Community Dance Is Failing to Meet Demand in the Valleys; RESEARCH: Way Forward for Dancing Festivals and Programming Highlighted

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Byline: EMILY LAMBERT

DANCE is alive and well in the Valleys communities, though the extent of development almost entirely reflects the effectiveness of a handful of practitioners and agencies.

This is the basic finding of a research document on dance development in South East Wales, commissioned by six local authorities.

The research document has highlighted the way forward for each authority - Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Bridgend and Torfaen - and ways in which arts development officers can jointly initiate festivals and dance programming.

The work, co-ordinated by arts development officers from all the authorities and researcher Tricia Sharpe, finds that where there is a specific focus for development, progress has been progressive and partnership visible.

The two approaches to dance - community dance and independent dance - are reflected in organisational terms as well as in funding, particularly through the Arts Council of Wales.

Dance practitioners belong to a range of organisations reflecting their particular interest, and some are very active in events and festivals taking place across the UK.

Everyone approached through the study was enthusiastic about opportunities for festivals and events, though issues of costs were highlighted as requiring to be taken into account.

Those who are most closely involved in the delivery of dance activities suggested substantial under-supply.

Sharpe says that close identification with one local authority can, in turn, limit the effectiveness of agencies which might operate more widely in the region and could provide valuable expertise to communities in neighbouring authorities. …