Fit to Dance Space Charter with Equity

Fit to Dance Space Charter

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, photo KK Dundas

One of the first venues to adopt the scheme, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, photo KK Dundas

One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme and Equity have joined forces to develop the new Fit to Dance Space Charter. The Fit to Dance Space Charter has been designed to encourage a minimum standard for dance audition and rehearsal spaces across the UK. Equity is the union representing dancers and One Dance UK is the national body for dance. Together they share a commitment to promote safe spaces for dance artists.

Audition and rehearsal venues which have signed up to be identified as a Fit to Dance Space demonstrate a commitment to environmental conditions which are suitable for dance work. Those who adopt the Charter recognise that adhering to certain standards of safety in these spaces is vital for the long-term health and safety of dancers.

Beth Doran of Equity’s Live Performance Department, says: “The impetus for this work came from a debate at the 2015 Equity Conference about encouraging better understanding among dancers about minimum conditions for dance rehearsal spaces. The Charter helps both Equity and One Dance UK’s memberships understand these minimum requirements better, highlights good practice and encourages better standards for our members. Wherever you see the Fit to Dance Space logo, you’ll know you are working in a studio which is committed to safe practice in dance.”

Helen Laws, One Dance UK’s Head of Industry and Artist Support, adds: “We are so excited to be working with Equity on this campaign. It builds on ODUK’s recommended Industry Standards for Dancers’ Health, Wellbeing and Performance and gives us a chance together, through the combined weight of our memberships, to really express the importance of safe, appropriate working conditions and celebrate best practice”

Signing up to the Fit to Dance Space Charter is designed to be achievable by dance rehearsal venues large and small. The Charter’s purpose is to encourage better practice and to inform dancers, choreographers and producers about where to find dance spaces that meet their health and safety needs.

Creation Box, photo George Powell

Creation Box London, photo George Powell

Among the first venues to sign up is the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which boasts multiple rehearsal studios and workshop spaces used by its students and available for hire by dance artists. Another is Creation Box, a small venue in Lambeth, South London which recently won ‘Outstanding Studio Award’ at the 2015 Inspires Awards, hosted by Dance London.

The Fit to Dance Space Charter has been welcomed by industry figures who regularly hire dance spaces.

Sir Matthew Bourne, Artistic Director, New Adventures and Re:bourne, says: “I am always on the lookout for venues that meet the criteria in the Fit to Dance Space Charter. It is in the best interest of dancers and choreographers to rehearse in safe, clean conditions. I look forward to many dance spaces nationwide signing up to the Charter, showing a commitment to the long-term health and safety of the dancers that use them”

Guy Dagger, Managing Director, Harlequin Floors, which financially supports One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme, adds: “We are happy to support this new initiative. Dancers deserve to work in spaces that meet their needs, and the Fit to Dance Space Charter gives clear guidance to venues and an opportunity to be part of a national network of high-standard dance spaces.”

Many venues around the UK have already signed up to the Charter and joined the network of Fit to Dance Spaces. One Dance UK and Equity are actively seeking further venues to sign up, which will publicly demonstrates the venues’ professionalism and commitment to dance by being included on the list of approved venues on the Equity website, and allows the venue to place the Fit to Dance Space logo on their website and advertising collateral.

Information on the Charter can be found at www.equity.org.uk/dance/fit-to-dance-space. To sign up to the Charter, email fittodancespace@equity.org.uk.  Any queries can be directed to Beth Doran, bdoran@equity.org.uk, or contact One Dance UK’s Healthier Dancer Programme team.