For a nation with so much information at our finger tips it pains me that we as a population know so little. Neil Nisbet's latest editorial is a god send to many as it actually explains what is going on in the world of politics right now but for every person that moans about not receiving funding or enough opportunities I do wonder how many actually understand this.
Most of the dancers I know (a ridiculously large amount) did not even vote. They didn't see the point. WHY?? Why are there people walking around with a BA Hons in Dance when they don't have an overall perspective of how the sector functions? I remember having to debate with people in my graduating year as to why there should be a written element to our degree course (the word degree to me naturally says it all) but surely knowing about the origins of ballet is less valuable than how to respond and build the current sector.
Yes, it is up to us as individuals to find research and understand information. However, as an aspiring dancer where between waitressing, taking class, getting to auditions, trying to have a life, do you have time to research and understand the confusing political and funding systems? Why is this not instilled into us during training so we have the fundamental knowledge to understand why we must lobby and react to changes?
Hmmm, I suppose I am frustrated because I constantly hear of where money is being spent and frown as such funding would usually fund my salary for twenty years!
In terms of Creation (Editorial 17th March) I have been questioning this for years yet many people bore of the conversation and respond with 'that is just the way it is'. Surely the boast of an arts council should be the art it produces and the artists working for them. Screw letter headed paper and fancy offices. Forget prettiness and fancy promotions. Think of all the money spent on toilet paper and pot pourri in the arts offices of the UK - get to Lidl, pay 9p a roll and save £3000 a year!!
Okay so I don't know facts and figures, I don't have the time to fully research such things but I quote 'too many dancers are being trained and nobody is working to create jobs for them when they graduate'. What can be done? Why are audiences not growing? Why are hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on surveys, compiling information leaflets, maintaining protocol?
I don't have any answers. I just get so angry that these individuals are happy to tell us how they are so strapped for cash and would love to fund more and develop the sector when I was only recently informed that the reason that more Scottish Arts Council Reps don't attend veiwings of projects they don't fund because it costs so much to send them to these things. A fee over and above their own wage. I'm not saying such reps should not have a life but surely if you are an Arts Council officer you should be passionate enough to want to be at things and seeing things. If not can you not just get an office job elsewhere? Or, where are the volunteers. As said, many dancers 'employ' apprentices for little of no money so why don't the administrators bring on board some volunteers?
Artists like myself are currently producing new work and forming opportunities for absolutely nothing. In fact at a cost to ourselves. My company 'Black Swan Dance Theatre' has cost me something ridiculous like £3000 simply in rehearsal space, costume and expenses over the past two years yet my dancers are working in kind.
It's no wonder we don't invest more time in creating work as we are scared to waste any money in the research of work. Such poverty breeds work less advanced than it should be and as such means our arts sector isn't evolving.
Rant over, I simply wanted to say thanks to Neil for addressing such issues and I really hope more people get on board to force a change.