Big Dance Question Time

Dance umbrella Question Time

Man Up: The Gender of Choreography.
Is it time for quotas?

On Wednesday 6th July 2016, Dance Umbrella hosted a debate on gender inequality in choreography, supported by Big Dance and held at City Hall. The evening was introduced by Emma Gladstone, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella and chaired by Alistair Spalding CBE, Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sadler’s Wells. The panel members were Tamzin Fitzgerald, Artistic Director, 2Faced Dance, Vicki Igbokwe, Choreographer, Uchenna Dance and Lucy Kerble, Director, Tonic Theatre.

The debate fell in a year that has seen a triple bill choreographed by women alone, investigations into gender bias, a conference and a social media storm around the issue. It encouraged the audience to listen and engage with the issue of gender equality in choreography. 

Over 80 people participated in what proved to be a heated discussion which reflected a strong desire for change. Six action points were identified -

  • Implement strategic equality quotas with Boards, funders, Associate Artists and artistic programmes
  • Diversify programming teams to ensure programming of strong diverse work. 
  • Lobby trade organisations and industry stakeholders, raising the issue of gender inequality wherever possible
  • Provide continued support for women artists through increasing profile, mentoring and networks
  • Individuals in a position of influence to ‘cheerlead’ the cause for equality via selection panels, Boards, advisory bodies and networks they may be part of
  • The mantra that emerged for women in dance was 'Do it yourself, but don’t do it alone’

Dance Umbrella is determined that the debate will deliver genuine results and to this end will meet with the Mayor’s Office and One Dance UK in the next month.

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