The UK development organisation and membership
body for community and participatory dance
Animated Edition - Issues 1996 - 2001
Scottish moves
Animated, Spring 2001. In 1999, Scotland saw the re-establishment of the Scottish Parliament after a break of nearly 300 years. In the short time, we have seen a great deal of lobbying for increased funding for the arts followed by a National Cultural Strategy, which is aimed at putting the arts in Scotland in context and to act as a framework for the development of the Scottish Arts Council and other arts bodies introduced by the Scottish executive in August 2000. This, in turn, has already led to additional investment in the arts, as Patricia Eckersley explains

For a nation rediscovering and celebrating its independence and individuality, traditional dance is at the very heart of the country and a lot of work is going into researching and documenting some of its traditional dances. In the next three years the Scottish executive has committed a budget of £1.5 million to traditional arts and some of this will go to new initiatives in traditional dance, supporting the Scottish Traditions of Dance Trust, residencies, research and education work.

Within the Scottish Arts Council (SAC) dance has benefited from an overall increase in funding of more than 12 per cent for 2001/02. This increase has allowed financial investment in key dance organisations, in recognition of the important role they play in delivering quality dance. Scottish Dance Theatre, Scottish Youth Dance, Dance Base and New Moves International have all benefited.

SAC has increased funding for project dance companies and a growing network of regional centres to strengthen the infrastructure of dance and also to support the independent dancers. This spread of regional expansion includes Dance Base, Edinburgh; City Moves, Aberdeen; Dance House, Glasgow; and The Space, Dundee.

Lottery funding continues to support a range of development. There are now 16-dance artist in residence posts the length and breadth of the country from the Highlands and Islands to the Borders. A key priority for the Scottish Parliament is education, and these dance artists have a pivotal role to play in the expansion and diversity of dance education.

Capital investment from SAC's National Lottery Fund is also beginning to have an input on dance in Scotland. This autumn, Dance Base will open its new complex featuring four studios in Edinburgh's Grassmarket in the heart of Scotland's capital. And in Dundee, we will see the opening of The Space, a regional dance centre incorporating the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance. Geographically and architecturally significant, these two new buildings will be a huge boost to the infrastructure.

The Scottish School of Contemporary Dance in Dundee now has an established degree course, and is joined by a new degree course at Edinburgh's Telford College. Telford College is also leading the way in the development of dance and technology, with new opportunities for dance professionals coming on stream later this year.

SAC is more than a funding agency. We offer advice and information on the arts and work in partnership with other organisations to develop arts across Scotland. SAC is pleased that a series regular get togethers of key dance practitioners and organisations come collectively to keep informed of who is doing what and where. The informality of these gatherings has proven very useful for everyone. It is clear that there is a desire and need to listen and work together as a cohesive group in order to lobby and support all aspects of dance. Early days yet, but a dynamic and enthusiastic body of people are working together for the good of dance.

Patricia Eckersley, dance officer, Scottish Arts Council. Contact +44 (0)131 226 6051 or visit www.sac.org.uk

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Animated: Issues 1996 - 2001