Khan Goes To Brussels

panta rei dans lullaby

Video - Panta Rei Danseteater 'Lullaby'

Norwegian dance company Panta Rei Danseteater, late last year, conducted a little experiment whereby three dance makers created two pieces with the same name based on the same idea, featuring three male dancers and two musicians, to see what the outcome was.

June 2nd, 2016

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A recent audition posting for the Akhram Khan Company raised a few eye brows not because an audition for the company is anything out of the ordinary but because of its location, Brussels, Belgium. This is odd if for no other reason than the company is based in London so why travel all the way to another country to run tryouts for new Dancers?

Farooq Chaudhry, the company's producer told Article19 that the reasons for holding the audition overseas were;

"Akram Khan is extremely busy in rehearsals at the moment and is only able to give one weekend of his time to the audition process. With this limitation in mind we decided that to make the process accessible to the whole of Europe that it would best be held at the European hub of Brussels.

Dancers outside of London will find it cheaper to travel and stay in Brussels than to spend a weekend in London. Train and flights to Brussels is extremely cheap nowadays (less than British Rail) and hotels in Brussels can be found for around 50 euros."

Following our research however we discovered this to be far from the truth. If we used a dancer living in Newcastle upon Tyne as an example, it's where Article19 is based, we discovered it was much cheaper to travel from here to London and stay overnight than to either fly or travel by Eurostar to Brussels.

Train fare plus accommodation in London would cost just £90 if booked far enough in advance whereas air travel and train travel plus accommodation would cost £196 and £184 respectively. Costs would rise for all destinations if booking closer to the event.

We also raised the issue of whether or not a contemporary dance company funded by Arts Council England should be auditioning overseas in the first place to which Mr Chaudry responded;

"Absolutely not! Since our company was founded in August 2000 our subsidy from the UK has never exceeded more than 25% of our turnover. This in turn reflects the breakdown of activity that we do both in the UK and abroad. I believe that this gives us the right to determine where we hold our auditions as long as they are accessible to UK dancers."

Indeed for the year 2003/2004 the company did apply for £98,235 from ACE and production and touring costs far exceeded this amount. However the funding from ACE is used to actually create the work for touring that generates that income stream. What this means is, no funding from ACE no work to tour with. Currently Akram Khan Dance Company receives £180,000 under ACE's 3 year funding agreement for Regularly Funded Organisations.

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