News: MPs visit Siobhan Davies Studios

Monday 25 June 2007

Members of the All Party Parliamentary Dance Group visited Siobhan Davies Studios recently (19 June 2007), to see an example of an artist-lead, purpose built dance space.

Politicians attending the event included: Frank Doran MP, (Labour, Aberdeen North), Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Dance Group; Lynne Jones, (Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak); Baroness Hooper, (Conservative), who herself trained at the Royal Ballet School; Baroness Bonham Carter of Yarnbury (Liberal Democrat); and Jon Dawson, researcher to Andrew Slaugher MP (Labour, Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush).

The purpose of the visit was to highlight to government the importance of appropriate and affordable dance spaces being made available for artists and the community. Over the last decade major new dance theatres such as Sadler’s Wells and Dance City in Newcastle, have been built across the UK. The success of these theatres and programmes such as the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing have contributed to the dance industry rapidly expanding and resulted in insufficient spaces to meet demand. (Arts Council figures show that dance is the fastest growing art form, both in terms of audiences and participation).

The lack of appropriate, affordable spaces has been highlighted as one of the most pressing issues faced by professional dance artists and companies, who struggle to find studios for rehearsals and the creation of new work, and also for individuals and organisations running amateur dance classes and social dancing events.

Whilst there, the group watched Siobhan Davies Dance in a rehearsal. They sat alongside an audience of children from the local Charlotte Sharman Primary School, watching their first ever dance performance. The primary school, which shares a site with the studio, is embarking on a long term project with Siobhan Davies Dance, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

The visit was organised by Siobhan Davies Dance in partnership with Dance UK, (the national advocacy organisation for dance) and is part of a series of events for politicians which aim to raise the profile of dance in national and local government.

The Dance Manifesto is calling on Government to develop policies with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and local authorities that make it a priority to provide and maintain a safe, affordable dance space in every community.

If you haven’t yet pledged your support for the Dance Manifesto visit the Dance UK website to sign up now

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