Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Leeds Dance Partnership

Standard YouTube Licence

On the very day that Northern Ballet's Artistic Director, David Nixon, addressed the London Ballet Circle, Arts Council England announced that it had granted £750,000 to Northern Ballet out of its "Ambition for Excellence" fund "to support the creation of the Leeds Dance Partnership." This is a £35.2 million fund to support
"Audio-visual, broadcast and transmission, commissioning, digital creation, exhibition, festival, original work, performance, production."
It is a rolling programme from 28 May 2015 to 27 Oct 2017 which is open to National Portfolio Organizations. museums and consortiums.

Northern Ballet is a National PortfolioOrganization as I mentioned in How Arts Council England supports Dance 10 Oct 2015. In that article, I noted that the Arts Council had recommended "dance hubs" to be developed in Birmingham and Leeds. As regards Leeds the Arts Council observed:
"Leeds has the potential to become a major regional dance centre. We suggested that Northern Ballet should work with Phoenix, Leeds City Council, Yorkshire Dance and others to explore how they might work collaboratively to build a broad dance culture in Leeds, capable of increasing audiences and attracting and retaining talent in the city."
Northern Ballet seems to have acted upon that recommendation for it held the event that was recorded in the video on 12 April 2016.

In conjunction with Burns Associates, a steering committee which included Mark Skipper of Northern Ballet and Sharon Watson of Phoenix applied for funding for the partnership. The committee set out its objectives in Leeds Dance Partnership A step change for dance in the north Update September 2016:
  • "Better and more work made in Leeds and the north and toured elsewhere; 
  • Better and more work toured into Leeds and the north; 
  • More diverse audiences and participants watching, owning, co-curating and taking part in dance."
Will it work?  I fervently hope so but it will not be easy.  Leeds's population is significantly smaller than Birmingham's.

One of the problems of state funding for the arts in the way that it exists in the UK is that the funding agency looks at the arts from the producer's point of view rather than the audience's. That is entirely the wrong end of the telescope.  If you want to create a market for an art form you start where the market actually is and not where the creators would like it to be.  It is, after all, the public that pays for the arts whether as patrons or taxpayers and public generosity is not unlimited.  As the economy enters post-Brexit uncertainty how much longer an organization created by Lord Keynes can continue in a post-Keynesian age.

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