News: Fit to Dance Space charter launched

Wednesday 27 April 2016 by Carmel Smith

Photo: George Powell

One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme and Equity are launching a new Fit to Dance Space Charter to coincide with World Day for Health and Safety at Work (Thursday 28 April) and International Dance Day (Friday 29 April). Equity is the union representing dancers; One Dance UK is the national body for dance and together they share a commitment to promote safe spaces for dance artists. The charter is designed to encourage a minimum standard for dance audition and rehearsal spaces across the UK.

Audition and rehearsal venues which have signed up to be identified as a Fit to Dance Space demonstrate a commitment to environmental conditions which are suitable for dance work. Those who adopt the Charter recognise that adhering to certain standards of safety in these spaces is vital for the long-term health and safety of dancers.

Beth Doran of Equity’s Live Performance Department, says: “The impetus for this work came from a debate at the 2015 Equity Conference about encouraging better understanding among dancers about minimum conditions for dance rehearsal spaces. The Charter helps both Equity and One Dance UK’s memberships understand these minimum requirements better, highlights good practice and encourages better standards for our members. Wherever you see the Fit to Dance Space logo, you’ll know you are working in a studio which is committed to safe practice in dance.”

Venues of any size are invited to sign up to the Fit to Dance Space Charter is designed to be achievable by dance rehearsal venues large and small. Among the first to take part are Creation Box (pictured), a small venue in Tooting, South London which recently won ‘Outstanding Studio Award’ at the 2015 Inspires Awards, hosted by Dance London. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, with multiple studio and workshop spaces is another early signatory.

The Fit to Dance Space Charter has been welcomed by industry figures who regularly hire dance spaces. Khyle Eccles, Founder of Athletic Artist Strength and Conditioning for Dance Professionals and member of the Equity Dance Committee, says: “A studio space that supports the creation and development of new dance work, and/or runs regular classes, should meet the basic health and safety requirements to support the fundamental wellbeing of dance professionals. With the amount of research on safe and effective dance practice now in circulation, help and support can easily be found. The development of this Charter points to a new standard for dance rehearsal spaces, and is a progressive step forward for the industry.”

Information on the Charter can be found at www.equity.org.uk.

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