Ace and the 3 Year Stretch

On the 17th of March Arts Council England released its spending plans for the next three years following the governments announcement late last year that arts funding would be frozen at current levels until 2008 at least. With the funding standstill some 121 organisations will no longer receive regular funding from ACE. Article19 takes a look at the winners and losers in the dance sector.

The documents released only cover Rugularly Funded Organisations (RFO’s). In the press release ACE stipulate that the funding cuts and increases for the RFO’s will seek to achieve the following objectives;

  • to provide financial stability for the majority of arts organisations
  • to ensure that organisations with major capital developments have the revenue funding to reach their potential
  • to develop the infrastructure for Black and minority ethnic artists
  • to review the range of organisations receiving regular funding and redirect funding to priority areas

Let’s start with the National Dance Agencies (NDA’s). NDA’s provide support services to professionals and community access classes for their particular region. There are nine NDA’s across England and they are responsible for areas of varying geographic size. The funding for The Place also includes funding for Richard Alston Dance Company.

AGENCY 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008
The Place 1,723,889 1,870,211 1,941,092
DanceEast 380,496 468,336 500,000
DanceCity 346,377 355,900 365,500
DanceXchange 285,930 392,790 403,592
Dance 4 267,405 274,760 282,315
Swindon Dance 265,000 272,288 279,775
Yorkshire Dance 180,000 184,950 190,040
South East Dance 217,125 250,000 256,875
Dance Northwest 116,192 81,500 83,400

all figures are in GBP

Both DanceEast and DanceXchange will receive the biggest boost in funding of almost £120,000 over the next 2-3 years. DanceCity, the NDA for the North of England, receives only a modest raise in core funding despite the opening, later this year, of their new multi-million pound facility in Newcastle upon Tyne.

DanceEast are currently developing a new building project but they are still some way off achieving their goal. At the last count they were £1million short of the target figure to begin the new building. DanceXchange is a part of the Hippodrome complex in Birmingham alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet.

RFO Status?
RFO or Regularly Funded Organisation status is afforded to companies that have a guaranteed funding stream for a three year period.

Every three years the companies situation is reviewed by ACE and a decision is made whether or not to keep the company in the RFO ‘portfolio’.

Companies within the RFO ‘portfolio’ can also make applications for funding from other areas such as touring or for special, one off projects.

The figures illustrated in this article only indicate ‘core’ funding supplied by ACE as part of the companies RFO status. It does not include touring funds, funds for one off projects or funding a particular dance company may receive from other sources.

As previously mentioned one of ACE’s aims in this funding review is to “to ensure that organisations with major capital developments have the revenue funding to reach their potential”. With their new facility and increased staff levels it is curious that the funding increase for DanceCity is not more substantial.

In response to the funding disparity Mark Robinson from ACE North East told us;

“The decisions regarding the levels of funding for the NDAs are made on a case by case basis. The funding allocated to each is what is judged necessary to allow them to reach their potential.

That one organisation requires an uplift at this moment in time does not imply any other does. Dance City has received significant uplifts in previous funding rounds – from £266,377 in 2003/4 to £346,377 in 2005/2006, rising to £365,500 in 2007/8.

This was exactly in the context of their capital development and was timed to support the organisation being ready to maximise the potential of the new building when it opens next year.”

Poor Dance Northwest take a further hit to remain in last place in the NDA funding stakes. Their dramatic funding cut makes them a lot less well off than a lot of regional dance agencies.”

Dance Companies with RFO status.

COMPANY 2005/2006 2006/2007 2007/2008
Royal Opera House (L) 24,866,154 25,550,000 26,252,600
BRB 7,172,812* 7,370,100 7,572,700
ENB (L) 6,029,838* 6,195,688 6,366,066
NBT 2,133,245 2,551,530 2,621,700
Rambert (L) 1,806,568 1,979,959 2,063,583
Adzido 1,011,155
Siobhan Davies (L) 433,468 475,616 485,991
Phoenix 420,300 431,860 443,740
DV8 (L) 368,880 379,024 389,447
Shobana Jeyasingh (L) 320,000 320,000 320,000
C&F (L) 318,331 327,085 336,085
Random Dance Co. (L) 314,149 322,788 331,665
Candoco (L) 287,545 335,042 346,581
Union Dance (L) 255,065 256,942 264,008
Richocet 197,800 tba tba
RJC 107,500* 110,460 113,500
Motionhouse 184,500 249,574 256,437
Badejo Arts (L) 180,165
Akram Khan (L) 180,000 184,950 190,036
George Piper Dances 160,000 164,400 168,921
BareBones 75,000 77,063
Blue Eyed Soul 73,228 75,242 77,341
Sakoba 70,000 70,000
Attik Dance 55,125 56,641 58,199
Chitraleka Dance Co. 53,105 54,565 56,066
Tees Valley Dance 50,000 80,000 90,000
BalletLorent 41,000 80,000 100,000
Vincent Dance Theatre 48,225 60,000 66,790
Sankapalm 25,000 25,688 26,394
Jasmin Vardimon 15,000 60,000 61,650
Anjali Dance Co. 20,506* 21,070 21,649

[BRB – Birmingham Royal Ballet, ENB – English National Ballet, NBT – Northern Ballet Theatre, C&F Cholmondleys and Featherstonhaughs]

Figures for the Royal Opera House are misleading since ACE puts the funding for the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera into one large figure and separate figures are not readily available.

Dance companies in general have done rather well in the funding review with just two companies losing their RFO status (Adzido’s cut was announced some time ago) and two new companies being added to the RFO list. If a company no longer has RFO status they can still receive funding through the ACE Grants for the Arts programme but there are no guarantees that applications for funding will be successful.

Just one company (Shobana Jeyasingh) stays at a standstill in the funding stakes and while most funding increases are fairly modest (or very modest in Sankalpam’s case) at least they are not being cut back. Dance is the poor relation in the arts so it is heartening to see rises almost across the board.

It is particularly pleasing to see BareBones receiving RFO status and Motionhouse getting a significant bump in the right direction. In fact, Motionhouse will receive the largest single increase next year, for contemporary companies at least, of approximately £65,000 in core funding.

BalletLorent are also running into the light with a near 100% bump next year followed by another £20,000 in 2007. Award winning Tees Valley Dance also get an appropriate boost after too many years of working unspeakably hard for very little financial reward.

However the news is by no means all good. The top companies, in funding terms at least, are all receiving 2006 increases in funding that are larger than all of the contemporary dance companies put together. For the record, Article19 does not consider Rambert to be a contemporary dance company despite their endless protestations at being “Britain’s flagship contemporary dance company”.

It should surprise no one that classical companies are all in the upper echelons of the funding tree and despite ACE pleading poverty, to a certain degree, they still find the money for a £2.85 million raise in funding to the large scale companies for the next three years while contemporary dance receives just £233,750.

Overall for 2005 RFO status contemporary dance companies will receive £4.01million. Classical/Neo-Classical companies will receive approximately £28.65million**. This will rise to £4.34million and £30.65million** respectively by 2008. You can work out the difference for yourself but with or without a calculator the difference is staggering!

Arts Council England’s three year spending plans are available from our server as searchable PDF’s. Or you can pick them up from ACE as word documents.