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Arts Council cuts

Posted on April 19, 2011

Arts Council England (ACE) has announced its funding decisions for the next four years. Following the 29.6 per cent cut to ACE’s own budget for 2011 to 2015, there will be a 14.9 per cent cut in its budget for funded organisations. The plan was to cut strategically, dropping 206 organisations altogether and concentrating funding on others. Alan Davey, chief executive of ACE, said there had been “really hard choices as we had so many good applications – more than we were able to fund.”


In dance, the major losers include Ballet Black, Dance UK, The Cholmondeleys and the Featherstonehaughs, Henri Oguike, Woking Dance Festival and Youth Dance England, which will receive no ACE funding. Dance Umbrella is still funded, but faces a drastic cut of 43 per cent in real terms by 2015.


In one of the biggest changes, ACE has increased funding to regional dance agencies. Funding for Dance South West is up by 103.3 per cent. Yorkshire Dance is up by 55.2 per cent, Greenwich Dance Agency (in its new partnership with Trinity Laban) by 42.6 per cent.


Meanwhile, most performing companies will face cuts. ACE has passed its basic 14.9 per cent cut on to the major ballet companies. English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and the Royal Opera House (which includes The Royal Ballet) all receive cuts of around 15 per cent. This will have a big impact on touring companies such as ENB, which has been hard-pressed to move beyond the big box office classics.


The Contemporary Dance Trust, which covers The Place and Richard Alston Dance Company, receives a 20 per cent cut. Sadler’s Wells loses 5 per cent, while Dance Touring Consortium has been cut by 11 per cent. Among contemporary repertory companies, Rambert has a funding cut of 4.4 per cent, and Phoenix Dance Theatre loses 14.9 per cent. Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company faces a bigger loss of 28.7 per cent.


Many of the big British choreographic names have had smaller cuts, or even increases. Hofesh Shechter receives a 73.5 per cent increase in funding. Wayne McGregor | Random Dance goes up by 29 per cent. Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre is cut by 11.7 per cent, with smaller cuts of 8.4 per cent for Siobhan Davies Dance and 4.4 per cent for the Michael Clark company. Akram Khan Company’s funding is unchanged. The Ballet Boyz have an increase of 15.2 per cent.


There are substantial increases for smaller contemporary companies: a 179.8 percent increase for Balbir Singh Dance Company, 84.4 per cent up for Vincent Dance Theatre, 40.9 per cent up for  Maresa Von Stockert’s Tilted Productions, 34.6 per cent up for BalletLORENT.


Seven dance organisations received ACE funding for the first time, with grants for The Association of Dance of the African Diaspora, Protein Dance, Tin Arts Ltd, Company Chameleon, 2 FaCeD DaNcE Company, Sonia Sabri Company and Blackpool’s Grand Theatre.


While the ACE budget has been cut, there will be more money from the National Lottery, following the Government’s decision to increase the share of money going to the arts, one of the four original “good causes” supported by the Lottery. £18 million of Lottery money a year will go to support touring, while £10.5 million will be targeted at work with children and young people.


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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