Today the Arts Council launched its new Dance policy - Advancing Dance 2022-2025. This policy will increase the capacity of the dance sector in Ireland through action and investment. Implementation of the policy will lead to expanded opportunities for audiences and artists across Ireland to engage with dance while extending our reach internationally. The vision underpinning the policy is for an Ireland where dance is recognised as an integral part of our cultural life. It is an artform connecting us to our bodies, imaginations, and each other.
Speaking about the Policy, Prof Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council, said, ‘I am personally very pleased to see the publication of the Arts Council's new dance policy and, in particular the significant decision to establish a new, all-island dance company, which has been a priority for myself and my Council colleagues. With the new investment this policy will bring, I hope dance as an art form will be enjoyed by more people than ever before.’
Minister Catherine Martin, commented, ‘I warmly welcome todays launch of the Arts Council’s dance framework and policy Advancing Dance. Dance has been a designated artform since the first Arts Act in 1951 and Advancing Dance is based on acknowledging that the artform needs expanded supports to reach its full potential. It is a vision of an Ireland where dance is an integral part of our cultural life. This is an exciting moment for dance in Ireland and I congratulate the Arts Council on its imagination and commitment for the future.’
Speaking at the launch, Lisa McLoughlin, Head of Dance at the Arts Council said, ‘This is an important moment for dance in Ireland, as the Arts Council commits to investing in the future of the artform; expanding our reach for audiences and participants, to safeguarding the wonderful work of dancers and choreographers working in Ireland and to developing pathways for dancers to have life-long sustainable careers.’
The Arts Council currently supports a dynamic sector of dance companies, festivals, and resource organisations that have created an exciting and diverse community of practice. Dance has some of the highest figures in Ireland for participation in any artform. This policy seeks to strengthen the existing dance ecology, develop the artform, and develop pathways for artists to create work of scale and ambition. We will pilot a scheme (Advanced Dance Training) that will remove financial barriers for young people to access high-level, pre-professional training across the country. We will begin research and development to lead to the creation of a full-time Island-wide dance company with international reach.
A broad consultative approach informed the policy by mapping the needs of the existing dance sector and the wider sector, including an analysis of dance policy internationally. It included Focus Groups and interviews with key individuals across the sector, representing a broad cross-section of practice, widely disseminated surveys and a comparative data analysis comparing Arts Councils internationally.
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