list of all entries by this author
Following a long absence, we have decided to return to our much loved or widely loathed (depending on your point of view) news service where we round up the main stories in the wacky world of the arts for the week. If you would like this to return on a weekly basis then please film yourself dancing in a weird location, post it to Instagram™ and maybe we will watch it and laugh at you. Such behaviour will have no impact on any decision to bring back a weekly news wrap!
Lloyd is Tired
The much loved (seriously? Ed!) AD of DV8 Physical Theatre, Lloyd Newson, has had enough of just about everything and is taking some time off so he can be at one with his thoughts, such as they are. Having exhausted his mental faculties making 'John' and running it for weeks at the National Theatre Mr Newson is walking off into the sunset.
Within what has to be the most pompous and self-congratulatory press release in the history of mankind, the company told the world this much;
"Over his career, Newson has been called 'the iconoclast of the movement world', 'a theatrical genius'; a man who 'reinvents the rules' with each new work. The productions he has created with DV8 have been lauded as 'splendid...uncompromising, cold-eyed, warm-hearted', 'bravely confrontational', and 'powerful and absorbing'.
So, after 30 years of 'living and breathing' DV8, Newson is taking a break; we hope he will return in the future to continue to produce ground breaking work. Until such time the DV8 office will operate on a much smaller scale.
Keep checking this website, as it will be updated again when we have news of Lloyd's future plans."
So DV8 fans, it's time to stare at the company website for the next few years, hate-refreshing the news page in the forlorn hope that your hero will return and save you all from the terror of mediocre dance making that is every other choreographer in the world, apparently.
This behaviour is not unprecedented, Mr Newson has gone on walkabout before, (we think it was 18 months the last time) and he did eventually come back. Presumably DV8 subtracted that time from the 30-year figure given in the press release.
There is a slightly sticky issue of the company being in receipt of more than £400,000 a year from Arts Council England and getting that money is dependent on, you know, making stuff and touring it. Since all of this will cease to happen while OB1 (or Darth Maul? Ed!) is wandering the galaxy in search of The Force™ what is DV8 going to do for all that money? The Big Bad told us that they will be meeting with the company to talk about their funding agreement and how they can capitalise on all the good will Mr Newson has built up in the dance community over the last 30 years. Maybe they could build him a statue, a lot of people like statues, and then people could visit it, and not throw stuff at it.
Mats Ek is More Tired Than Lloyd
Mats Ek, who has been wandering the dance world for half a century making work, doing Barry Manilow covers, telling some jokes and tickling lots of ribs* has also had enough of just about everything. He has announced, declared or whatever it is you do when you are a dance maker that doesn't want to make dance work anymore, that he's off to do some gardening. Not only is he leaving the wide world of dance he is taking his ball and not letting anybody else play with it.
To put it another way, Mr Ek won't allow anybody else to perform his work unless he is there to supervise it and make sure it's done properly. Despite his Swedish origins he bowed out in Paris this month because they have better food and the traffic is more bearable at rush hour.* Just like Mr Newson however Mr Ek might return if the time is right or the weather improves or some other unquantifiable thing happens to drag him away from mowing the lawn.
All of this retiring and leaving does beg the question; What happens if you leave and nobody misses you? We, here in TheLab™ also deserve a few kudos points for getting all the way through this segment without making an Ikea joke.
*some, all or none of that is made up!
In our third story we can conclude that it has not been a good few months for keeping dance makers in the game and touring their work. This time it's Wales based Earthfall that are biting the dust after 25 years but not because anybody is tired, although you could say that Arts Council Wales was tired of including the company in its portfolio of regularly funded companies.
It would appear that the Welsh funding monolith did not see fit to keep the company ticking over for the foreseeable future;
"After 25 years producing award-winning productions and film, not just in Wales but across the UK and many other countries, Earthfall will not be included in the Arts Council of Wales portfolio of revenue funded organisations from April 2016. In late October we were informed by an independent assessor appointed by ACW, that we were unable to appeal ACW's decision, or their assessment process."
Although the company will still be able to apply for non-regular funding the press release speaks of a substantial "scaling down" process whereby the company will no longer be able to function as normal in making and touring work and providing support services to local dance artists.
So, Arts Council Wales for the win we suppose. Looks like spending all that money on the Millennium Centre in Cardiff has finally paid off as the arts continues to thrive in the land of too many vowels because shutting things down is the sign of a thriving arts community, right?
