The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #97625   Message #1925473
Posted By: Ruth Archer
03-Jan-07 - 06:08 AM
Thread Name: Who is/ are the EFDSS?
Subject: RE: efdss,what does it mean

The point I am tring to make, Dick, is that Comhaltas evolved because there was a perceived need for it: a society dedicated to the preservation of Ireland's traditional culture. EFDSS is exactly the same, and we need it now. Particularly as it goes through this important time of deciding its future direction, it is absolutely vital, IMHO, that its focus remains English traditional music an dance.

Cultural diversity is an issue which England has been dealing with a lot longer than Ireland has. While there may be opportunities for EFDSS to work with groups from time to time which represent the other cultures present in Britain, to make this a core objective would be to undermine the organisation's principle reason for existence, as outlined very kindly by Mr Schofield above: the preservation and proliferation of English traditional music and dance.

If English traditional culture were in a similar position of rude good health to Irish traditional culture - ie, a reasonably high profile in the country, well respected and supported by the government, seen as key to tourism - then maybe it would be time to turn attention outwards and think, "Right - we're fine. Now, let's see what we can do about collaborating with other cultural groups and actively seeking points of crossover and commonality which helps to shape a common identity." How fantastic would that be? But to get to that point, you have to be operating from a position of some security, and I don't think that EFDSS, or in fact the English tradition as a whole, is at that point yet. The reason I keep banging on about Comhaltas is that they are, arguably, coming from that position of strength within a robust folk culture - yet they do not seem to be embracing these opportunities for widening their impact and helping Ireland come to terms with its brand new, culturally dieverse identitiy. And in my opinion, they're on borrowed time: Ireland won't be allowed to carry on pretending it's still a mono-culture for much longer.

As Derek says, the objects outlined above are merely guidelines - things that EFDSS COULD do. It is not obligated to incorporate an international element. And as Derek also says, the first three are really the key ones - those referring to English music and dance.

I am not saying that I think EFDSS should remain insular throughout its existence, but I do think it needs to consolidate its own position before it actively takes on a brief of outreach. I think there are exciting opportunities for collaboration between diverse communities that emerge from time to time, and that EFDSS could embrace these where possible. for example, rapper sides have performed at Melas, for instance, which is an interesting opportunity for presenting Asian and English sword-dancing styles side by side. Perhaps EFDSS's regional partnerships, when they arise, could encourage these kinds of activities as part of their remit.

If there are business opportunities to be derived, Dick, I'm afraid I can't actually see what they might be. Most immigrant communities have their own community centres and cultural activities. Is there a particular reason that they'd be drawn to EFDSS?