Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Terpsichore votes "Remain"

Jean-Marc Nattier

Tomorrow I will vote "Remain" and one of the reasons why I shall do so is that I care about the arts and creative industries in general and the performing arts and ballet in particular.

The case for Remain was made eloquently by members of the Creative Industries Federation in their briefing note Why is EU membership so important for the health of UK’s arts, creative industries and cultural education?  It was echoed  in Ismene Brown's article The Royal Ballet and Sadler’s Wells explain how Brexit will hurt dance 13 June 2016 and supported by Jessica Duchen's I'm IN, and here's why you should be too 25 May 2016 JDCMB which I mentioned in my own article Should we stay or should we go? 30 May 2016.

Much of the steam for the Leave campaign has been generated by concern about immigration. There is some outright xenophobia in that sentiment but I believe that it is mainly a worry about shortages of housing, healthcare, education and other public services which could be overcome with proper planning and resourcing.

For the arts, free movement of labour is essential.  Let me give just one example. Earlier this month the Scottish Ballet delighted audiences throughout Scotland and the North of England with David Dawson's Swan Lake (see Empire Blanche: Dawson's Swan Lake 4 June 2016). Dawson was born in London and trained at Tring Park and the Royal Ballet School but he has spent much of his career with the Dutch National Ballet where he is now an associate artists. He is not the only Brit there. The company's artistic director is Matthew Rowe who is another Londoner (in fact as there is a reference to him in the latest issue of The Pauline he may even have attended my old school).

Conversely many of Scottish Ballet's finest dancers come from France: Constance Deverney recently promoted to principal, Sophie Martin, Marge Hendrick, and Laura Joffre to name just a few. The same is true of our other leading companies. Where would the Royal Ballet be without Laura Morera or Federico Bonelli? The Birmingham Royal Ballet without Koen Kessels?  English National Ballet without Tamara Rojo or Alina Cojocaru?

There are dancers from the EU also in our splendid regional companies like Giuliano Contadini and Kevin Poeung with Northern Ballet and Allegra Vianello and Andrea Battagia with Ballet Cymru. I could go on.

Those artists delight us. Let's continue to make them feel welcome tomorrow.

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