Re: money = ability

Nick Rothwell (
8 Jan 1998 10:39:10 -0000

> >Perhaps it's a sense of attrition in the face of a middle-class mediawhich
> >seems to elevate it out of reach of the common man?
> I think that's very unfair.

Perhaps, but I also think that you're misinterpreting what I'm saying,
and/or the terms I'm using.

The phrase "the common man" is a figure of speech, not a derogatory
term; perhaps that's something peculiar to the British
culture. "Common people" is more derogatory, but that's not what I was

> To exactly which "elevation" are you referring. It can't be money.

No, it's not. Nor am I generally accusing the practitioners of dance
of being responsible. What I'm getting at is the following: if (as you
say) the public at large are so willing to pay large amounts of money
for trace and techno raves or Rolling Stones concerts, why don't they
turn out in huge numbers for dance.

Of course, you've now gone and come up with a counter-example! It
sounds as if the Nutcracker was well supported, but that tends to be
somewhat rare in the UK, where dance is not really regarded as
mainstream unless it's Riverdance and Tap Dogs, and the smaller,
experimental companies get very small audiences indeed.

So why is this? It's not a problem with the form per se; if Riverdance
can get such huge followings, then audiences are obviously happy to
sit and watch dancers moving around on a stage, and any stigma
associated with male dancers seems not to be the issue here. So is
contemporary work elitist and inaccessible? (I don't think so.) Is it
too expensive? (Obviously not.) Or is it presented by the media in a
way which suggests that one has to be part of an artistic clique in
order to get anything out of it? Or maybe we all just need much better
and well-organised publicity machines. Certainly, the numerous
education and outreach schemes employed by many companies these days
can only help the matter.

Curiously, perhaps (as others have said) the application of technology
to dance might help here, if we're interested in attracting audiences
who are used to getting their kicks from broadcast and
computer-generated media.

         Nick Rothwell, CASSIEL        contemporary dance projects        music synthesis and control

years, passing by, VCO, VCF, and again, and again