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Animated Edition - Spring 2008
A new stage for young people's dance in England
The Rt. Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP, Minister for Culture, sets out the government's response to the Dance Review
I have now been in my current position as Minister for Culture for nearly a year and have enjoyed every moment of it. During this time I have had the pleasure of attending a variety of dance shows and events including the Ballet Boyz and Michael Clark Company's, Stravinsky Project. These shows have illustrated the world class standard of dance in the UK and I am proud to represent the sector across Whitehall and with my peers in the House.

As many of you may be aware, my predecessor David Lammy and Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools and Learners, commissioned Tony Hall to undertake a review of access and provision to dance both within and beyond the curriculum. Tony Hall spoke to a number of experts and representatives from the dance and education sectors and completed his review early in 2007. Since this point  the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) have been working together to deliver Tony's recommendations which broadly related to:

  • Dance's prominence in the curriculum
  • Supply of dance teachers in schools
  • Young people's access to professional dance performances.
  • Establishing a National strategy for dance - including establishing a Government Programme Board for Dance
  • Establishing a national youth dance organisation to work within and outside of schools
  • Establishing regional Dance Networks
  • Nurturing exceptional dance talent
  • Developing a strategy for training and workforce
  • Dance facilities in schools
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Using the Olympics as a catalyst for dance.

Working closely with individuals from the education and dance sectors we have been able to put in place structures to address these recommendations. Our way forward is discussed in more detail in the Government Response, which was printed alongside Tony Hall's Dance Review on 17th March. However I briefly wanted to discuss two key developments that have occurred in response to the Review.

Firstly, I wanted to highlight the cornerstone of our response to the Review. This is the fantastic news that through funding from Arts Council England (ACE) and the DCSF we are now able to strengthen Youth Dance England and expand their remit so they will become a strategic organisation for youth dance and dance in schools. This is a major step for creating a coherent offer of dance to young people in and out of schools.

Youth Dance England (YDE) will have the power to bring about real change and help ensure that all young people have the opportunity to dance. They will also play a vital role in progressing some of the longer term recommendations that Tony made including; drawing up a national strategy for youth dance. We believe the strengthening of Youth Dance England is a hugely important step in helping to realise the vision in Tony Hall's review.

Secondly, one of the Review's core recommendations was the need to bring coherency to the different schemes and funding initiatives on offer to young people in dance by setting up a joint DCMS and DCSF Dance Review Programme Board. This Board has now been established and has a fixed and focused agenda to address many of the Review's recommendations and work with YDE to help develop their expanded role. This board brings together the key funders of dance across DCSF, DCMS and ACE as well as key education stakeholders and government agencies such as Ofsted and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).

Thirdly YDE has been asked to take forward a small number of pilots of dance co-ordinators within the school sport structure. These pilots will be informed by a large survey of dance activity in schools which was conducted by the Youth Sport Trust earlier this year and is published on the DCSF website.

There are many more key strands to supporting and enhancing youth dance that have come out of the Review which we will be looking at, but I hope this has provided an insight into how Government, working with the dance sector, is seeking to create more opportunities for young people to dance.

The Review and our response marks a new stage for young people's dance and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tony Hall for his work and continued advice and also give my thanks to all the people from the dance and education sectors who took the time to speak to Tony.
I look forward to seeing YDE grow and develop and working with the Review Programme Board, help deliver a step-change for youth dance.

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Animated: Spring 2008