Would you like to see Scottish Ballet do Pop-Up Bollywood Inspired Contemporary Dance Performances with the local children in their community in the streets, parks and public spaces?
Vote here! No registration required, just click on the clap!
Scottish Ballet asked us to Wish for their 50th Birthday - as someone who has witnessed them take up residence in my community in the past over ten years I have often wished they would do more. What I witness and what I get from speaking with the locals is they feel apathy at best and anger at worst. Big fancy cars from outwith the area drive up on weekends and evenings with young children for class. It feels like an impenetrable fortress of privilege for which we are denied entry.
My life and practice as an artist has been dedicated to bringing people together. I would love Scottish Ballet to be a genuine part of our community, or at the least feel friendlier and more accessible for our kids. It doesn't. Not even a little.
My idea is that Scottish Ballet would create pop up Bollywood Inspired Contemporary Ballet in outdoor spaces in Pollokshields.
These performances would be created for and with the children in the local community.
Scottish Ballet is located in the most culturally, socially and economically diverse area in all of Scotland - despite this it has failed to create meaningful relationships with it’s surrounding area. The only community space in Pollokshields is half the size of one of Scottish Ballet’s studio spaces. There is no other ‘free space’ for it’s 13,000 residents. Maxwell Square Park - our only public green space, if every child would stand in it - would only have an A4 size paper to stand. This is a marked difference to all the surrounding communities who have a selection of community space and green space.
I believe such a project would not only enhance the lives of the local residents but also challenge and enhance the repertoire of Scottish Ballet.
There has been much in the press recently (and not so recently) regarding elitism in the arts. Scottish Ballet is no exception to this ‘phenomena’. Numerous social and economic barriers are in place resulting in the fact that majority of the local population has not seen a live ballet performance, let alone pursue it as a hobby or career. The networks and systems in place that the Ballet (and indeed all the performing arts operate in) disproportionately discriminates against women, people of colour and the economically disadvantaged. There is so much missed potential there.
I wish Scottish Ballet to challenge this model of exclusion- to create a project and program that is genuinely inclusive and nurtures talent regardless of social, economic or cultural background. A model that celebrates both mastery and community in it’s truest sense.
Eight years ago I started dancing along the River Clyde and became known as ‘Glasgow’s Morning Dancer’, ‘The Broomielaw Dancing Queen’, ‘The Princess of the Clyde’. This was done off my own back with no resources beyond myself.
The practice of creating a dance space over two years nearly everyday in the public eye, for the public changed my life for the infinite better. Hundreds of thousands of people - from all walks of life - watched and danced.
In this day and age we need to emerge from our fortresses, come off our stages and reinforce the best of one another. Dance is one of the most perfect ways to do this. It brings people together in a shared language.
I wish Scottish ballet to challenge themselves, to open their doors, to dance on the streets, to dance with the community in which it is based, to learn to expand and to grow for and with us for better selves, better communities and a better world.
Please vote, and with your vote send a message to all arts organisations and training institutions - we can and must do better.
Kate E. Deeming
Local Artist, Community Activist,
(At one time) Glasgow’s Morning Dancer,
Vice Chair Pollokshields Community Council,
Vice Chair Pollokshields Development Agency,
Member Pollokshields Primary Parent Council