Akram Khan, one part of Snap, Crackle and Pop, has shown his dance training has not gone to waste because, once again, he has managed to put his foot in his mouth with very little effort. Thank god for those morning stretches.
Often times in journalism it is the simplest question that will bring the mighty down to earth and in this instance it was a journalist from The Stage (stop laughing at the back) that has brought the diminutive dance maker crashing into the earth at warp speed. When asked about the ongoing disgrace of prejudicial commissioning and hiring toward female dance makers, the "little one" was quoted as saying that female dance makers shouldn't be hired for the sake of it (or something) and that Martha Graham and Pina Bausch were non-living proof that men are overlooked too (or something).
The dance media, such as it is, started piling into the debate with Luke Jennings, from the Observer, taking a shot at Mr Khan, in the nicest possible way, and Ismene Brown, from The Spectator, proving that prejudice against women dance makers doesn't exist because she could name female dance makers, or something.
The icing on the cake though was an 'open letter', that was only supplied to The Stage (stop laughing at the back) crafted by a few female dance folk and signed by some 400 others that tore a metaphorical strip from Mr Khan's ass;
"Gender imbalance is deeply embedded in society at large; to suggest that in dance it exists by chance rather than because of sexist infrastructure is disingenuous and misleading. Patterns of discrimination, we well know, occur across all areas of culture and employment. Currently, out of 16 Associate Artists at Sadler's Wells, only four are women; of the 36 companies showing work at British Dance Edition (the industry showcase), only 10 are led by women. Only four women in the entire history of the Academy Awards have been nominated for Best Director. Women account for 8.6% of all executive roles of the largest companies on the London Stock Exchange (as of 2015), and currently only 22 world leaders (out of nearly 200) are women."
Mr Khan's thoughts on all of this are, at the time of writing, unknown but given his staggeringly stupid reference to Martha Graham and Pina Bausch, two dance makers who worked a generation apart, are both deceased and in no way impeded the career development of any male dance maker, perhaps it would be best if he didn't say anything at all.
We should point out that we did ask for a copy of the letter but it was not sent directly to us, only to The Stage, the trade paper that first published Mr Khan's ridiculous comments and then failed to follow up on them, perhaps because they didn't know who Pina Bausch and Martha Graham were? Although they did publish the letter and the names of the signatories in its entirety they embedded the letter as an image file, presumably so it could not be copied, or searched via Google!
This is what happens when your publication is owned and operated by 8 year olds. The purpose of an "open letter" is to have the letter read by as many people as possible, not just the people who can be bothered to log into The Stage. The letter is embedded below via Scribd for your perusal.
Have a nice weekend.
The more observant among our readership may have noticed that, apart from keeping the auditions up to date as much as possible, we haven't published a new piece of work on Article19 since September 4th when we debuted our "Dance Stories" video feature.
So where on earth have we been all this time?
For the most part we have been ensconced in Norway filming a documentary for a local dance company for the last few months. Travel both within the country and back and forth from these shores takes time and a toll on the creative energy (and regular energy) needed to craft new content. October also brought us the Coda Oslo International Dance Festival, 2 weeks of non-stop performances and other shenanigans in the land of funny hats.
Never fear though, because we will be back to normal in short order. Coming up we have more than a dozen new video features from dance companies across the world with an eclectic range of ideas featured within. There are also a few video features that have been delayed for a while because the work load got a little too crazy. We will also be bringing you the afore mentioned documentary that all who work in dance should find both interesting and useful. Be warned though, it is a lot longer than 3 minutes and does feature copious amounts of dance footage. Marketing folk may want to avert their eyes from that particular video when it bows.
In none video related news there have been quite a few stories in the wide world of dance that we have not yet covered but feel the need to "get to". The ongoing issue of sexism in dance is, if anything, getting worse following the announcement from British Dance Edition (who knew that was still a thing? Ed!) of their line up for next year's event in Wales. Sadler's Wells also announced a new season of works for a couple of "well known" ballet dancers that leans far too heavily on the X chromosome. The big London theatre is also playing it fast and loose with the truth on some numbers they have been publishing.
Arts Council England, how we've missed them, have been getting tied up in knots by the government over the construction of a new arts facility in Manchester. Millions of pounds to build, millions more to keep the lights on, it's business as usual in arts funding central as the regular artists of this world struggle to stay afloat.
