The EvilImp™ 'Plan A'

At a recent debate hosted by DanceUK and The Arts Desk an opening question was put to all in attendance. Something along the lines of "if you could have one wish for the dance profession what would it be?"

One of the answers came from Caroline Miller, the head of DanceUK, she said that "dancers should have better pay". The figure £30,000 per year was mentioned at some point. We think that's a bit low but we get the point she was making.

So far, so laudable. But that was it, there was no further discussion of how such a goal was to be achieved. No suggestions were made, no possibilites offered.

When you look at the problem from a purely pragmatic point of view the issue is very easy to break down.

If you want to increase dancers pay levels then you have to give dance companies and freelancers more money so they can pay increased wages. If you want to invest more money into dance then that money has to come from somewhere. Either new investment through increased subsidy or moving the money from another area of the subsidised arts sector.

Method one is not going to happen until we get rid of the current group of hapless thugs running UK PLC so method two is the only viable option at the moment.

Curiously two of those in attendance at this debate were our old friend and Chief Bottle Washer at Sadler's Wells Alistair Spalding and the Managing Director of English National Ballet, Craig Hassall.

These two organisations, between them, suck up almost £9Million in annual subsidy and a lot more besides from other grants and local authority support. The two men in question are paid almost £250,000 annually between them. A number far in excess of what any professional contemporary dancer could ever hope to earn working in a company today, even if they have a full time contract.

English National Ballet, as of 2010, had an accumulated surplus of almost £4Million in the bank. Sadler's Wells was able to squeeze Arts Council England for an additional £720,000 a while back, money we illustrated in detail that they did not need.

Yet neither of these two men were taken to task on this issue.

Nobody bothered to suggest that if you want to find the money then start stripping back large scale company funding, feed those large scale companies into the hapless Catalyst Arts programme, that ACE is so convinced will be successful, and then use the money saved to invest in the small and mid-scale, thus increasing dancer's wages in the process.

That doesn't just work for dance either, you can formulate the same plan for music and theatre.

You know what that is? It's an idea. So why was that idea, or one like it, not raised by anybody on that panel or anybody sitting in the audience? Why, when those people were sitting there did nobody get in their face about it?

In other words, what the hell are we all doing here?

On the basis of that "debate" the only possible conclusion to come to is, not a whole lot!

  • Adamcreed

    I see. So to your little Things That Make Me Very Angry list, do we now also have to add email addresses?

    Fair point about the names. It was "Evil Imp" articles that I checked. My apologies. Any reason for those being anonymous then?

    And regarding this bizarre paranoia about people somehow thinking that the "dance world revolves around London", please oh please, sort it out.

  • TheImp™ is private, TheImp™ eats marshmallows, TheImp™ provides sarcastic talking points and TheImp™ makes dance admins cry, sometimes!

  • Adamcreed

    I beg your pardon, but didn't Trouble Maker have a right to ask that question? Whether or not their details were verifiable? The writing is misleading - at no point do you specify that you simply watched this on a video.
    I understand your frustration at someone writing anonymously something you don't really like, but I find your response perhaps a bit childish. And if I were mean-spirited, I might even find your reaction somewhat hypocritical, given that none of your articles are never signed. If you wish to be taken seriously, then it is unfortunately insufficient, albeit endearing, to have a little "about" section with listed contributors and writers.
    As a journalist myself I would be happy to give you a few pointers if you wish in the future, but my first line of advice would be not to host an online forum if you are uncomfortable with the inevitable tendency towards anonymity that the Internet breeds. It may be deplorable, but if you want to play with the grownups I suggest you act like grownups.

  • we don't excuse you because your writing is misleading. you are fundamentally incorrect in stating that none of our writing is credited, most of it is, the EvilImp blog is not. You also can't read, the problem was with the name of the fake email address used, which you can't see, not the anonymity. 

    Since we allow anonymous comments, which are sometimes necessary then we obviously are very much aware of the nature of the internet but we would prefer it if people said who they were.

    Finally, the discussion was online in full, not edited highlights, we didn't need to be there and, as pointed out, we are not based in London.

    It appears that you are the one in need of the pointers, pointers in reading, and comprehending the written word.

  • Trouble Maker

    So... You're reporting on an event... you weren't actually present at?

  • A video of this "event" is available in its entirety, we didn't need to be there and the entire dance world does not revolve around London, where Article19 is not based. Also, use an email address like the so obviously fake one you have used again and we will ban you from commenting here. Be anonymous if you wish but play nice or we won't.

  • Nkwe16

    Why didn't you ask the question at the debate?

  • because we weren't invited!

  • Nkwe16

    you don't seem the type to play by the rules

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