Diagnostic of the Dissemination of Dance for Young Audiences

Trends and Issues

The study identifies the trends and issues in the dissemination of dance for young audiences (DYA) in Canada based on interviews with artists, companies, artists’ agents, producers, pre­senters, networks and representatives of federal and provincial public funding institutions.

Overview of Main Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations:

Arts Education

Main Challenges

  • Responsibility shared between federal, provincial and local governments
  • Lack of longitudinal research of the benefits of DYA

Main Opportunities

  • Diversity of experiences among Canadian provinces and cities brings up best practices
  • Funding available through univer­sities and research councils

Recommendations

  • Arts Education as a strategic priority for all governments (Recommendation A1)
  • Fund longitudinal research on the benefits of DYA (Recommendation D3)
Residencies and workshops

Main Challenges

  • Residencies are expensive and are long and difficult to plan; workshops could fit well within a DYA tour

Main Opportunities

  • Residencies and workshops con­tribute to a more profound en­gagement within a community

Recommendations

  • Provide support to co-applications for residencies and workshops (Recommendations B3B4)
Performance Fees

Main Challenges

  • Low fees for DYA in the school system and by facility-based presenters

Main Opportunities

  • Increase fees from schools and presenters to better working con­ditions of dancers

Recommendations

  • Increase grants provided to schools and DYA presenters in order to raise the fee paid per performance (Recommendation A5)
Curriculum and DYA Touring

Main Challenges

  • Need to link a dance perfor­mance to curriculum through a study guide

Main Opportunities

  • Benefits of working with arts edu­cators to enhance experience for artists, educators and youth in of­fering study guides

Recommendations

  • Supporting printed and virtual study guides as an eligible expense for a touring grant (Recommendation A8)
In-kind Contribution

Main Challenges

  • In kind contributions are not consistently recognized as a source of earned revenue

Main Opportunities

  • Small communities and reserves may provide in kind contributions

Recommendations

  • Recognize in kind contributions as earned revenue in touring pro­grams (Recommendation B6)
Priority Groups

Main Challenges

  • Youth demographic is increas­ingly diverse, and this should be reflected in presenters’ pro­gramming

Main Opportunities

  • Exposing children to a diversity of approaches to artistic, physical, linguistic and cultural expression, enrich their arts education, and contribute to social cohesion through mutual understanding

Recommendations

  • Priority should be given to pre­senters that program works from priority groups (Recommendation A4)
Professional Training

Main Challenges

  • Teachers’ lack of knowledge and sometimes discomfort with dance as an art form
  • Teachers overwhelmed and unable to support youth pre and post performance

Main Opportunities

  • Encourages creativity, body awareness, cooperation, team­work, group problem solving, dif­ferent modality of learning, expo­sure to diversity of dance practic­es, exploration of issues and chal­lenges that speak to youth

Recommendations

  • Provide access to professional training on dance to teachers and educators (Recommendation C1)
  • Provide access to specialized training to dance artists to work with and for young audiences (Recommendation C3)
Touring Networks

Main Challenges

  • Low fee, but guaranteed volume
  • Cost of bussing to venues
  • Need for networks and touring support outside of major urban centers
  • Lack of strong regional networks in all parts of Canada
  • Regional networks that do exist are under resourced

Main Opportunities

  • Standard contracts
  • Block-booking in regions
  • Selection done by a jury
  • Offering professional development workshops to artists and educators
  • Can include more tour coordination and administrative support

Recommendations

  • Regional networks should be better sup­ported and benefit from dedicated human resources to reinforce arts educa­tion, coordinate flexible initiatives, provide professional training to ed­ucators and presenters and coordi­nate regionally young audience touring (Recommendations A1, A6, A7, C1, C2)
Presenters’ Challenges

Main Challenges

  • Lack of dedicated DYA companies outside Quebec
  • Lack of financial resources to co­ordinate with schools
  • Lack of interest from partners (schools, teachers, parents)
  • No consistent funding for bus transportation from province to province and even at the school district level

Main Opportunities

  • Emergence of new DYA companies
  • Capacity to offer innovative, flexi­ble and multi-year coordinated in­itia­tives
  • Capacity for presenters to share dance training with educators
  • Potential to book a company that offers one program for schools and another program for general audience

Recommendations

  • Provide operating support to dedi­cated DYA companies (B1)
  • Support flexible and mul­ti-year ini­tiatives between presenters and schools to build appreciation for DYA (Recommendation A7)
  • Provide access to professional train­ing in dance to educators and pre­senters (Recommendations C1, C2)
  • Provide support for partnerships between schools and presenters (Recommendation B5)
  • Provide support for transportation costs (Recommendation A1)
Touring Support

Main Challenges

  • Not all provinces fund in-province touring
  • Less priority given to young audi­ence touring in some provinces and federally

Main Opportunities

  • Interesting programs in some provinces to support DYA: Artists in the Community Projects, Artists in Residence Programs, Youth Engagement Program, etc.
  • Increased collaboration with thea­tre for young audience venues and festivals (e.g. Maison Théâtre, Young Peoples Theatre and Manitoba The­atre for Young People, Wee Festi­val)
  • Regional Development Dissemina­tion Strategy (Québec)

Recommendations

  • Arts Education as a strategic priority for all governments (Recommendation A1)
  • Priority should be given to young audience companies in touring pro­grams (Recommendation A1)
  • Priority should be given to present­ers programming at least one DYA performance a year (Recommendation A2)
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