For more trivial matters, we look toward Random Dance [Company] and their publication of a somewhat dubious photo that placed a little too much emphasis on a female dancer's crotch for many who cared to look. Unusually, the dance maker in question, Wayne McGregor, got into a minor tussle with an Observer journalist on The Twitter, accusations were levelled, points were rebutted and it all ended with a whimper.
With any luck we will bring you all of this, and perhaps more, before Christmas comes calling along with some re-designing and rebuilding of everybody's favourite dance website. If Article19 is not your favourite dance website then we do, of course, forgive you, but we will never forget.
Stay tuned and stay slippy!
Top Image - Julie Dronnen Ekornes teaches a workshop at Nokkeland Skole in Moss, Norway as part of the Tilt project run by Panta Rei Danseteater.
It would appear that funding cuts or the general lack of funding for the arts is not isolated to this little island of ours. La La La Human Steps, the company founded by Édouard Lock and based in Quebec, Canada has closed its doors due to financial difficulties.
The home page of the company's website simply states that they are "no more". Mr Lock goes into more detail in a statement also posted to the company website;
"Its (sic) been an amazing journey full of outsized memories folded over decades. The artists I met, worked with and today hold as friends. The people we performed for and those who made our performances possible. Memories linked one to the other regardless of time or origin. Today this wonderful adventure ends. I'm announcing my resignation as choreographer and artistic director of LaLaLa Human Steps, a position it's been my great privilege to hold for 35 years. The last tour was a difficult one financially. Though the debt was reduced substantially due to the generosity of many of our creditors, the cuts that followed and the decision not to guarantee more than the current year of subsidy has made it impossible to continue. My letter of resignation has been sent to the funders and a resolution dissolving the company has been signed by the board. LHS is no more. It's time to say goodbye and to give thanks."
The statement goes on to thank every dancer who has ever worked with the company, a considerable number of performers given the company's 35 year history, along with all the other creative folk the company has engaged.
Some might argue, given the 35 year run the company had, that the transition into oblivion is a natural progression and better to find an end point, however involuntary, rather than keep churning away until the end of time but the loss of any company, anywhere in the world is never a good thing in the wide but relatively small world of dance.
A very limited video archive remains on the company website or at this Vimeo link (https://vimeo.com/lllhs) but there's no telling how long it will last.
'Avengers Age Of Ultron' Image courtesy of Marvel
Welcome dear readers to a roundup of the news, the frequency of which is so unpredictable it makes you want to punch someone in the lip and leave the band because "you just can't take it anymore", or something.
Better Together, Sort Of
Coming to a cinema near you next month is 'Avengers, Age of Ultron' the latest "the world is gonna end" movie from the studio that brought you, the first Avengers movie.
As well as providing us with a reason to use an image from said movie in the header of this piece it also furnishes us with a useful metaphor to use with this story.
You see, the Avengers are a conglomerate, if you will, of superheroes who get together to fight unspeakable evil. Although in this case the evil is speakable because said evil's name is in the title of the film and, if the trailers for the film are anything to go by, Mr Ultron never shuts up.
Instead of just IronMan you also get The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Vision, Captain America (go Cap! Ed!) and the guy with the bow and arrow who's a bit lame. The idea is that 10 superheroes are better than one, especially when the The BigBad™ is really really bad!
However, the Avengers spend most of their time bickering and actually fighting each other because they all have issues coupled with a highly suspicious disregard for the safety of thousands of civilians as they stomp around smashing up entire cities!
Keeping that in mind step forward DUK, ADAD, NDTA and YDE. If you don't know what all of those acronyms mean it doesn't really matter but Arts Council England, our very own BigBad™, has awarded the four of them £650K per year to get together and bicker and fight a lot about who gets to use the really big hammer to hit things with, or something.
ACE said this much about the award;
"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."
As we all know this unholy partnership will almost certainly achieve none of those things because, let's face it, most of the plans hatched by ACE don't work and usually result in the formation of completely unnecessary and massively expensive National Youth Dance Companies (do you see what we did there? Ed!)
Let us also pause for a moment and consider the fact that £650K per year is going to be put into even more administration, paperwork, meetings and seminars.
This alliance will run for three years at least and after they have spent almost £2Million we imagine there will be a lot of leaflets lying about that nobody ever wanted, the National Youth Dance Company will be receiving more funding than the Royal Opera House and professional dancers, the foundation of all that is dance, will still be getting treated like crap.
Maybe we need to recruit the Avengers to fight this lot?
The One Direction of the contemporary dance world Hofesh Shechter has announced the formation of a new apprentice/post- graduate dance company or something.
