Posted on April 14, 2015
Farooq Chaudhry has stepped down as chair of Dance UK. The decision follows his public comments about contemporary dance training in the UK. Julian Flitter, Dance UK’s vice chair, has agreed to become interim chair.
Chaudhry said: “My comments regarding my concerns about contemporary dance training were made from a strong conviction, shared with several professional colleagues. My public statement last week was not made as chair of Dance UK, and its director Caroline Miller as not aware, or party to, our public statement. However, I understand this has created public confusion about the position of Dance UK and my role as its chair, and therefore I am stepping down.
“For the past seven years I’ve enjoyed working with Dance UK reflecting my lifelong passion for an art form that I care profoundly about. I am proud to leave it in safe hands, in a very healthy position and with a strong new vision for the future of dance.”
Chaudhry, who is producer at the Akram Khan Company, had expressed concern about standards in UK contemporary dance training, alongside Khan, Hofesh Shechter and Lloyd Newson. In a joint press release Chaudhry had said: “Are the schools really serving their students and the wider dance industry? I certainly believe their teaching methods have fallen behind the needs of the market.” The comments sparked a debate, with leading UK schools pointing out that their graduates are working with all three choreographers. The issue of training was debated at Dance UK’s industry-wide conference, The Future: New Ideas, New Inspirations on April 12.
Caroline Miller commented: “I would like to thank Farooq for all his support as Dance UK’s chair. His energy, vision and commitment have played a crucial role at a particularly important time in Dance UK’s history. Dance UK has benefited immeasurably from his knowledge and passion.”
Picture: Farooq Chaudhry. Photograph: Maya Almeida Araujo