Scottish people 'prefer dancing than playing football'

Aonach Mor ceilidh dancers
Image caption The report called for more opportunities for dance for people of all ages

More people in Scotland take part in dance activities than football, the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST) has revealed.

The Dance in Scotland Report said nearly one million people took part in a dance activity in the past 12 months.

The FST, which represents dance and theatre organisations across Scotland, said the benefits of dance outweighed the cost of investment.

After reading, dance was Scotland's second most popular cultural activity.

The report showed that about 5% of the Scottish population was engaged in dance by one of Scotland's publicly funded dance companies in 2008/09 and 19% of adults took part in dance activities, more than played football.

But it called for every local authority region to have its own dance development artist or a community dance initiative to help provide a programme of "high quality dance experiences for people of all ages and abilities".

Investment 'matched'

The report also recommended that diverse audiences should be encouraged to watch live dance performances by Scottish dance companies and visiting performers, and schools should be able to offer dance at Standard Grade.

It argued that the returns in dance companies income and their contribution to other parts of the economy "more than matched the investment they received in public funding", and the health benefits from participating in dance could help cut hospital admissions.

Jon Morgan, director of the Federation of Scottish Theatre, said: "Scotland is a nation of dancers in all its forms, but there is so much more we can do to get more people into dance and to maximise dance's contribution to Scotland's cultural and community life.

"We will need the investment of ideas, resources and partnership working and this report sets out the steps to move us in the right direction."

Attending the report launch, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, said the report was in line with the government's aim to encourage dancing as part of Glasgow's 2014 Commonwealth Games legacy.

She said: "This report tells us that nearly one million people took part in a dance activity in the past 12 months and we want to build on the huge enthusiasm that already exists for dance in Scotland and ensure that more people have the opportunity to participate.

"We are also committed to supporting Scotland's vibrant dance sector and using dance to promote Scottish culture and creativity on the world stage."

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