(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
If we don’t protect our arts organisations, we will lose them
For almost 25 years, Greenwich Dance has been a meeting place for dancers. Professional and professional and aspiring artists come together for classes, performance space and professional support.
But in June the Arts Council of England withdrew its support for Greenwich Dance, threatening the future of its work. But in June, the Arts Council of England cut 100% of its financial support for Greenwich Dance. Without the funding, the future of Greenwich dance is uncertain.
Since then, dance artists and Equity members have come together to defend Greenwich Dance, launching a petition calling on the Arts Council to clarify its plans to ensure the organisation’s survival.
My first choreographic work
“Greenwich has been a quiet, unsung, but absolutely vital presence at all stages of my career,” says dancer Nicholas Keegan.
Since 2009, he has attended professional classes at Greenwich Dance, as well as being employed by them to deliver community performance projects, teaching everyone from young children to pensioners.
“They provided me with free, in-kind studio space to develop my first choreographic work which was performed at Wilton’s Music Hall.”
And when it came to sourcing funding for the project, they helped with that too.
“They provided invaluable, ongoing feedback,” Nicholas says. “The application was successful, and I was able to fund the project fully and pay myself and the performers.”
Artists fear that the Arts Councils’ decision will especially affect dancers from low-income backgrounds, who depend more heavily on the services Greenwich Dance provides. Already, dancers without any other income are struggling to survive in London.
An unfathomable cut
Another dancer, Theo Clinkard, says that “the Arts Council’s decision to cut all funding is unfathomable to me”.
He believes that Greenwich Dance play a vital role in the British dance community, through its support for hundreds of freelance dance artists.
“What makes Greenwich unique and valuable is that their artist support is tailored to each artist and the practice they are engaging in.”
Toby believes that the benefits of this work is much more widely felt, saying that “Greenwich Dance contribute to the quality of our cultural lives” through their combination of community-based arts programmes and professional support.
“I believe we all have to actively support and defend these kinds of organisations,” he continues. “Otherwise, one by one, we will lose them.”
Sign the petition calling on the Arts Council to protect Greenwich Dance