Tuesday, 8 January, 2013
Tuesday, 29 May, 2012
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2012, for us at least, started with some trouble after we published a piece that suggested Resolution, The Place's annual new-dance bun fight, could probably do with an overhaul. Funding the choreographers that take part was one of our suggestions.
Some readers disagreed though with one in particular saying;
"If you want to patronize, ridicule and insult those choreographers works, then i suppose you are entitled to your own opinion, but your poisonous - and frankly bitchy - wording that you seem to use, almost constantly, on your articles only support the downward spiral of support for young emerging artists."
So, a good start to the year then and nice to know we are playing a big part in destruction of support for new artists.
Right on the heels of that was a review, of sorts, of the Ballet Boyz lamentable attempt at documentary film making as they got their fledgling dance company off the ground. It was all a bit self involved, pointless and, in parts, probably made up. This time the majority of reader comments and emails agreed.
Little did we know that the "Boyz" would be back in our sights, for much the same reasons, just 11 short months later.
February saw Janet Smith, the venerable AD of Scottish Dance Theatre, move to her new post at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. The move was accompanied by much cheering and swiftly followed by many a puzzled expressions as her replacement at Scottish Dance Theatre was revealed as one Fleur Darkin. The jury remains in deliberations as Ms Darkin embarks on her first tour in charge very soon.
In March we had some fun on Twitter. As those who follow us will be only too aware we do love a bit of heckling from the back. This time it was the vapid Digital Capacity Building project so beloved of ACE and those that directly benefit from it.
One of those beneficiaries is Marcus Romer, AD of Pilot Theatre, who decided to respond to our heckling by calling us "bullies" and "trolls". TheImp™ was having none of it and delivered a swift and decisive verbal beating and all was right in the universe again.
Freedom of expression just doesn't cut it for some apparently.
ENO Foot in Mouth
The month of March also brought one of our most comprehensive pieces when we tackled low pay for dancers at the English National Opera.
Throughout our investigation what struck us more than anything was how little anybody actually cared that this situation existed at all. Neither ENO, Equity or ACE could summon a coherent answer to any of the questions we put to them.
It takes a particularly kind of mendacity to try and justify low wages being paid by an organisation that has millions in subsidy and even more millions in surplus funds.
Dance UK finally got the National Institute for Dance Medicine off the ground in May with the opening of a new clinic at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. It's a slow start for sure and funding cuts are not making it any easier. We'll have more in the new year for a follow up on how it's doing.
DIGIC Say What Again?
For our May feature piece on The Space (an ACE/BBC project that's supposed to bring the arts to the masses via the internet) we highlighted the massive and completely unnecessary amount of money the funding monolith was lavishing on their pet projects.
TheImp™ later highlighted the "Betrayal" of the arts in general by both DanceXchange and Dance East who had made the two most expensive pieces for The Space and then declined to talk about what they had spent all the money on.
It was pretty much 'The United States of Nobody Gives a Sh*t' all over again.
A theme that continued in our piece 'The Royal Ballet's Women' that highlighted the complete lack of top tier opportunities for women in dance. The Royal Ballet prompted the piece with their new show 'Titian' that featured no women in choreographic or creative roles.
It transpired that Monica Mason, the RB's former AD, hadn't bothered to hire a female dance maker even once during her tenure and the company in general hadn't bothered with a female dance maker for over 13 years.
Again, ACE said nothing, Monica Mason waffled and the dance world in general remained unsurprised and shrugged.
August came with the very sad news that Nigel Charnock had passed away after a very short illness. Mr Charnock was one of the most vibrant dance makers/theatre directors in the business and his passing came as a shock to many. Watch the complete un-edited video we did with him, you won't regret it.
As we strolled into November something very reassuring came our way. A man called Peter S. Phillips (who just happens to work for ACE) told everybody in the arts that all would be well. Don't worry about cuts to funding because philanthropic giving, championed by ACE and the government at large, was an "infinite" resource.
Either Mr Phillips doesn't know what infinite means or he's fallen down and hit his head on something hard. This man's babbling theories were swiftly put down by TheImp™.
With that we come full circle back to the Ballet Boyz who decided, against whatever practical and legal advice they may receive, to publish a ridiculously exploitative image of their own dancers.
When challenged by TheLab™ the old "boyz" said the whole thing "wasn't a story" and they would like it very much if we would leave them alone. Unluckily for them they don't get to decide what we think is a story. The image was removed, they remained tight lipped and the Ballet Boyz remains a completely ridiculous entity.
Following a two week stint in Oslo for the Coda Oslo International Dance Festival we put together a short form documentary on a dance education project. Delivered between the UK's 2 Faced Dance Company and Oslo's Panta Rei Danseteater it's the perfect example of why dance education is important and why the arts "matter".
With funding cuts and the continued nonsensical behaviour of ACE there has never been a more uncertain time to be in the arts. As ever, you get the feeling that everybody, apart from a chosen few, are hanging on by their fingertips to keep the whole thing working.
2013 will be, if nothing else, interesting.