Ballet boss Alistair Spalding says dance under 'serious threat' from Gove's EBacc plans


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The Independent Culture

Proposed changes to the curriculum are a "serious threat" to the future of dance in the UK, according to the man in charge of Sadler's Wells theatre.

Artistic director Alistair Spalding said he had written to Education Secretary Michael Gove over the proposals to introduce an English Baccalaureate (EBacc) initially covering English, maths and sciences.

The new qualification will later be rolled out to history, geography and languages.

Mr Spalding said he was "concerned" at the "potential damage" to dance.

He said: "Dance alongside other arts subjects is to be excluded from the English Baccalaureate that will replace GCSEs from 2015.

"This is a great pity as we are currently reaping the rewards the investment in dance education has brought us. Many of the choreographers and dancers we work with at Sadler's Wells have benefited from an early exposure to the art form".

Mr Spalding said the changes would mean "the route to a career in dance is now under threat", adding: "This is against a background in which the art form is thriving. Dance is now second only to football as the most popular activity amongst school children and ranks first among girls.

"Five million Brits of every age, class and both genders are now participating in dance classes and sessions every week.

"Young people are now participating in dance at an unprecedented level".

He said: "We think this is the most serious threat to the art form".

Mr Spalding is not the first figure from the arts to criticise the Government's approach.

Last month, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota urged the Government to keep the arts as a key part of the curriculum in any exams shake-up.

He said there was a danger the UK could lose its "leading edge in creativity" unless arts disciplines remained within the national curriculum for secondary schools and had a place as a core subject in the baccalaureate.

A report for the departments of Education and Culture, Media and Sport published in February and written by Classic FM boss Darren Henley endorsed the importance of cultural learning. But Sir Nicholas said there were fears the report's detailed proposals would not find a place in any review of the curriculum.