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Arts Council England Announces Major Grant For New Dance Strategic Body

26th March 2015

On 26 March 2015, Arts Council England announced a three year commissioned grant for a ground-breaking consortium bringing four leading dance organisations together to create a unified “go-to” industry body. The four organisations are: Association of Dance of the African Diaspora (ADAD), Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA) and Youth Dance England (YDE). This partnership proactively respondsto industry demand for radical transformation ofits workforce and talent support.Together, the combined impact of these organisations will be much greater than they can achieve as stand-alone bodies.


ADAD, Dance UK, NDTA and Youth Dance England are pooling their expertise to result in a simplified, strengthened and specialist partnership body nurturing and developing talent and delivering excellence in: education; youth dance; dance of the African diaspora; performance, health and well-being; management, leadership and career development. This will become the subject association for dance to further the teaching and learning of dance in schools, embedding education at the heart of the dance sector.


Cate Canniffe, Director of Dance, Arts Council England, said:

“This commissioned grant for £650,000 a year, for three years, awarded to the partnership between Dance UK, ADAD, NDTA and Youth Dance England, will strengthen the national dance infrastructure. Working through its joint national membership which includes dance agencies, higher education institutions, teachers, schools, professional dancers, choreographers and touring dance companies in every region, the consortium will support a more coherent national approach to the delivery of dance services. It will offer dance services and development across the spectrum from children and young people’s dance to professional dance practice and being representative of the creative case for diversity. It has been really exciting to work with the four organisations to develop the vision for the consortium and the leadership potential of, in and for the sector.”


This new collaborative working model will directly benefit the 40,000 plus dance workforce, and children dancing in and outside school, and indirectly impact on the millions of adults who participate in dance and watch performances. It will provide

• a single more powerful voice for dance to policy makers and politicians

• a centralised knowledge hub

• policy direction

• industry intelligence

• a three year programme of strategic initiatives with industry-wide benefit

• and promote best practice and nurture talent.


More information about the new consortium’s plans will be announced at the industry-wide conference, The Future: New Ideas, New Inspirations taking place 9 – 12 April 2015, organised by Dance UK. The conference will result in the consortium’s first initiative – the publication of a five year strategy for dance representing the areas of dance that the partners represent, as well as the wider dance sector, to be published on International Dance Day, 29 April 2015.


Judith Palmer, Chair of ADAD said: “The merger provides a solid infrastructure for dance; a broader remit for advocacy, development and support. Significantly, it is a conduit to embed Dance of the African Diaspora into the British cultural landscape.”


Judy Evans and Sue Trotman, Co-chairs of NDTA said: “The National Dance Teachers Association welcomes this unique opportunity to merge with three other national dance organisations creating a powerful lead body for dance across all sectors. We believe this is a pivotal moment to secure the future support of dance in schools and beyond for all children and young people and the provision of high quality professional development and resources for teachers.”


Farooq Chaudhry, Chair Dance UK said: “30 years ago, dance professionals created a number of specialist support organisations to help them achieve their ambitions. Today, we are excited to be part of the creation of a new joined-up organisation which will provide a stronger and more effective service for dancers and dance professionals helping them become the best they can be.”


Richard Alston, Chair, Youth Dance England said: “Children and young people’s dance will be central to the work of the new organisation, bringing together all areas of the dance sector to support young people right from their first steps, to progressing into professional training, launching a career and becoming life-long dancers. The new organisation will develop the highly regarded and well established children and young people’s dance initiatives to create many more exciting and progressive opportunities for young people and dance professionals.”

Evidence supporting this vision:

Notes for editors:


ADAD (Association for Dance of the African Diaspora)

Works nationally in partnership to develop, nurture, conserve and promote visibility of artists working with African influenced dance forms. 



Dance UK is the national voice for the dance profession.  It aims to improve the conditions in which dance is created, performed and experienced. It has over 1700 members, including dancers, choreographers, teachers, dance organisations, schools, colleges, universities, dance scientists and health specialists, and theatres.


NDTA (National Dance Teacher’s Association)

The NDTA seeks to ensure that all children and young people have entitlement and access to high quality dance education in schools.  As the lead subject association for dance in the formal education sector, the NDTA works with teachers, artists, government departments, arts and education agencies to promote best practice in learning, teaching and assessment in dance as a subject in its own right.  It works to ensure the teachers are appropriately trained, by providing high quality continuing professional development and learning resources, and that the educational value of dance is clearly articulated.


YDE (Youth Dance England)

The national organisation that champions and supports excellence in dance by, for and with young people. 


The combined expertise and membership of ADAD, Dance UK, NDTA and YDE represent the arc of a life of someone involved in dance:


• Children and young people dancing

• Adults dancing for health, fitness or enjoyment

• Teachers in statutory education and private dance schools

• Participatory dance activity and leaders

• Professional dancers and choreographers

• Vocational training institutions teaching the future professional dancers and musical theatre performers

• Universities offering dance related courses, undergraduate and postgraduate level

• Managers and leaders, dance marketers, publicists and administrators

• Dance medicine and science professionals, from researchers to medical doctors, physiotherapists to psychologists

• Dance companies and development organisations

• Venues presenting dance.


There are clear economic benefits created by pooling resources and expertise. By combining forces savings will be made on administration and overheads; and the money available can be used more effectively. The organisations can reduce dependency on single funders by maximising the large combined membership income potential of a new lead industry body, offering expanded membership benefits. Together the organisation can focus on revenue generation and fundraising for high impact sector wide programmes. The new body will simplify how funders/policy makers connect with the dance industry.


Research supporting the creation of the new unified dance organisation:


Arts Council England report (Devlin / Hoyle 2005):

“In general (albeit with some dissension), it was felt that the support and development agencies provide a useful service. They are not, however, seen as being particularly ʻjoined-upʼ and several contributors questioned whether fewer such bodies might not serve the sector more effectively (and economically)”.


Arts Council England Joining Up The Dots report (2009): concludes that collectively strategic organisations should “- promote more coherence in Dance; pursue the development of partnerships with other agencies to support and provide more joined up service for dancers and public”.


Business review of Dance UK by G Devlin & K Devey (funded by ACE, 2012)

Concluded industry professionals want closer working collaborations and possible mergers between Dance UK and the other specialist dance support organisations.


Youth Dance England and National Dance Teachers Association survey (2013)

There was compelling support for the two organisations working more closely together, with the most frequently suggested reasons being to reduce duplication, combining expertise and resources, and strengthening advocacy. Some respondents wanted working together to extend beyond NDTA and YDE: “We need one, single umbrella group ʻhostingʼ all the dance organisations


For more press information contact Caroline Miller, Director of Dance UK on 020 7713 0730 or 07980 675137 or email . The chairs of all the partners are available for interview.

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