Dance In Ireland
Sir, - A recent article by Michael Seaver contained a number of inaccurate, broad sweeping statements, which have no foundation in fact, and which reflect a serious lack of knowledge of the dance world in Ireland.
This is the situation pertaining to the International Dance Festival at the moment. A percentage of the funding allocated by the Arts Council to Dance Fest '97 went towards a feasibility study entitled "An International Dance Festival for Ireland?" The Arts Council requested a response to the study from the Association of Professional Dancers in Ireland. The APDI discussed the Study at its AGM in May, and a response was formulated and submitted to the Arts Council. This response was very favourable, with clear, strong support for an international dance festival. The Arts Council has made it clear to the APDI that it does not see the organisation of a dance festival as a role for the APDI, and the APDI is awaiting, as is the dance community, the decisions which will come out of meetings to be held by the newly appointed council in September.
To read Mr Seaver's writings one would think that dance in Ireland is dying on its feet, when the reality is that there is a strong feeling of regeneration and excitement. There are at least five major productions in the pipeline at the moment, and Irish dance companies are performing at major international venues and festivals. The College of Dance has almost trebled its enrolment for this upcoming college year, rather than, as Mr Seaver would have us believe, "numbers attending dance training schools have decreased". Since 1995 the Dublin Fringe Festival has consistently programmed dance and this year's programme has doubled the number of productions since last year.
The Irish Times has had relatively little to say about dance in Ireland since the beginning of this year, and it saddens many members of the dance community to see a badly-researched article in such a prominent position in your paper. - Yours, etc.,
Teenagh Cunningham/Karen Hennessy,
The Association of Professional Dancers in Ireland,
De Valois House,
5 Meetinghouse Lane,