Within the company there will be 8 dancers between the ages of 18 and 25. Now, we know what your thinking; "so what"? There are plenty of post-graduate companies around and they all do a pretty good job of prepping the dancers for a future in the wider world of dance.
One small difference with the Hofesh Shechter variant is that the dancers get paid for their efforts although there is no word on how much they get paid. So far, so good.
The stand out part of this story however is the name of the company which is, wait for it, "Shechter Junior" a name that couldn't possibly be more stupid, patronising and condescending if it tried.
You hear that name and you immediately think of 5 year olds in baggy pants bashing around a backlit stage while a group of 8 year olds thump on some really big drums before everybody starts crying because they want to take a nap!
The post-graduate group for Jasmin Vardimon Company is simply titled as JV2. The younger version of Nederlands Dans Theatre is NDT2. Those names are simple, effective and not all massively embarrassing. We suppose Mr Shechter could use HS2 but in the UK at least that acronym has some dubious connotations and far too many jokes could be made that must never be uttered out loud.
You get a C for effort as far as the company goes and Z- for the stupid name.
Over and Out
Finally we have the story of the demise of what used to be Hampshire Dance. After losing all of their funding from ACE a few years ago the organisation fought on for a long time under the name Dance Up, providing education and outreach work in their own corner of the country.
Hampshire Dance and Dance Up were also home to Hampshire Youth Dance Company, a group that started the careers of at least 2 highly accomplished dancers that we know of; Natalie Trewinnard formerly of Scottish Dance Theatre and now with Ballet Lorent and Alisdair Stewart, currently with Motionhouse Dance Theatre.
Now their number is finally up because there is literally no money left from anywhere. When you read the story above about some ridiculous dance super-agency getting £650K a year or, once again, National Youth Dance Company and their £450K budget or the Chancellor of the Exchequer bribing voters in London and over rated conductors with a million pounds here and a million pounds there it makes you wonder just what kind of future the wide world of dance is facing.
Have a nice weekend.
Roll up, roll up for our completely erratic and somewhat unpredictable round-up of the weeks news in the arts that we write
every week when we can think of something really sarcastic to say about that weeks news.
Word reaches us via Arts Council England (stop laughing at the back) that English National Opera (ENO) has been kneecapped by the funding monolith for being completely incompetent, or something.
ENO is, or rather was, a National Portfolio Organisation but, upon reflection, ACE has decided they are not worthy of that title so has placed them into some sort of "special arrangement" where they get to keep their funding but lose their NPO status.
"ENO is offered funding for two years. The agreement will combine elements of the NPO and transition funding agreements previously proposed in July 2014. £12.38m revenue funding per year, with an additional £6.13m of transition funding, will be made available to the company over the two years to enable it to operate and make changes to its business model."
Apparently ENO's business model of making and performing opera is not to ACE's liking.
Here in TheLab™ it's hard to drum up any kind of sympathy for ENO since they are the company that were paying dancers appallingly low wages (and still do we hear) for taking part in their various productions.
Over the past few months and years the London based company has been bleeding money and senior staff members. We would name those staffers but to be perfectly honest, nobody really cares who they are. Basically; well paid, well fed folk in business wear, nuff said!
During the NPO announcements last year the world discovered that ENO would be losing millions in annual funding, somewhat mitigated by ACE giving them more millions in "transitional support and restructuring funding because, hey, we're just that crazy!". (they might not have said it was for that reason)
In our piece covering the paupers wages scandal "The United States of Nobody Gives a Sh*t" the performing arts union Equity was found seriously lacking in their ability to stick up for the dancers.
When the news of the ENO kneecapping was made public Equity did release a statement blaming the funding cuts for ENO's current predicament;
"No business model can survive the degree of cuts the company has had to absorb and we believe that it is the overall reduction in arts funding which has caused the Arts Council to question the long term future of the ENO. Restoring government investment is essential and reversing the cuts to the arts will be a key campaigning issue for Equity members in the run up to the general election."
The announced massive cuts to ENO's funding don't actually kick in until April so, as ever, Equity is not making a lot of sense. and the union didn't care that much while ENO was treating dancers like crap while running millions in surplus.
Arts Council England is also not in a position to challenge questionable business plans since they are the ones currently throwing £8Million away on the TheSpace website and all of its horrific content.
In addition, the current Chairman of ACE is Peter Balzagette, formerly the Chairman of ENO who announced they had run up losses of over £2Million soon after he left that post.
