It's been an interesting week in dance. We've seen some excellent dancers performing some excellent work and when you really get down to it that's what this art form is all about. But then the politicians and the bureaucrats stick their oar into the creative waters and reality comes crashing through the calm surface like a 747 hitting a bowl of custard.
The first thing was a couple of the government's goons shlepping all the way from Westminster in London to Laban in, er..... London to release yet another piece of pointless paper onto the world which does little more than enhance the prospects of global warming turning the planet into a giant swimming pool.
David Lammy (yes, him again), Minister for Culture and Caroline Flint, Minister for Public Health were unveiling the report that has no name but declares, without a hint of irony, that dance makes children fitter. Here in TheLab™ so shocked were we to discover this that we immediately put down the cream doughnuts and headed for the next available contact jam!
The director of Laban, Anthony Bowne, their dance science people conducted the study, said; "‘We now have the scientific proof that creative dance makes you fitter." You couldn't make this stuff up if you tried. The child obesity argument was of course rolled out on cue. If children dance then they will no longer be obese. Got that? Good!
What they of course fail to mention is the fact that parents have to stop feeding their kids at Burger King and serving them sugar sandwiches for school lunch but that's somebody else's problem.
This study had managed to point out, to an unconvinced world, that physical exercise is good for you and being creative gives you a better than average chance of not being a drooling basket case by the time you're 50. All we can ask is this; Was that ever in any doubt? Because if it was in any doubt then why the hell have Nike been selling running shoes all these years and what is going to school all about if not teaching children to think and be creative?
Up next is a study we stumbled across whilst searching the interwebnet for something else. 'Fit to Dance 2' was released about 18 months ago and was funded by The Jerwood Foundation and published through the perpetually inert Dance UK. We haven't read the full report because it costs £8.50 and our allowance for mowing lawns won't cover that.
The summary is available online however and concludes, without hesitation, that professional dancers get injured and, as a result of those injuries, can't work and need to get better before they can go back to work.
Quote; "Fit to Dance 2 gives the clearest picture of what provision exists for dancers’ health and prevention of injury today following interviews with a broad cross section of all UK dance companies and vocational dance schools, which put questionnaire findings into context. Updated recommendations for the dance profession based on these findings pave the way for a better future for dance."
So, 18 months down the line do dancers have access to high quality preventative health care for free or very low cost? Answer = No.
Do dancers have access to high quality post injury physiotherapy as and when they require it either via the NHS or through a private health care initiative? Answer = No.
Dancers can probably get some very nice booklets on the issue though which probably contain phone numbers to private health insurance providers that they can't afford!
If there are any very, very rich people reading this can you, as a favour to us, set up a multi-million pound endowment to provide a large number of professional dancers with private health insurance. About £5million should cover it. With that we will be able to confine all of this pointless "scientific study" to the trash can of history.
As for Jerwood, Laban, Dance UK, DCMS, do something substantive, something practical, something meaningful, something tangible, just for once!