In 2012, the Canadian Dance Assembly (CDA) worked with Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) to address issues related to pluralism in dance across Canada. This was one of the key focal points of the CDA’s 2012 National Conference which took place in Ottawa in October 2012.
As a result of this conference and based on research conducted by CPAMO’s Project Lead, a report was submitted to the CDA Board of Directors. This report recommended that the CDA initiate a number of actions, including:
1) Advocacy. It is clear that dance artists from diverse backgrounds confront inequities in terms of their access to resources, particularly funding, performance opportunities and in their incomes. The CDA should undertake to address this as a high priority and, with these artists, undertake raising the profile of these dance artists, the value of their contributions to dance and the need for their presence in Canada’s dance milieu.
2) A CDA Advisory Council on Pluralism. This Advisory Council would be inclusive of diverse communities and be based on several factors such as race, culture, immigration status, regional location, physical ability and be of equal importance as the CDA Strategic Advisory Committee. The Council would meet monthly in its first years to develop an agenda, action plans and to contribute to developing and supporting CDA activities on behalf of diverse dance artists;
3) CDA Policy and Responsibility of all Standing Councils. The CDA should develop a vision to articulate its commitment to pluralism in all of its activities. This vision should be developed in consultation with the newly created Advisory Council on Pluralism and with all Standing Councils as well as the CDA Executive. This process of vision-statement development is integral to all parts of the CDA getting on board with this direction and to enable each Standing Council to develop an understanding of its roles and responsibilities in implementing a pluralistic approach in their workThis will ensure that all components of the CDA are engaged in this process and that a healthy dialogue cuts across the CDA on this timely issue.
4) Recruitment of New Members. As part of the roll out of the CDA initiatives to support pluralism in dance, the CDA should also focus on recruiting new members based on the issues it will be addressing.
To kick-start this process, the CDA with CPAMO’s support is looking to work with dance artists from Aboriginal and diverse communities. In this regard, the CDA will establish an Interim Committee to assist in developing this process.
Kate Cornell: kate [at] dancecanada.net
charles c. smith: charlescsmith [at] rogers.com
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