So, it's all a bit, pot, kettle, etc.
Kenneth Tharpe, chief bottle washer at ThePlace™®, chimed in by tweeting a link to Equity's press release.
As you can see, we pointed out that Mr Tharpe would do do well to show support for the dancers who are treated with a massive lack of respect by the ENO.
As expected, he failed to respond. As always, the dance world spending too much time talking about the wrong things.
ENO can exit their special arrangement if it learns how to behave itself and stops spitting at the other children.
Gustavo Ramírez Sansano
If you've never heard of Mr Sansano then join the club because neither had we, here in TheLab™. He was set to become the new AD of National Dance Company Wales but held onto the position for all of 0 minutes for reasons set out by Andrew Davies, Chairman of NDCW;
"I regret to announce that due to immovable work commitments Gustavo Ramírez Sansano will be unable to take up the position of Artistic Director at National Dance Company Wales. Having made extensive attempts to overcome prior freelance contracts and commitments, NDCWales and Gustavo are now in full agreement that it will not be possible for him to begin work to a time-frame that is suitable for the needs of the Company."
Reading between the lines it would appear that Mr Sansano didn't want to give up his freelance gigs to take the full time gig running a large dance company that has been without an AD for a very very long time.
It's all a bit odd because if he had those commitments before he took the job he should probably have known that he couldn't get out of them so why did he accept the job offer with NDCW?
Or maybe Mr Sansano thought he could take the NDCW job, run out all of his freelance gigs and the company would just wait around for him to move to Wales and get started? Have your cake and eat it, so to speak.
Seems the board of NDCW needs their heads knocked together or perhaps somebody could buy them a copy of "Hiring ADs for Dummies" because they clearly need some assistance.
The process of hiring another new AD has already started so we expect NDCW to have a new director in place by the end of the 21st century, assuming that person can get out of their unbreakable freelance commitments and move their apparently over worked ass to Wales that is.
Maybe they could hire somebody called Hofesh or Akram or Russell or Will or James or ..... you get the point.
The Week in Tweets
We end with a tweet from today when DanceUK, an organisation that does something in dance that is not entirely clear, asked if we are training too many people in dance.
Have a nice weekend!
The new ACE CEO is the one of the right.... at least we think it's the one on the right, can't really tell!
Arts Council England has announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer to replace the outgoing "man with a personal personality vacuum" Alan Davey. Darren Henley will take up the job when he leaves his current position running the commercial classical music radio station Classic FM.
Ironically Mr Davey is leaving to take charge of BBC Radio 3, a station that specialises in classical music. At the time of writing we were unable to confirm with the Funding Monolith if running a classical music radio station was a prerequisite for being appointed CEO, mainly because we didn't ask them.
The press mug shot doing the rounds on various websites suggests Mr Henley is the long lost 1st cousin of Mr Davey. Again, The Big Bad did not confirm whether or not certain facial characteristics were required to fill the CEO position.
Other than running a radio station Mr Henley's connection to the arts appears to extend to a couple of reports he wrote for the Department for Education and the Department for Culture Media and Sport, who had a firm hand in his appointment to his new job.
"The two independent reviews he carried out for the Department for Education and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport into music and cultural education were published in 2011 and 2012. They resulted in a range of new initiatives including England's first National Plan for Music Education, a new network of Music Education Hubs, the Museums and Schools programme and the creation of the National Youth Dance Company."
Over at The Spectator Norman Lebrecht today is frothing at the mouth about ACE, because that's what they do, and suggests Mr Henley will;
"... apply a sound business sense to the ACE structure and a shrewd eye for cost/benefit ratios to the priorities for subsidy."
That's a somewhat hilarious claim given that ACE credit him with the creation of The National Youth Dance Company a £400,000 per year boondoggle that does precisely nothing to advance the prospects of young people in dance who wish to become professionals. Good start Darren!
Another curiosity about Mr Henley is the mans personal Twitter account. He currently follows more than 10,000 people on the micro messaging service. This is a common trick of Twitter spammers, they follow you to get your attention and then completely ignore any actual communication you have with them.
His Twitter feed shows no direct responses to anybody that we could see. If this is an example of his communications prowess then not much will be changing at the Funding Monolith in the coming years.
Mr Henley takes up the post at some point in the near future. If you remain very quite and don't move at all then you may just hear the sound of nothing at all happening.
image courtesy of Snoopy.com
Welcome dear readers to our regular(ish) disassembly of the weekly news in the wide world of the arts where your favourite publication mixes reality with the truth. (That makes no sense at all, Ed!)
