Dance and equity

This is Brogan McKay.

Brogan is 10 years old and is from Derry. She is one of the stars of Jig, a documentary about Irish Dancing that was shown on BBC2 last night and is available to view on iplayer for the next week. Jig follows competitors in the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships, through a year of preparations for 6 minutes of competition. I’ve always been a little interested in Irish Dancing and found the documentary compelling viewing.

Brogan absolutely stole my heart, she was an intelligent, dedicated and compassionate young girl. My favourite point was when she was asked about whether she gets private lessons, she replies as follows:

‘Oh no, I don’t get privates, because we’re so together, we’re like one big family at the McConomys’

Her teacher goes on to explain that ‘The reason we don’t do private lessons is because we’ve got 90% in our class who just couldn’t afford it’

Brogan concludes quite simply with ‘It’s not fair for any of the other children, because if I got privates, like my friends in my age group, they wouldn’t get it, so it’s just not right, we don’t do that’.

I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who wants to watch it so I’ll not tell you the outcome, suffice to say Brogan is some plucky and equitable young lady. You’d be proud if she was your daughter, student or friend.

I think Brogan’s words particularly struck a chord for me this week, as I’ve been reflecting a lot about equity and poverty in the run up to the Interrogate Festival at Dartington Hall. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet check out the website, there is a fantastic line up of debate, film, performance, comedy and art. There are a whole range of tickets available, still some stewards places for people who wish to volunteer (I think) and the team behind it are hoping to live tweet the festival on #Interrogate2011 so go take a look – again, I’m confident you’ll not be disappointed.

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