Artistic excellence and change

Artistic excellence and change

It’s been said many a time, but the story of dance in Ireland is the story of individuals. It’s a thin history, made up of individual threads of practice that has never been interwoven with schools of thought or aesthetics. The thin warp of personal ideals has never been joined by a weft of collective ideals.

It’s the reason that companies and projects have risen and fallen, mirroring the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of individuals. Often less tangible things are lost: the passionate advocacy of an individual to an aesthetic, an ideal or an idiosyncratic way of interrogating who we are through movement. It’s also the reason that extraordinary dance work has been produced, driven by the free-range imagination of the individual.

But we’re in danger of losing the primacy of the individual. Creative whims can get buried under an avalanche of paperwork as the arts are MBA-ised and personal visions have to be described in the language of tickboxes and mission statements. Every day individuals feel that they must bargain part of their artistic sovereignty in return for financial support.