Singing For Your Supper
The BBC is reporting that Sadler's Wells in London are teaming up with the BBC on a new televised dance competition that will lead to the end to all wars and global peace in our time, or something.
The competition aims to find the best dancer in the world aged between 16-20 for no other reason than that's the demographic this show is aimed at. Also, because this is television, you can't be ugly, not even a little bit.
When it eventually starts the show will air on BBC4 before transferring to BBC2 at some point where even more people will choose not to watch it.
As with all things Sadler's Wells the usual suspects will be marched out to act as judges. The list includes Mathew Bourne (who promises not to award the first prize to any of his best friends), Wayne McGregor, Akram Khan and Tamara Rojo.
Carlos Acosta will be the "competition ambassador" because he used to be poor but now he's not, he also wears funny hats. Any contestant who loses their passport will be able to visit Mr Acosta in a fake embassy he has reportedly built from cardboard boxes in the lobby of Sadler's Wells to seek assistance.
For the BBC News piece Ms Rojo said;
"I really believe that this award can raise the profile of dance once again"
The AD of the English National Ballet did not explain how, why or at what point before a pointless dance competition had raised the profile of dance.
Additionally, so many people over the years have spoken about this, that or the other "raising the profile" of dance that at this point the profession should have profile so high you need a lift on Richard Branson's stupid rocket ship to reach it.
Alistair Spalding, Chief Bottle Washer at the London theatre, said;
"It shows that anyone with a talent, who can apply it, could go on to make a professional career..."
That sentence fails completely to explain Mr Spalding's career progression to date.
Curiously the BBC does not detail what the eventual winner of this competition will receive. We could contact Sadler's Wells to find out but we really don't care that much.
We, here in TheLab™, feel certain that the triumphant young dancer will be find their path to future employment easier because every dance audition we have ever published states the applicant "must have won at least one pointless dance competition" in their list of requirements.
It's entirely possible that we are making that up!
[ Source: BBC News ]
The Stage is reporting (stop laughing at the back) that Alan Davey, the CEO of Arts Council England, is set to leave the funding monolith to
spend more time with his cats become the new controller of BBC Radio 3.
That's the station your car's auto-tuner always stops on when you're actually looking for button that switches your radio to Spotify so you can listen to music you actually like.
"Davey said: "I am feeling really conflicting emotions today. When I was approached about applying to be controller of Radio 3 I knew that it would be the only job I could conceive of leaving the Arts Council for."
The arts world in general is probably feeling less conflicted considering Mr Davey has overseen a massive loss of funding for the arts, done nothing to correct the regional imbalance in funding awards, gave up without a fight on huge losses in arts lottery funding during the Olympics, wasted huge sums of money on The Space on two occasions, accepted pay increases for senior ACE staff as arts organisations were being cut....... the list goes on.
Mr Davey is also the latest high profile arts bod to go over to the BBC after Tony Hall took the top job at the national broadcaster in 2012. Must be nice to have friends in all the right places.
What was Alistair Spalding saying above about talent and career progression? Make of this what you will.
No word on a successor for the CEO post as yet but don't bet on anybody too radical taking up the job. It will probably all be business as usual.
The Week In Tweets
If you don't follow Article19 on Twitter then you should, because we're hilarious! As evidence we present exhibit A.
the way that photo is formatted @chameleon_info makes it look like a show about cod and chips on a boat! :o()— Article19 (@Article19) September 30, 2014
Have a good weekend.
Welcome dear readers to another weekly round up of the arts in the news from the barbed fingers of our elite link gathering team.
We can't remember a week when we didn't report on people in the arts targeting other people in the arts because of their associations with Israel.
This week (as reported by the Guardian) it's the Tricycle Theatre in London "banning" the 'Jewish Film Festival' thanks to a £1,400 donation from the Israeli Embassy.
So tainted is the money, in the eyes of the board of the Tricycle, that they couldn't bring themselves to be associated with an event that has been running for years.
"However, Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of the Tricycle, said due to the sensitivity of the ongoing Israeli-Palestine conflict, the theatre's board had taken the decision not to host the festival under its current sponsorship arrangement.
She said: "The festival receives funding from the Israeli embassy and, given the current conflict in Israel and Gaza, we feel it is inappropriate to accept financial support from any government agency involved."
