Proposals outlining a long-term vision for the dance sector have been published in a new manifesto, which includes enabling all children to have access to dance and harnessing its benefits for public health and well-being.
Industry body One Dance UK, which drew up the manifesto, is calling on members and supporters to lobby their newly elected MPs about the document’s aims following this week’s general election.
The manifesto puts forward a series of ideas about how to support dance in the UK, once a new government is in place.
Its six main aims seek to:
• Enable every child and young person to have access to dance
• Protect the dance sector post-Brexit
• Harness the benefits of dance for public health and well-being
• Support equality of opportunity for artists and leaders
• Improve working conditions
• Champion British dance at home and abroad
One Dance UK said studying dance offered young people valuable academic and creative skills, but criticised the dramatic reduction of the subject in schools. It claimed the decline of dance at GCSE and A level was “a direct result of the EBacc”, calling for it to be scrapped and asking for an urgent commitment and investment into dance education.
Elsewhere, the document warns of the detrimental impact that Brexit could have on the UK dance sector if the right safeguards are not put in place, and argues that more should be done to address the under-representation of people with disabilities and from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds in the industry, particularly in leadership positions.
Other areas addressed in the manifesto include dancers’ working conditions, which it claims are key to the continued success of the sector.
Rates of pay, contracts and benefits – including extending childcare tax breaks to working parents in the performing arts – should all be in line with other sectors of the creative industries, One Dance UK said, bidding for more support in areas such as healthcare, career development and mental health care.
One Dance UK is the latest performing arts body to release a manifesto ahead of the election, but the organisation said it hoped the document would also be viewed as a “longer term vision for how policymakers can help support the UK dance sector once a new government and parliament are in place”.
Last month, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre published a manifesto, with demands including additional funding to help schools take children on theatre trips and a review of business rates for venues.