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Animated Edition - Spring 2008
From the editor
Ken Bartlett, Creative Director, Foundation for Community Dance
Can you feel the quality?
Two initiatives, both with their origins in Westminster's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), feature in this issue of Animated.

The first and most recent is the Dance Review undertaken by Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House in London. The Rt.Hon Margaret Hodge, MBE, MP, Minister for Culture at the DCMS sets out the response of the Culture Department and the Department of Children Families and Schools to the review. The Review has led to the announcement of considerable additional investment (£5.5 million) in dance and young people across England. This is fantastic news and might point the way to the other governments in the UK to make similar investment on behalf of their young people.

This new influx of cash should give us all the opportunity to widen the range of young people participating in dance and widen the range of dances with which they engage. We need to take advantage of a generation for whom dance is an increasingly important and positive part of their lives and aspirations. But let's listen to what it is that they want to do and how they want to progress with their dance(s), rather than assume that the key to progression is primarily towards professional training and employment. Clear bridges, pathways, maps (or whatever you choose to call them) from participation to employment are vital, but vital too is providing quality experiences for young people that equip them with the skills and resources to participate more actively in their communities, and in dance for life.

The main focus of the issue is a response to the report commissioned by James Purnell, the former Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport from Sir Brian McMaster into Assessing Excellence in the Arts (see www.culture.gov.uk to download a copy). We asked a range of people to make a personal response to the concepts of quality and excellence in their work in community dance.

Kate Castle, director of Dance South West has makes a direct reply to the McMaster Report, whilst others consider the concepts of quality and excellence in the work that they do. Common to all is: a strong commitment to ensuring that the art, artists and the community dancers with whom they engage are not only offered quality experiences to participate but quality experiences to perform and speak through their dance; recognition of the 'other' quality outcomes that that happen as a result of participating in quality community dance.

To quote Wieke Eringe, "By embracing the discussion about, excellence, risk taking and innovation... it allows us to define what makes community dance practice in the UK outstanding and world class".

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Animated: Spring 2008