The obvious irony here is that the Tricycle theatre receives money from Arts Council England and the UK government is involved, at any one time, in about a dozen armed conflicts around the world in one way or another.
UK Inc™ also supplies weapons to the Israelis and as Nick Cohen from The Spectator points out;
"The grant did not come with political conditions attached, any more than an Arts Council grant from the British state comes with insistence that artists promote the policies of the British government. The organisers were not desperate for the money, particularly after the Tricycle offered to cover the loss. (Or rather offered to cover it with taxpayers' money from its £725,000 Arts Council grant.) The organisers refused to comply nevertheless."
You know things are getting rough in the wide world of the arts when Article19 is in agreement with a writer from The Spectator.
No word yet on whether or not the Tricycle will be banning Israeli citizens from their venue because, ultimately, they are the ones, through their taxes, who fund the Israeli government and given the "sensitivity" of the current situation letting them through the door would probably not be appropriate... right?
Arts Council England, in a statement, said they were not going to do anything about such a blatantly political decision on the part of the Tricycle, stating;
"If the question arises as to whether the Arts Council should intervene in funded organisations we consider three things: whether the organisation is in breach of their funding agreement with the Arts Council, whether it is clear that they have broken the law, and whether they are in breach of the regulations monitored and enforced by the Charity Commission. In this case we are confident that the Tricycle is not in breach of these tests."
Nick Cohen again however disagrees;
"If it were an honourable organisation, the Arts Council would resolve the double standard by withdrawing funding. Its policy documents state: 'Our definition of diversity encompasses responding to issues around race, ethnicity, faith, disability, age, gender, sexuality, class and economic disadvantage and any social and institutional barriers that prevent people from creating, participating or enjoying the arts.' The closure of Britain's leading Jewish film festival surely prevents 'people from creating, participating or enjoying the arts.' "
This blatantly prejudicial nonsense should remind us all the the arts institutions of this country, the publicly funded ones at least, are not the play things of those in charge of them. Arts leaders in the UK are mostly silent on the internal politics and policies that effect millions of people in the UK and damage the UK's cultural landscape.
When it comes to bullying student dance companies, Israeli theatre companies or the Jewish Film Festival though too many are willing to give voice to their small minded and thoroughly subjective thinking with little or no consequence to their privileged positions.
Ramp it Up
There's trouble in the north reports the Yorkshire Post as local artists gear up to protest an exhibition by Greyson Perry not because of the content but because of the lack of accessibility of the venue to disabled people.
"Turner Prize-winning Perry, who is also famed for cross-dressing, will have a series of contemporary tapestries displayed in the South Wing of Temple Newsam House, in east Leeds, in his exhibition 'The Vanity of Small Differences' from August 23 to December 7 but the main exhibition space is accessible only by stairs."
Apparently the bitter north has not discovered the wonder of the ramp or expanded their technological horizons to the discovery of the lift (a device apparently invented in 287 BC, all hail Wikipedia for that one).
A spokesman fro Leeds City Council, who may or may not have been eating a pie at the time, said;
"...the level of accessibility at the Perry exhibition is "not what we would wish it to be", adding that one tapestry will be on show in a fully accessible area and a virtual tour and interactive downloadable app has been created."
So they can do "apps" but they can't do ramps or lifts... got it!
Here in TheLab™ we feel sure there is some sort of law about making buildings accessible to people with disabilities so the "leaders" [cough] of Leeds City Council will surely be hauled in for questioning by end of business today.
The Week In Tweets
On The Twitter a discussion developed about how best the illustrate our very own EvilImp™ in a dance piece. To which we responded with a video clip.
Have a nice weekend and if you feel so inclined please donate to our Kickstarter campaign.
Welcome dear readers to the latest week in the arts. Summer time is normally quiet time but this week saw dancers revolting and selective reasoning stifling free expression at the EFF.
Out of Flanders
Flanders Today is reporting (no, seriously) that the Royal Ballet of Flanders has parted company with their new(ish) artistic director Assiss Carriero, the former head of Dance East in Ipswich.
After just two years in the post Ms Carriero was apparently shown the door after the company started to fall apart at the seams, literally.
"Over the last two years, the company has toured far less, giving dancers fewer opportunities to perform, and the level of physical condition decreased. That meant that the injuries suffered routinely by dancers took longer to heal. A dossier was put together containing "dozens" of complaints to be submitted to the committee charged with accident prevention and protection in the workplace."
