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Support Merseyside Dance Initiative. Join us the Independent Dance Sector and protect dance in Liverpool and further a field.

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Merseyside Dance Initiative (MDI) is a flagship dance organisation in the North West of England that plays a crucial role in the dance landscape throughout the UK and beyond. The Arts Council decision regarding the 100% cut in National Portfolio Organization funding from MDI will massively impact upon the infrastructure for professional, independent, community and freelance dance provision throughout Merseyside.

Independently from MDI, we the freelance dance community of Liverpool, want to demonstrate our commitment and loyalty by issuing this statement. We seek to support the organization that has developed and nurtured the dance ecology in this region. We aim to lobby on behalf of MDI, in order to strengthen their case when applying for alternative funding streams, providing evidence of the dance provision they provide regionally and nationally.

For over 25 years MDI has provided dance opportunities for a diverse landscape of dance artists, students and graduates, freelance artists, professional dancers and companies, providing support for emerging dancers and choreographers, teachers, facilitators and communities, providing opportunities such as artist residencies, continued professional development and mentoring support. Their studio situated in the heart of the cultural centre of Liverpool offers a range of affordable high quality classes, from professional level classes to tots and elders dance. Since 1993 MDI has supported 510 independent artists and companies and reached audiences over 300,000.

Additionally supporting artists with free rehearsal space has been influential in the creation of works by locally and nationally based dance makers. MDI have been tireless in their efforts to contribute to the Merseyside region by bringing dance to all people, through establishing accessible pop up dance venues, developing strong community links, liaising with professional and university theatres to programme high quality, affordable dance.

MDI’s work in community dance provision and advocacy has greatly impacted upon the Merseyside. MDI have developed a community dance network that responds too and works with the vibrant cultural heritage of Liverpool. This work addresses urban communities, whose needs and beliefs and customs are diverse, which can be bridged with creativity and sharing a dance language.

MDI and their body of committed staff offer a mentoring scheme that supports the development of local and international dance artists and companies. They have created a warm, welcoming environment, where the quality of their guidance and feedback has enabled a space for outstanding work to be fostered. This has made MDI a space where we feel, that our respective and diverse practices can exist and flourish.

To take away support from MDI is threatening the fabric of dance in our beautiful city. It will become unsustainable for practicing dance artists to continue without professional classes, professional development in their city home, forcing them to leave the region.

As the dance community in Liverpool, we feel that this funding cut will have irreversible results, and will be felt not only by the community in Liverpool, but by the national and international artists that MDI have brought to this city. While we realize that the Arts Council England (ACE) continue to support dance companies and independent artists, we feel that the independent sector itself has been overlooked and especially the needs within Liverpool. This will trickle down to the independent and national artists who regularly seek support and touring opportunities that MDI encourage and facilitate. MDI asked for a small amount of funding in comparison to other NPO’s, however, their far-reaching impact across the region should not be under estimated. MDI has changed the lives of so many people in Liverpool, and is so ominous with the passion of the city that celebrates community, diversity and culture. We the dance community of Liverpool want to celebrate the work of MDI and hope that this statement will highlight how the ACE decision, will directly impact upon the lives of so many.

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