Dance mapping

By Samantha Lane,2014-05-13 16:09
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Dance mapping

    Dance mapping A window on dance


Susanne Burns

    Sue Harrison


    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 20042008 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

    of dance.

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.

Alan Davey

    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

    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

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.

Janet Archer

    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

    and strategy.

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

    international partnerships.

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 20042008

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 20082009 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

    dance field.

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.

    Key Findings:

     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.

Key Findings:

     the economic trends show an artform in growth, not only in the subsidised sector but also in the broadcasting and ?

    commercial sectors

     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 20042007,

    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 20042008. Arts Council England has

    invested ?116,350,744 in new buildings for dance in the years 20042008. 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

    to quantify the workforce accurately.

Key Findings:

     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


    disability work

     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

    from dance

     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 ?

    to solutions


    Digitisation can benet the arts in three main areas: the way work is made, the way it is distributed and reaches

    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

    new technologies.

Key Findings:

     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

    funding streams

     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

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