When the company you work for is starting to compile "dossiers" of things that are going wrong then the writing is very much on the wall. Ms Carriero's appointment was baffling, to say the least, given that she was never a dancer or a choreographer in any capacity, ever. We, here in TheLab™, are not aware of any dance company in the UK where the AD is not a current or former professional dancer.
It's like asking the TheImp™ to manage Manchester United football team. It would be entertaining for sure but ultimately disastrous.
"She had little dance experience, unions complained, and mainly worked in co-ordinating roles. "She let it be known that she will not be attending rehearsals or auditions herself, but will bring in assistants and consultants to support her in those activities,"
Any choreographers or company AD's reading this will, at the time of reading, be cleaning coffee from their computer screens. How do you run a dance company, manage repertoire and hire dancers without being "in the room"?
Things apparently got worse at the Antwerp based ensemble when the dancers started revolting against the leadership with no confidence votes and by, literally, walking out in search of pastures new.
"Dancers wrote a letter to the organisation's board late last year citing that 69% of them had voted no confidence in the artistic director. Eventually, one-third of the company left - 15 dancers out of 45, including some of the more prominent names."
Royal Ballet of Flanders never did fully explain what they were thinking when they hired the former AD of Dance East to begin with. Dance companies need artistic directors to, you know, direct the art. You can't just sit in an office and run the whole show from afar using "consultants".
No word yet on a replacement but Filip van Huffel is "in country" and could possibly be persuaded to right the ship. We feel sure he would want to attend rehearsals, and auditions, and classes and performances.
Another success for childish fist thumping as The Scotsman reports on the withdrawal of Pola, an Israeli student dance company, from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival currently underway in the Scottish capital.
"The troupe, targeted by pro-Palestine campaigners because it is attached to the state-funded Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, were warned by the venue's producers last week of the risk of large-scale protests outside if their visit went ahead."
This follows the story from last week about the show by Israeli theatre company Incubator being forced to cancel their month long run because of the disruption caused by the protestors at their venue.
"Doubts over the group's visit to Edinburgh emerged on Friday hours after the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign vowed to step up its campaigning by trying to have Pola's show, La Karina, called as part of a "cultural boycott." However both the council and the venue insisted the decision to cancel the shows had been taken by the university company."
The protestors take issue with pretty much anything that is funded by the Israeli public (although they use phrases like "state sponsored").
What the protestors don't take issue with is any other publicly funded arts company from other countries that could be linked to the ongoing chaos in the Middle East.
The UK supplies weapon systems to the Israeli Defence Force for example so these guys should also be demonstrating outside any show funded by Arts Council England or Creative Scotland.
Perhaps the main difference is that the UK government is not run by Israelis? Make of that what you will.
The Week In Tweets
At Article19 we launched our first ever fundraising campaign for £3,000 so we can keep this whole thing on the internets and make more stuff for you, our dear readers.
News: Article19 launches a Kickstarter campaign --> http://t.co/pIdfxJBvbD | we can't fix global energy problems, but we can do this!— Article19 (@Article19) August 5, 2014
And with that massively obvious piece of self promotion we wish you all a great weekend.
The fund raising game is not something we, here in TheLab™, ever imaged entering into. We've survived this long on very little, as do many working in the wide world of dance, but at this moment in time needs must.
So, we have put our plans on hold for a fundraising campaign to harness the power of the sun to give free energy to everybody in the world because A: we don't know science and B: it would probably cost $46Trillion, which is more money than is currently in existence.
Apart from one occasion three years ago Article19 does not receive any public funding and nobody gets paid to do this but it does cost a lot of money to produce all of the content. So we are kickstarting (you see what we did there?) the next year and beyond on Article19 with a fundraising push. The money will be used to create video features, the written content and pay for all of the services that keep Article19 online.
We have set a target of £3,000 but the more money we raise the more content we can produce. The more money we raise the more work we can film created and performed by new and existing dance companies across the UK and possibly beyond.
On average a video feature can cost £200 to create and that's just the logistical costs. We will also be able to create more features, blogs, editorials and deliver more auditions and other notices to our readers, new and old alike.
Our fund raising video from the Kickstarter campaign.
Article19 is fundraising to, essentially, keep Article19 online, produce a lot more content for our readers and, with a little luck, make it an even stronger voice in the wide and often wacky world of dance, both online and offline.
If you can help then that would be great. If you can't then we understand, but do mention our campaign to others who might be interested. We promise to get back to our free energy for all idea as soon as we pass "Introduction to Quantum Physics".