Last week 25 dance support organisations met in Paris for three days of talks, presentations and performances. As we are members of the World Dance Alliance Asia Pacific, we had also organised for WDA people to provide this mainly European group with more information about its activities.
These annual meetings are an opportunity to share dance support strategies, ideas and visions for the future. We were invited on the first day to share this year’s achievements, a challenge for many European organisations that face severe funding cuts. Despite funding difficulties all round, presentations were inspirational and visionary for dance, and we came away with many ideas for collaborations and future planning with now-familiar colleagues such as Madeline Ritter and Ingo Diehl (Germany), Caroline Miller (Dance UK) and our French colleagues Agnès Wasserman and Frédéric Moreau.
Several countries are developing cultural policies, particularly useful information for us as Australia’s cultural policy is being finalised by the government. Host Laurent Van Kote confirmed that French dance continues to be well supported, with policy developed on a ‘top down’ basis, centrally controlled from Paris but well funded and strategically effective.
Two other presentations, from World Dance Alliance delegates and the European Union representative, Corinne Szteinsznaider, gave us context for our own activities. It was clear that the EU considers Asia to be vital in future cultural partnerships, which made the WDA presentation even more relevant to the wider group.
The last day was focused on issues common to all of us: Dance plan evaluations, dancers’ career development, the digital environment, dance advocacy and documentation and copyright. We also discussed other global meeting opportunities, including the possibility of an international conference in 2015 that might be linked digitally across the world. Dance UK will take the lead on this exciting prospect, in cooperation with other countries planning national and international conferences.
The 2011 meeting was hosted by the National Dance Centre and funded by the French Ministry of Culture, who also provided dinners and performances as part of the program.