The Week February 16th - February 20th

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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Roll up, roll up for our completely erratic and somewhat unpredictable round-up of the weeks news in the arts that we write every week when we can think of something really sarcastic to say about that weeks news.

Operatic Oblivion


Word reaches us via Arts Council England (stop laughing at the back) that English National Opera (ENO) has been kneecapped by the funding monolith for being completely incompetent, or something.

ENO is, or rather was, a National Portfolio Organisation but, upon reflection, ACE has decided they are not worthy of that title so has placed them into some sort of "special arrangement" where they get to keep their funding but lose their NPO status.

"ENO is offered funding for two years. The agreement will combine elements of the NPO and transition funding agreements previously proposed in July 2014. £12.38m revenue funding per year, with an additional £6.13m of transition funding, will be made available to the company over the two years to enable it to operate and make changes to its business model."

Apparently ENO's business model of making and performing opera is not to ACE's liking.

Here in TheLab™ it's hard to drum up any kind of sympathy for ENO since they are the company that were paying dancers appallingly low wages (and still do we hear) for taking part in their various productions.

Over the past few months and years the London based company has been bleeding money and senior staff members. We would name those staffers but to be perfectly honest, nobody really cares who they are. Basically; well paid, well fed folk in business wear, nuff said!

During the NPO announcements last year the world discovered that ENO would be losing millions in annual funding, somewhat mitigated by ACE giving them more millions in "transitional support and restructuring funding because, hey, we're just that crazy!". (they might not have said it was for that reason)

In our piece covering the paupers wages scandal "The United States of Nobody Gives a Sh*t" the performing arts union Equity was found seriously lacking in their ability to stick up for the dancers.

When the news of the ENO kneecapping was made public Equity did release a statement blaming the funding cuts for ENO's current predicament;

"No business model can survive the degree of cuts the company has had to absorb and we believe that it is the overall reduction in arts funding which has caused the Arts Council to question the long term future of the ENO. Restoring government investment is essential and reversing the cuts to the arts will be a key campaigning issue for Equity members in the run up to the general election."

The announced massive cuts to ENO's funding don't actually kick in until April so, as ever, Equity is not making a lot of sense. and the union didn't care that much while ENO was treating dancers like crap while running millions in surplus.

Arts Council England is also not in a position to challenge questionable business plans since they are the ones currently throwing £8Million away on the TheSpace website and all of its horrific content.

In addition, the current Chairman of ACE is Peter Balzagette, formerly the Chairman of ENO who announced they had run up losses of over £2Million soon after he left that post.

So, it's all a bit, pot, kettle, etc.

Kenneth Tharpe, chief bottle washer at ThePlace™®, chimed in by tweeting a link to Equity's press release.

As you can see, we pointed out that Mr Tharpe would do do well to show support for the dancers who are treated with a massive lack of respect by the ENO.

As expected, he failed to respond. As always, the dance world spending too much time talking about the wrong things.

ENO can exit their special arrangement if it learns how to behave itself and stops spitting at the other children.

Gustavo Ramírez Sansano

If you've never heard of Mr Sansano then join the club because neither had we, here in TheLab™. He was set to become the new AD of National Dance Company Wales but held onto the position for all of 0 minutes for reasons set out by Andrew Davies, Chairman of NDCW;

"I regret to announce that due to immovable work commitments Gustavo Ramírez Sansano will be unable to take up the position of Artistic Director at National Dance Company Wales.  Having made extensive attempts to overcome prior freelance contracts and commitments, NDCWales and Gustavo are now in full agreement that it will not be possible for him to begin work to a time-frame that is suitable for the needs of the Company."

Reading between the lines it would appear that Mr Sansano didn't want to give up his freelance gigs to take the full time gig running a large dance company that has been without an AD for a very very long time.

It's all a bit odd because if he had those commitments before he took the job he should probably have known that he couldn't get out of them so why did he accept the job offer with NDCW?

Or maybe Mr Sansano thought he could take the NDCW job, run out all of his freelance gigs and the company would just wait around for him to move to Wales and get started? Have your cake and eat it, so to speak.

Seems the board of NDCW needs their heads knocked together or perhaps somebody could buy them a copy of "Hiring ADs for Dummies" because they clearly need some assistance.

The process of hiring another new AD has already started so we expect NDCW to have a new director in place by the end of the 21st century, assuming that person can get out of their unbreakable freelance commitments and move their apparently over worked ass to Wales that is.

Maybe they could hire somebody called Hofesh or Akram or Russell or Will or James or ..... you get the point.

The Week in Tweets

We end with a tweet from today when DanceUK, an organisation that does something in dance that is not entirely clear, asked if we are training too many people in dance.

Have a nice weekend!

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