Rights and royalties, creativity and risk-taking and corporate governance are main concerns
(Full Press Briefing takes place today, Monday January 13 at 5pm at Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2)
The largest ever gathering of heads of international ballet companies
concluded a three-day think tank in Suffolk this weekend (January 10-12), hosted by Dance East, with a commitment to form an international network of Artistic Directors to address issues of rights and royalties, creativity and risk-taking and corporate governance.
Twenty-five Directors attended the retreat, representing fifteen countries and all scales of ballet company and individual experience. Five Directors have been in post for only a few months while others have been directing for up to 16 years.
The directors identified the importance of on-going communication, open exchange and mutual support to help them fulfil their role as custodians of the art form. Every company director present confirmed a commitment to:
- producing conditions conducing to the creativity which is at the heart of
the art form
- including new work as part of an individual and distinctive balance of
repertoire. They recognised that new work was vital for dancers and
The following statement reflects the nature of the debate:
"We recognise the impact of artistic, social, economic, technological and
political change and the implications of these changes for the future of the
"It is clear to us that nothing happens in our art form except through the
collaborative effort of many people and that ballet companies represent an
international community of individuals working towards the same goal."
The Directors agreed that certain issues were of concern to all companies
represented at the conference, and that these could most effectively be
addressed through working together. To that end, an informal, international
network of Artistic Directors was established.
Major issues discussed during the weekend included:
- The need to find better ways of ensuring access to the existing
repertoire, including addressing issues of rights and royalties.
- The imperative to take risks as a vital ingredient in a healthy and
- The need to find new ways of supporting successive generations of
choreographers and artistic directors.
- The social changes that require a wider range of ways of encouraging
dancers to develop a clear understanding of their artistic and professional
- The ways in which the support of the whole team underpins the
organisation, and is critical to the effective operating and continued growth
and development of the individual ballet company – and thus of the art form
as a whole.
- Making explicit the responsibilities and the concomitant rights of
artistic directors within the context of corporate governance.
These issues will be progressed through the contacts and working
relationships established over the weekend.
The next comprehensive meeting of Artistic Directors will take place in 2005.
Artistic Directors who attended the Rural Retreat: Ballet into the 21st
Boris Akimov (Bolshoi Ballet)
John Alleyne (Ballet British Columbia)
Frank Andersen (Royal Danish Ballet)
Reid Anderson (Stuttgart Ballet)
Mark Baldwin (Rambert Dance Company)
David Bintley (Birmingham Royal Ballet)
Dinna Bjorn (Finnish National Ballet)
Christopher Bruce (former Artistic Director, Rambert Dance Company)
Ricardo Bustamente (Ballet de Santiago, Chile)
Iracity Cardoso (Gulbenkian Ballet, Portugal)
Didier Deschamps (Ballet de Lorraine, France)
Wayne Eagling (Dutch National Ballet)
Espen Giljane (Norwegian National Ballet)
Kevin Irving (Goteburg Ballet)
Marc Jonkers (former Artistic Director, National Ballet of Portugal)
James Kudelka (National Ballet of Canada)
Ivan Liska (Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich)
Monica Mason (The Royal Ballet, London)
David McAllister (Australian Ballet)
Kevin McKenzie (American Ballet Theatre)
Mikko Nissinen (Boston Ballet)
David Nixon (Northern Ballet Theatre)
Madeline Onne (Royal Swedish Ballet)
Ashley Page (Scottish Ballet)
Matz Skoog (English National Ballet)
The Rural Retreat was supported by the Arts Council of England, East England
Arts, the Jerwood Foundation, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Rudolf
Nureyev Foundation, Freed of London, Visiting Arts, the Embassy of Sweden,
Canada Council for the Arts/Conseil des Arts du Canada, Canadian High
Commission, the Swedish Embassy, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the Royal
Norwegian Embassy, Royal Opera House and Aldeburgh Productions.