It's Resolution! season and my Facebook feed, like many others inside London's dance bubble, is full of people telling me to come to their show. I am currently in France so I will miss England's biggest 'dance lottery' this year, let's hope for some gems.
Resolution! isn't perfect and it doesn't always end up being a good deal financially for those who take part, but it is a reminder that those who want to make work have ample opportunity to show it.
Other platforms have emerged, making the same noises and offering the same opportunities: a technical rehearsal, a video, perhaps a review and of course, a show.
Great, but I don't see 'fee' on that list.
Don't misunderstand me, these platforms are a good thing for those wanting to create their first work, to experiment with an idea or just have a go, but their scope is limited. What happens next? Theoretically, you can spend as much of your own money as you want making and performing pieces, but realistically it isn't sustainable - unless it's a self-made solo or the choreographer has already secured funding.
If a choreographer is struggling to get enough support and funding then these platforms are incredibly useful, because in theory they are free. However, in practice, the dancers and the choreographer aren't properly paid, and said choreographer is paying for things out of their own pocket. A fee - actually paying artists for the art they create, regardless of individual fame - might change that.
The next step is an extremely big step. Theatres generally aren't willing to take a risk and programme a full work by new, emerging choreographers, as they are less likely to fill seats. Choreographers need an existing profile, support and funding to be programmed and subsequently get a tour together.
Some theatres and dance organisations do have the resources to bridge this gap, and it would be great to see them create projects or opportunities for emerging choreographers who have performed in these platforms but aren't quite ready for full touring. Initiatives of this sort do already exist, I myself am lucky enough to be working with The Place as part of their new Hot House project, which has provided those involved with a commission, free studio space and mentoring as well as the opportunity to work with a creative producer. Support that is vital for emerging choreographers. Hot House is not the only example, Yorkshire Dance's Sketch programme also springs to mind, but if more organisations invest in these kinds of projects, more interesting work will be able to keep its head above the water.