Dance mapping: a window on dance

Arts Council England,
25 September 2009, England

More people than ever before are getting involved with dance according to a report published today by Arts Council England.

Dance mapping: a window on dance - the largest piece of research of its kind - offers a deep insight into the breadth and range of dance in England. The overwhelming message is that dance is an artform in growth with more than 40,000 people currently working in dance, and the amateur sector accounting for a fifth of all arts participation in England.

Dance mapping shows that popular culture has helped raise the profile of dance. TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Billy Elliot the Musical captured the public’s imagination, leading to classes across the country filling up with dance accounting for more than one in 10 of all adult learning classes.

The report shows a new generation of emerging artists coming through the DCSF funded Centres for Advanced Training, and the number of people studying dance in higher education has increased by more than 97% in the past five years.

It also highlights the achievements of the increasingly entrepreneurial dance artists in this country, such as Akram Khan, the Royal Ballet and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, all in huge demand on a global level. Evidence suggests that dance’s contribution to the overall strength of the creative economy is growing with 45% of the workforce engaged with film, television, digital production, webcasting and music video.

Despite England becoming home to a dance sector that is the envy of the world, the research shows that though the dance workforce is highly educated (62% hold degrees) they are underpaid; 38% of people who make a living from dance only earned £5,000- £20,000 in 2008/09 and almost a quarter (23%) earned under £5,000. The Arts Council fears that the low levels of pay may affect the sustainability of careers, leadership within the sector and the ability of potential champions to emerge.