WEEK.jpgWelcome dear readers to another roundup of the interesting (and only the interesting) snippets of news from the week in culture and maybe a little bit from last week because we had to do another thing at the time, so, you know, there's that....

Chicken Switch

Last week the AD of Retina Dance Company (Filip Van Huffel), it was announced, was stepping away from the company he founded back in 1995 with Sacha Lee. Mr Huffell has been the driving creative force behind the company now as a solo AD for a long time.

Retina has always been that little bit different because the company essentially has two bases of operation, one in the UK and one in Belgium. The company also produced plenty of innovative work along the lines of 'Layers of Skin' that worked with a new set of local professional dancers and community dancers combined with the company's own dancers at each individual touring venue.

In a statement on the Retina website Mr Huffel said this much;

"The Board of Directors decided on a new direction for the company, and it is a direction that I do not support, and therefore there is no longer a role for myself or the company dancers and artistic team. I made this decision because it is the only way that I can keep my personal and artistic health and integrity. I have always believed that dance companies must be viable businesses, but the art form must be the priority."

If we read between the lines we can probably break things down like this. All of the regularly funded dance companies had to re-submit their applications to Arts Council England to remain regularly funded.

The board of Retina started panicking, thinking they may not get "re-upped", so hit the chicken switch with the whole "focusing on education" thing that the bean counters in ACE and the DCMS love so much and side lined the actual creative aspect of the company that creates the work that, in-turn, feeds the extensive education work done by the dance company anyway. (and breathe, Ed!)

Run-on sentence not withstanding, that's probably how it went down.

In the future we will have the slightly odd situation of having two Retinas, one in the UK and one in Belgium. No word yet on who will be running the UK version of Retina but Mr Huffel has promised to keep making his own brand of dance work over in Belgium, which isn't too far away and we can probably still go see it.

We, here in TheLab™, will be keeping a close eye on the UK version of Retina to see just what they become, if anything, over the next few months or years.

[ Source: Retina Dance Company ]

Tartan Trouble

When it comes to being completely oblivious to the world around you it seems it's not just Arts Council England that has that ability in spades. North of the border Creative Scotland has been raising hackles with the announcement of a £5Million grant to the V&A Museum in Dundee reports The Scotsman;

"ARTS agency Creative Scotland has admitted breaching its own funding guidelines by handing the new V&A museum in Dundee a grant of £5 million.
The award is more than double the quango's funding limit for major capital projects and dwarfs anything else it has funded since it was formed in 2010.
The grant, believed to be a crucial part of the funding package for the project to create an international centre of design, is over and above £18 million worth of support from the Scottish Government, which has been in place for more than two years,

When asked to explain why the big museum gets special treatment the Shortbread Funding Monolith explained to nosey journalists that they could do whatever they wanted and nobody was going to stop them so pffffffft!

Ok, they didn't say that but it would have been funny if they did, right? What they actually said was this;

"A spokesman for Creative Scotland said the talks with the V&A team pre-dated the launch of its capital funding schemes, which have a £2 million limit for major projects, such as Scotland's proposed film studio complex, the extensions to the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall buildings in Glasgow, a revamp and extension of Perth Theatre, and a relocation of Edinburgh's Collective Gallery to the top of Calton Hill."

Essentially, timing is everything and they can do whatever they want as long as the dates are right or, you know, whatever!

[ Source: The Scotsman ]

The Week in Tweets

Some people don't like us, and that's fine because we don't like them either but there are other folks that like us a lot, maybe too much!

Loving us, here in TheLab™, is a simple, straightforward decision because as we always say, we're adorable!

Have a nice weekend.