A Look Back on The RQD’s Focus Groups
The RQD organized 4 focus groups in September to discuss several themes and interests of our community: 1) atypical organizations, 2) development in the regions, 3) graduates, 4) diverse and underrepresented dance styles. Targeted and general invitations have been made since August and the discussions that have taken place have been very rich. They will inspire future discussions and ways to develop for this year’s Master Plan update. Here are brief summaries of ideas and observations from each focus group:
The main problem for students seems to be the lack of information related to the management of a dance career; “What can we expect? What will our salary be? How are we going to get contracts?” It is important for them to have training on topics around professional integration and their rights, but also to be considerably more supervised by professionals and psychologists.
It is also necessary to make the dance sector a “safe place” where people can network without “performing”, as well as to encourage a larger connection between schools so that students get to know one another more. Networking events and mentoring programs between students and professionals could be ways to help address these disparities. The RQD tested the idea of a council or graduate committee within the group or the board and the graduates present greatly encouraged it. The students and professionals that were present came from the following establishments: ESBQ, UQAM, Concordia and EDQ.
Development in the regions
Travel and accommodation costs are still hampering the bilateral relationship between large cities and more remote regions: how can this imbalance be stemmed? The payment of accommodation or travel by local companies ends up costing them dearly; namely that the RQD has already set up a possibility of transportation assistance.
There is a need to attract and retain professionals such as teachers or artists. This could be through full-time residency programs, college or university programs, to name a few examples. A stronger link between schools and broadcasters would also be a real advantage.
Finally, even if there are infrastructures in the region which must be used to their maximum, it would be essential to develop places of creation, to form partnerships with the city and to form a common front with multidisciplinary presenters. Awareness of the general public is also essential; this is, moreover, what the RQD is trying to establish with the dance promotion campaign. Thank you to the DSR for its presence and contribution!
Diverse and underrepresented dance styles
If regional representation is unequal, this is also true for the different types of dance in Quebec. According to the participants, it is important to break down barriers that may persist. Within the dance sector, curiosity about other styles of dance must be cultivated in a concrete way. So, let’s build bridges between styles, within our own sector, but also with the general public to cultivate curiosity around the various styles. There are perceptions of a lack of access to CALQ grants because the criteria seem to be oriented more towards contemporary dance. It is also possible to consider recurrent meetings between the RQD and ambassadors of each style to better transmit information from their community and ensure a better understanding of their realities. Valuing each style through RQD communications and events highlights these styles and helps promote them in Quebec. The styles present were: Classical ballet, Oriental dance, Bollywood, African dance and Swing.
Let’s not forget the gap between creating organizations and service organizations that needs to be bridged. Indeed, defining itself as a service organization seems to facilitate access to financial aid, which makes it difficult to stabilize the structures of these organizations for which the purposes and services offered are more complex and profound. A fortiori, the weight is very heavy for some of these organizations which must always increase their number of customers in order to be recognized as competitive. It would therefore be interesting to establish a different category that would respond to their realities, but also specific aid for the administration or centralization of the mutualization produced because of their structures. Mapping these atypical organizations will be of interest to the parties present in order to share it with donors.