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Animated Edition - Winter 2005
From the editor
Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
One can become quite cynical working in the arts. But when the articles for this issue's focus came in I was forcefully reminded of the power that engaging with dance can have in transforming people's lives. Working with boys and young men can be fraught with difficulties but here we get a sense that there is a real groundswell of opportunity for boys to develop as the dancers they choose to be.

Veronica Jobbins gives us an overview of the changes happening for boys and dance in the state school sector. How very different from the time when a school could complain about not getting a gold Artsmark award because they didn't offer dance and saying 'but we are a boy's school' as their rationale for not finding some way or other to get boys dancing or watching dance. It's great to see those boundaries being broken at last.

So what transformations do these articles represent?

Transformation: of attitudes to dance and to education, as seen by the work of IRIE! including transformation from secondary school to further education; from failure within the education system to being positive role models for younger boys in Dylan Quinn's article about initiatives in Northern Ireland, of ambitions and aspirations as their experience of dancing provides form for their expressive needs and physical energy.

Transformation across a region because of the unstinting work of dance professionals across the North East as revealed by Janet Archer. Transformation of opportunity to start at three years old to enjoy and participate in dance into adulthood as illustrated by Miranda Johnson about the work of the Point in Eastleigh. And perhaps most importantly, transformation from learning steps to artistry.

In all of the articles, including David Massingham's article about a project yet to start about young men with mental health issues in Birmingham, the issue of the young men developing as artists and working with good artists is central to the work, whether it is the range offered to the Holloway Boyz project at Sadler's Wells or those in working with Beingfrank, a new performance company in the West Midlands. Kenneth Tharpe, interviewed by Scilla Dyke, talks with great clarity and passion about developing young artists in his own work as a teacher/artist.

As well as being concerned with developing the arts, Arts Council England has been investigating the arts and social inclusion, and we have published a review by Andrew Peggie of this initiative - 'The Art of Inclusion' by Helen Jermyn - who is the researcher also charged with review of the six Dance Included projects featured in Animated, Summer 2003.

With very best wishes for 2005 to all members, supporters and friends...

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Animated: Winter 2005