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BBC Performing Arts Fund supports dance

Posted on January 19, 2011

For the first time, the BBC Performing Arts Fund will award bursaries to dancers, offering funding to community dance groups and young professional dancers.

Established in 2003, the charity receives money from phone voting on BBC entertainment shows. It is currently the largest UK funder of musical theatre training within the charitable sector.

“We have tended to do music and musical theatre,” project manager Miriam O’Keeffe told The Stage, “but the most common query we have is, ‘When will you do funding for dance?’” O’Keeffe said the decision had been made because the charity receives money from voting on shows such as “Strictly Come Dancing” and “So You Think You Can Dance”. The charity is consulting dance organisations on what form the funding will take, with details to be announced this spring.

The fund’s Training in Musical Theatre scheme may not run after 2011, due to the uncertain future of theatre talent shows on the BBC. From 2012, the fund may focus on one area of the performing arts each year. For example, it might support peole working in music one year, then concentrate on dance the next.

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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