to political change, policy shifts, ?
and changes to the funding levels and regimes upon which they rely
in a recession the arts will be adversely affected as private investment declines and funding is diverted to other ?
areas within the economy
an increasing awareness of the extrinsic value of dance has led to greater appreciation of its value, but also an ?
increasing instrumentalismin its application. It is important that the intrinsic value of dance continues to be acknowledged
the 2004 House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee‟s report on dance increased political ?
awareness of how dance benefits society. This led to the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Group in 2006, chaired by Sir Gerald Kaufman MP. The group supported the Dance Manifesto produced by Dance UK and the National Campaign for the Arts in 2006
since 2004 dance has benefitted from new investment from the Department for Children, Schools and Families ?
through the Centres for Advanced Training (CATs). In 2008, after the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Dance Reviewpublished the (a report to government on dance education and youth dance in England by Tony
Hall), a Dance Programme Board was established to oversee the development of a national strategy for dance and young people, led by Youth Dance England
intercultural exchange, through touring and a multicultural workforce, benefits dance economically and ?
aesthetically. Changes to immigration legislation and visa systems could threaten this
the Cultural Olympiad presents a major opportunity for dance ?
the dance field is not exploiting its assets as fully as it could. The repertoire is not currently valued and intellectual ?
property is not capitalised upon. Neither is our position as a world leader in certain types of practice: for example, youth dance and community dance are well ahead of the rest of the world
This section of the report uses Arts Council England annual submissions and grant returns to examine
economy.trends in the subsidised sector. It also recognises dance‟s relationship to the wider creative
It is possible to see trends and shifts in the overall economy. These are useful to both the Arts Council
and to the dance eld to inform future strategy. ﬁ
the economic trends show an artform in growth, not only in the subsidised sector but also in the broadcasting and ?
there are currently 72 dance organisations that receive regular funding from the Arts Council: 23 in London; ?
19 across the Arts Council‟s North West, North East and Yorkshire regions; 20 in the Midlands and South West;
and 10 in the South East and East
regularly funded dance organisations currently constitute 10.78 per cent of Arts Council England‟s overall spend, ?
as compared to 1997/98 figures, where it was 12.44 per cent
dance operates within a mixed economy. Arts Council funding levers in significant investment from other sources ?
including local authorities, private sector funding, trusts and foundations and earned income. From 2004–2007,
Arts Council investment comprised 32 per cent of the total income of dance agencies, venues
and festivals, and 50 per cent of the total income of the producing and touring companies
funding structures have responded to changing demands by dance artists. The investment of over ?35 million ?
through Grants for the arts has made a difference to the economy of the sector although this only comprises 9
per cent of the total funds available through Grants for the arts in the years 2004–2008. Arts Council England has
invested ?116,350,744 in new buildings for dance in the years 2004–2008. Match funding raised through local
authorities, regional development agencies, trusts and foundations and individual donations totalled
the research highlights a need for greater partnership between choreographers, dance companies and venues. ?
local authorities are a significant partner for the Arts Council, particularly in supporting access and participation ?
work. There is, however, inconsistency in provision across the country
the dance field needs to engage more effectively with the private sector about the benefit of investment in dance ?
in order to increase private, corporate and individual giving
new business models continue to emerge in dance. Sharing these more effectively will stimulate innovation in ?
both arts and creative industry contexts
there is evidence of a transfer of dance work from the subsidised to the commercial sector ?
ecologyThe dance is best understood as being concerned with the professional and social interaction of the people who work together to make dance possible. The dance ecology is complex. Careers in dance are multifaceted, with
individuals engaging in „multiple job holding‟ and often working across sectors within the eld. This makes it challenging ﬁ
to quantify the workforce accurately.
the workforce is larger than previously estimated. Including people engaged in a voluntary capacity brings ?
estimates nearer to 40,000 in total. Those who teach make up the largest group within the workforce.
The workforce needs to be equipped with teaching, entrepreneurial and management skills alongside
performance and choreographic skills
the number of students on higher education programmes has increased by 97 per cent over the last five years. ?
The major focus for these courses is performance. In 2006/07 there were 3,645 dance undergraduates and
postgraduates. The number of students in further education and accredited vocational dance/musical theatre
training was 6,237; a total of 10,000 are in training in any one year
the workforce is slowly increasing its diversity, reflecting an artform interpreted through many different styles ?
and genres, beginning to be reflective of a multicultural society. Dance has led the way in integrated practice
existing workforce development interventions may not be generating a workforce fit for purpose. There are ?
significant skills gaps and distribution issues, suggesting underemployment in the context of the overall dance
there is evidence to suggest that some people develop careers in dance across a lifetime ?
the field has many outstanding leaders who should be recognised, valued and celebrated. Initiatives should be ?
developed to identify and develop the leaders of the future
almost half (49 per cent) of the workforce is concentrated in the south of England. This has an impact ?
on competition and creates skills shortages elsewhere
the workforce is highly educated but poorly paid; 62 per cent hold degrees. Of those who make a living through ?
dance 38 per cent earned ?5,000–?20,000 in 2008/09. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) earned under ?5,000
the low levels of pay affect the sustainability of careers, leadership within the sector and the ability of potential ?
key champions to emerge
workforce development should take into account the diversity of the field and adopt a more holistic approach ?
Digitisation can benet the arts in three main areas: the way work is made, the way it is distributed and reaches ﬁ
Technology audiences, and the way dance operates and networks. evolves quickly. Keeping up requires time,
dedication and resources. Dance has great potential to both contribute to and capitalise on the development of
forty-five per cent of the workforce engages with film, television, digital production, webcasting, and music video. ?
A small specialist group of artists are already world leaders in this field
dance has the opportunity, with its direct visual impact, to be innovative and cutting edge on the web. ?
Training and support are needed
the ability to network internationally and create work with partners through technology is an exciting opportunity, ?
expanding reach and impact nationally and internationally. Partnerships with higher education institutions are a
useful way of encouraging developments in these areas
partnerships with regional development agencies and regional screen agencies could be developed to support ?
dance businesses working across regions
companies need support to enable them to make high-quality material for marketing and distribution, ?
building new audiences and virtual collaborations
technology can democratise dance and the arts; with audiences, producers and creators creating work together ?
dance needs leadership in this area to provide a national overview and a better sense of development ?
opportunities. The field requires advocacy, creative and business support, and clear articulation of available
the power of broadcasting, social networking and new digital opportunities may open up new distribution ?
mechanisms for dance and enable new audiences to engage with the form