News: Government report on Dance published

Friday 2 July 2004

The Culture Media and Sport Committee published its report Arts Development: Dance on 1 July. The 50 page document examines the current state of the dance economy; the effect of public investment on the dance sector; and dance and young people in relation to education and opportunities for progression within the sector.

The following summary of recommendations appears on the government website:

Government strategy for dance

• we believe that it is imperative that the Government sets out a clear, overarching policy on dance which sets out how it proposes to achieve its implicit objectives of “excellence, access and a contribution to healthy living”.

• We ask the Minister, within three months, to set out for the Committee the specific action taken to create a Government strategy for dance. (Paragraph 79)

• We believe that the Arts Council England should set out clearly how it proposes to achieve its objectives. This would be advantageous, not only to help it to achieve its goals, but also for the sector to know the priorities of the body which is its main source of public funding. (Paragraph 90)

DCMS should carry out a review of the processes used to allocated Grants for the Arts. We believe that, wherever possible, complete transparency of decision – making processes should be put in place. (Paragraph 91)

Young people and dance

• The Committee recommend that the Department for Education and Skills carry out a policy review relating to the place of dance within the National Curriculum. (Paragraph 106)

• We agree with the view of the Ballet Association and others, that “much more needs to be done to promote inclusion and progression at all levels.” The Government has a role to play in this in a number of ways but, specifically, by providing improved access to private lessons for those talented individuals who cannot afford to pay. (Paragraph 54)

DCMS and DfES should pay close attention to the work of Youth Dance England and take action wherever necessary to ensure that the youth sector is able to thrive and produce the dancers of the future. (Paragraph 101)

Benefits of dance

• The Committee recommends that the Government should investigate further how it can increase the number of people gaining health benefits through participation in dance. (Paragraph 46)

• The industry should to continue to reach out to those who currently do not participate or go to watch dance, in order to increase the depth of the dance sector, as well as its size. (Paragraph 68)

• More research should be carried out into the possible benefits of dance in reducing crime rates and increasing social inclusiveness. (Paragraph 81)

Built environment for dance

• We hope that the National Lottery will be able to continue to make funding contributions towards new facilities for dance, along with the ACE, local authorities, regional development agencies and private donors, all of whom have already contributed to the enhancement of the physical infrastructure of dance. (Paragraph 96)

DCMS should engage in a dialogue with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to ensure that spaces for dance and other art forms are considered within the planning for new settlements. (Paragraph 99)

Dancers’ pay and conditions

• We hope to see a commitment to increased pay level for dancers from all of those involved in the sector, aided by growth and diversification of funding sources. We especially wish to see ACE leading by example and improving the scope for appropriate salary levels from within the grant allocations which it makes. (Paragraph 110)

• We believe that it is imperative that dancers are paid sufficient amounts to cover any training costs, or that support should be given to them to enable participation in development courses so that their future careers are not hindered. (Paragraph 62)

The full report can be downloaded from


‘At the press conference, three male MPs who looked about as supple as lumps of concrete gave heartfelt speeches about how important dance was to Britain. It seems that dance is not just dance but a way to improve our health, reduce the crime rate and increase social inclusiveness. ‘ Parliamentary sketch, Times, 2 Jul

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