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Arts Council England announces National Portfolio grants

Posted on June 27, 2017

BC20161113  BALLET BLACK 519

Arts Council England has announced its National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) for the period 2018 to 2022. Ballet Black, Boy Blue Entertainment and ZooNation are among the newly chosen organisations, while Greenwich Dance and Merseyside Dance Initiative are among those losing their NPO status.

Arts Council England figures show a shift towards organisations outside London: 60.4 per cent of funding will go to organisations outside the capital in the 2018 to 2022 period, compared to 55.8 per cent in the 2015 to 2018 period.

There are 64 dance organisations in the new National Portfolio, up from 57 in the 2015 to 2018 period, with 13 new names. Dance will receive £42.2 million per annum in the new period, ten per cent of the total portfolio spend.

There’s new support for hip hop and South Asian dance. Aakash Odedra’s Leicester Dance Theatre, which performs South Asian dance, joins the portfolio with £365,000 for each year of the 2018 to 2022 period. Three hip hop companies have also gained NPO status: Avant Garde Dance Company, who receive £221,250 per annum, Boy Blue Entertainment, receiving £200,000 per annum, and ZooNation, receiving £249,999 per annum. All four had previously received Elevate funding, which supported non-NPOs that had shown they made a significant contribution to the creative case for diversity.

There’s also increased support for integrated dance companies. Corali, a London-based dance company of performers with learning disabilities, joins the portfolio with a grant of £100,000 per annum, while there is increased funding for existing portfolio members Candoco Dance Company, whose £447,889 is a 12 per cent increase, and StopGap, who receive a substantial increase of 44 per cent, taking their grant to £276,654 per annum.

Ballet Black, who join the portfolio with £220,000 per annum, were particularly praised for offering role models for aspiring black and minority ethnic dancers, and for its work with children and young people. There’s also a substantial increase for Birmingham’s ACE Dance and Music, up 79 per cent to a grant of £192,000. In a statement, the company hailed the grant as providing “stability towards its vision of becoming global leaders in black dance culture”. Serendipity, which puts on culturally diverse work in Leicester, including the Let’s Dance International Frontiers festival, joins the portfolio with £210,000 per annum.

ACE Dance and Music are one of several companies given increased support for touring on the mid-scale and internationally, alongside BalletLORENT, whose funding increases by 67 per cent to £399,968 per annum, and Motionhouse, with a 38 per cent increase to £468,806 per annum. Protein Dance receives a 17 per cent increase, to £238,762 per annum.

Among the other new bodies joining the portfolio, Northern School of Contemporary Dance receive £150,000, a grant that is designed to help retain graduates in the city of Leeds, and to complement the dance development work already being done by Yorkshire Dance.

One Dance UK, the national body formed by the merger of Dance UK, the Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, National Dance Teachers Association and Youth Dance England, joins the portfolio with a substantial grant of £750,000 per annum.

Rosie Kay Dance Company joins the portfolio with £150,000 per annum, as does Russell Maliphant Company, with £249,000 per annum.

Tom Dale Company, whose work often focuses on collaboration with digital artists, joins the portfolio with £157,600 per annum. ZoieLogic Dance Theatre also join the NPO group, with £195,300 per annum.

Organisations who lose their NPO status include Dance Manchester, Greenwich Dance, Merseyside Dance Initiative, State of Emergency Productions and Tilted Productions. DV8 Physical Theatre, who in 2016 put the production of new work on hold as choreographer Lloyd Newson took time out, also lose their NPO status.


Pictured: Ballet Black’s Marie Astrid Mence and Mthuthuzeli November. Photograph by Bill Cooper

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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