Arts Council England
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Strictly Dance Mapping

More people than ever before are getting involved with dance according to a report published today by Arts Council England.


Dance mapping: a window on dance - the largest piece of research of its kind - offers a deep insight into the breadth and range of dance in England. The overwhelming message is that dance is an artform in growth with more than 40,000 people currently working in dance, and the amateur sector accounting for a fifth of all arts participation in England.

Dance mapping shows that popular culture has helped raise the profile of dance. TV shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and Billy Elliot the Musical captured the public’s imagination, leading to classes across the country filling up with dance accounting for more than one in 10 of all adult learning classes.

The report shows a new generation of emerging artists coming through the DCSF funded Centres for Advanced Training, and the number of people studying dance in higher education has increased by more than 97% in the past five years.

It also highlights the achievements of the increasingly entrepreneurial dance artists in this country, such as Akram Khan, the Royal Ballet and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, all in huge demand on a global level. Evidence suggests that dance’s contribution to the overall strength of the creative economy is growing with 45% of the workforce engaged with film, television, digital production, webcasting and music video.

Despite England becoming home to a dance sector that is the envy of the world, the research shows that though the dance workforce is highly educated (62% hold degrees) they are underpaid; 38% of people who make a living from dance only earned £5,000- £20,000 in 2008/09 and almost a quarter (23%) earned under £5,000. The Arts Council fears that the low levels of pay may affect the sustainability of careers, leadership within the sector and the ability of potential champions to emerge.

Janet Archer, Director of Dance strategy, Arts Council England said; “We want our dance organisations to be the best they can be; to make exciting, challenging and wonderful art for everyone to enjoy. Dance mapping provides us all with a clear picture of dance in this country, the challenges it faces and the very tangible opportunities it could embrace.

“I’m looking forward to working with the dance sector on seizing the chance to build on the hugely encouraging picture the report paints.”

Charlotte Vincent, Artistic Director, Vincent Dance Theatre said; “The Dance mapping report is an honest reflection of the breadth and range of dance now taking place in the UK. It is heart warming to witness the Arts Council’s growing recognition and understanding of the very real challenges that dancers and choreographers face. This new publication also documents the enormous achievements that dance artists have made over the last few years and I hope very much that this information is put to good use.”

Kenneth Olumuyiwa Tharp, Chief Executive, The Place said; “The Dance mapping report is detailed, factual study of dance across England which will be of great value to organisations like The Place which aim to widen access to dance and deepen opportunities for artists. It reflects the success our art form has enjoyed in recent years, and the challenges facing us, which The Place and all the country’s dance organisations and artists can look forward to working with the Arts Council to tackle.”

Dance mapping was carried out by Susanne Burns and Sue Harrison and was informed by research conducted with more than 1400 dance artists, companies and promoters working in England today. The report focuses on the period 2004-2008 and pulled together existing and new research.

To find out more about Dance mapping and read the full report, please go to


Notes to Editors:

Arts Council England works to get great art to more people. We develop and promote the arts across England, acting as an independent body at arm’s length from government.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.6 billion of public money from government and the National Lottery in supporting the arts.

This is the bedrock of support for the arts in England. We believe that the arts have the power to change lives and communities, and to create opportunities for people throughout the country.

For more information (media only) please contact:
Emma Russell
Arts Council England, National
Media Relations Officer
t:020 7973 6890

Arts Council England

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.

Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.