The EvilImp™ 'Bad Acting, Bad Advocacy'

DanceUK, the UK dance advocacy group, is relaunching its Dance Vote website or re-tasking it, whichever you prefer. It first appeared pre-election to get prospective candidates to voice their support for dance.

On this occasion the aim is to get elected muppets MPs to, once again, voice their support for dance which faces possible cuts following a central government spending review.

The website essentially enables the user to send a direct email to their local MP which, believe us when we tell you, is not as simple as it sounds if you just tried to do it through normal channels.

So far, so harmless.

On the websites front page however, under the banner "Amazing Dance Facts" (really? Ed!), Dance UK have this little nugget of information;

"The 2010 British film, 'Streetdance 3D' the movie, topped the UK box office when it opened, beating Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe and Disney's summer blockbuster, Prince of Persia. Streetdance 3D took £11 million in its first 5 weeks becoming the most successful lottery funded film ever."

Let's cut straight to the chase here shall we. 'Streetdance 3D' is a bad movie. It's a badly acted, badly written, badly made piece of crap. It's the dance equivalent of 'Battlefield Earth'. Only that movie wasn't in 3D so 'Streetdance' is just adding insult to injury. It's a bad film made by bad people.

Sure, taste is a subjective thing but we can all get together on a few things. The Ebola Virus is deadly, George bush is an idiot, guns are dangerous, 'Streedance 3D' is sh*t!

Of all the things DanceUK could highlight in the dance world for outstanding levels of choreographic craft, dancers, performances or artistic merit DanceUK chooses a film that makes 'Flashdance' look like 'Rain Man'.

All the work they could have chosen and they chose that. With friends like these who the hell needs Jeremy Hunt?

Now, Lottery funding is not government funding (it is not sourced from taxes). Lottery funding under the coalition government is actually going to go up for the arts. Ostensibly to mitigate losses from direct tax payer funding. So nice own goal there DanceUK.

Also, making an argument that something is worthwhile because it made some money only serves to highlight the fact that ACE funded dance companies don't make money. Never mind their not supposed to because that's not why they get funded but what the hell, just add fuel to the bonfire for arts funding haters.

Even the most cursory glance around the opinion pieces and rantings of the right wing hooligans against arts funding will give you an insight into their common mantra. "If it's meant to survive on its own, then it will!" This film and its manufacturers made money so they can stay, everything else can go.

We know what your thinking though! This risible film was provided with more than £1Million from the Film Council. So subsidy works, right? Sure, but they made a profit so they can pay the money back.

Perhaps that's DanceUK's big idea. ACE no longer needs to provide subsidy, they can provide loans, maybe charge interest and send in the heavies if the companies default. Of course, that would be a really stupid idea, much like mentioning this digital effluent when trying to gather support for the dance profession.

Advocating for dance? DanceUK might as well gather the entire profession in a pit and throw rocks at them all.

Stop it, would you please!

  • Caroline Miller

    Dear Article 19,
    perhaps if you'd mentioned the other facts and figures that Dance UK has highlighted on the DanceVote 2010 website Article 19 would have given a more balanced picture of the campaign:

    •Dance is the fastest growing art form. A recent Arts Council England review of its regularly funded organisations showed that audience attendances grew by 103% over 12 months.
    •Dance has higher audience satisfaction levels than theatre, musicals or opera, according to the latest Society of London Theatre research published in April 2010. 71% of dance attendees rated their experience as "very good", compared to an average of 63% across theatre, musicals, dance and opera.

    Both of these facts came before the StreetDance 3D fact. However, whatever your taste in dance is, why should we take away from the fact that a dance focused film was hugely popular with audiences? When many discussions around funding for the arts results in members of the public responding that they don't think the arts should be funded at all, we need to keep highlighting that the arts can be something that appeals to large numbers of people, not just the few. Also, that subsidised arts feeds into, and provides both material and artists who then work in non-subsidised sectors.

    Dance UK consistently highlights the work of our leading choreographers and companies, all the names you have mentioned above - Akram & Hofesh and many others - are Dance UK members, (we've 1,000 individual members & over 200 company members). We've organised trips for politicians to go and see their work live, (which is surely the best way to convince people of the value of dance). Dance UK has also recently submitted a detailed response to the Culture Select Committee's enquiry into arts and heritage funding on behalf of these artists, highlighting the points about creativity and talent of artists being produced and choosing to work in the UK.

    In answer to the quesiton about the campaign working to highlight the rich diversity of dance in the UK, please watch the DanceVote 2010 promotional film which you'll find on youtube and at www.dancevote2010. It was specially designed to showcase lots of different types of dance (or as much as we could squeeze into 90 seconds).

    Dance UK will continue to work to raise the profile of dance with both local and national politicians. We know everyone involved in dance is extremely busy working to ceate great artistic experiences and earn a basic living, we hope that Dance UK can offer useful support by making it easier for people to make the case for dance.

    All direct communication with politicians which highlight positive and popular activity in their area can only help to make them aware that funding for dance activity directly connects with, and is valued by members of their local communities. This means they will give more considered thought before making funding decisions relating to arts activity.

    I'm really pleased to receive feedback and suggestions from colleagues as to how we can strengthen the case for dance and the arts, but I'm also hoping that as a sector we can pull together to continue to make the case for dance and use the limited tools we have available to us.

    Let's not forget that since we started making a consistent effort to regularly talk to politicians about dance, starting with the publication of the Dance Manifesto in 2006 there has been a government review into youth dance provision, and extra £5.5 million investment in Youth Dance England, the establishment of Department of Health Dance Champions, and the creation of the All Party Parliamentary Dance Group who stand up for dance in parliament.

    Let's not stop now when everything is to play for. Please have a look at the DanceVote 2010 website for yourselves and put your postcode in so that you can read the message we've put together to send to politicians. Then add in your own message about why you value dance and what you'd lose from your life if arts funding was cut.

    Caroline Miller
    Director, Dance UK
    020 7713 0730 ([email protected] - www.danceuk.org - www.dancevote2010.com)

  • We have seen the promotional film and since we also work in the video production world then we'll say this. It's a poor effort. It's just a montage, no interviews, no insights, just random clips.

    We get that advocacy is hard but as it says above, there is a wealth of fantastic work to drawn upon, Streetdance 3D is not one of those things. The film itself was only financially successful in the UK because of the risible nonsense that is Britains Got Talent.

    This film is the low road, take the high road, don't apologise for things because they don't make money, it's about creative and performance excellence, not short term financial gain.

  • Emmajpark

    Oh dear....

    Surely it would be important to highlight a variety of practitioners, some 'nom du jour', some who have been around forever and some of the almost unheard of but amazing talents that are kicking around?

    Who cares but some trash that's starring other trash discovered by Simon Cowell on another 'who's got a sob story/ marketable life history' game show??? Not the best plan really.

  • Yeh, maybe not the smartest move.
    Out of interest, who would you highlight? Hofesh? Akram? or some other nom du jour?

  • well, take your pick, there's plenty to choose from, we could all name one each! :o=

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