It seems a pity that female choreographers have such a small voice in the professional dance scene that a body such as the Female Choreographers’ Collective should even exist. Correct me if I am wrong, but in most other contemporary artforms, women have reached parity with, if not exceeded, the artistic accolades of their male colleagues. Why then should dance be left in the shadows?
In their upcoming event, “The Experiment”, the Collective will show 6 pieces of work: 3 male- and 3 female-choreographed, in a bid to see if there is any correlation between how a dance work is percieved and the gender of the creator. A curious idea, with the purpose of attempting to assess if there is a gender divide in dance. I find it hard to see how any conclusion will be drawn without painting with some very broad brush-strokes.
Several things come to mind when I think about the much asked question, why are there more top-flight male choreographers, particularly in the UK. On a quasi-Freudian level, most men that make it to the top in dance have endured some stigma about being the only boy in their ballet class, and develop a thick-skin and a strong jaw in the process. On a completely different scale, with fewer boys in training than girls, in an ironic effort at bringing about a level playing field, a higher proportion of boys will be indulged in their choreographic efforts. Gender-associated character traits must too play a part. Is it a case that the predominance of male choreographers in the dance world is inversely proportional to the relative numbers in training, in which case, as dance becomes a more acceptable and viable career path for men, thus the disparity will level out? The conundrum is multi-faceted, each argument supported by research and rhetoric.
Whether the Female Choreographers’ Collective will get to the bottom of this riddle remains to be seen, but the very fact that it is in existence at all is certainly one step in the right direction. The Experiment takes place on April 23 in Laban http://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/whats-on/events/dance-events