HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
CARLOS ACOSTA CONTROVERSY
 

Star date: 9th July 2009 
A Salford Star Exclusive

ACOSTA LOT A MONEY FOR SALFORD

Cost per Salford kid to attend `community engagement programme' at The Lowry with Cuban ballet star Carlos Acosta:  £1023*

Cost of 7 night holiday in Cuba at the 4 star Oasis Brisas Del Caribe Hotel (inc flight from Manchester) per Salford kid: £729**

Meet the lucky kids from The Danceworks in Eccles who were the only people in Salford (apart from those who had free "hospitality" tickets from Salford City Council) to benefit from the city's £110,000 sponsorship of the Carlos Acosta event at The Lowry this week for the Manchester International Festival…


Last year, as part of Salford Council's £165,000 sponsorship of the Manchester International Festival, at least Salford residents got reduced price tickets for The Lowry to see Cuban ballet star, Carlos Acosta, plus a free pop concert on the Quays. This year, the Council has splashed out £110,000 sponsorship to commission `Young Apollo', a new work by Carlos, with no reduced price tickets for Salfordians and no free concert at the Quays.

The only benefits to Salford are "an agreed number of tickets…at The Lowry and Sadlers Wells for Salford City Council's hospitality purposes" (Leaders Briefing Meeting, 11.8.08), plus a `community engagement programme'.

This `community engagement programme' had a budgeted contribution from Salford Council of £9,207, according to figures produced in March this year at a further Leaders Briefing Meeting. So what does the community get for that? Yesterday we visited the `community engagement programme' and found a total of nine people (including teachers) from The Danceworks in Eccles not quite `engaging' with Carlos.

WHAT DID WE GET FOR OVER NINE GRAND?

A ballet class from Carlos?  Nope!

"We were expecting him to teach a class, that's what we thought, but he didn't, he was obviously busy with the dress rehearsal for tonight" said Miss Maxine, one of the teachers at The Danceworks who brought a group of aspiring ballerinas to learn from the master.

Watching Carlos `warm up' and do some of his famous jumps? Nope!

When we got there we saw Carlos `warming up' in the corridor outside the dance studio, complaining that the floor was too slippy to do his jumps and turns. Instead four other dancers from his company went through their paces with the girls.

"He did apologise" said Miss Maxine "and we watched him for about half an hour and then he went down to the stage but there wasn't enough time for us to go. But watching the four dancers who were in here was incredible, they were amazing."

A Pizza? Yes!

The girls were taken to Pizza Express for their tea.

Free Tickets For the Carlos show? Nope!

But the girls did get to watch the rehearsals from the orchestra pit and, later,  the full dress rehearsal. 

A Photo With Carlos for the Press? Nope!
We weren't allowed to take a photo of the girls with Carlos

A Q&A Session With Carlos? Yes!

Carlos did a Q&A session with the girls in the afternoon but unfortunately wouldn't do a Q&A session with the Salford Star when we might have asked him whether he thought £9,207 was good value for this community engagement programme - and what Fidel Castro might say about £110,000 of public money going into commissioning a ballet which most people in Salford are priced out of attending.

                                ************************

By all accounts the `community engagement programme' was a brilliant experience for the nine Danceworks girls. 

"My ambition is to be a professional dancer and this has given me an insight into what I could possibly do, to see their job and to watch them doing a full ballet class" said Lauren Westmoreland, who is going off to train in the profession full time in September.

"The standard of a lot of dancers in Salford is quite good and if ballet schools had more opportunities like this it would be fantastic" said Miss Maxine "There's very good potential here, if only there was more funding and more things like this for children of local dance schools to attend."

The sad thing is that only nine young people from Salford got the opportunity at a cost of over a thousand pounds each.

"I don't know if it was just put out to our school or not" said Miss Maxine "Maybe they didn't want millions of people coming, I don't know…"

We tried to contact John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council, who personally authorised the full budget for Carlos Acosta but he was at a conference and unavailable to comment.


The Danceworks in Eccles teaches a full variety of dance including ballet, tap and street.  More details here…

Photo by Bernard Brough

* budget of £9,207 quoted Leaders Briefing Meeting 2.3.09, divided by nine people attending.

** price of holiday to Cuba for one person quoted by The Holiday Place

Stop Press: 3pm 9th July

John Merry has just contacted us with the following statement...

“I am sorry I couldn't be contacted when you wanted to speak to me as I did want to answer your questions. I accept the Salford Star is making a point by presenting the story in this way but I have to say that our decision to spend this money was more than just a financial one. Salford's strength lies in its past but it cannot ignore the future and being bold with decisions like this tells people outside the city that we have more to offer than being the home of Coronation Street or the heart of the industrial revolution.
 
Carlos Acosta is an international talent, the best male dancer of his generation - the Ronaldo of ballet - and he is premiering work we have commissioned in three sell-out performances. So it is simply not fair – or true – to say that dancers from Eccles are the only people to benefit from our sponsorship of the Manchester International Festival.
 
Visitors contribute more than £400 million to this city's economy, keeping thousands of people in jobs. Visitors come here because there are things they want to see and places they want to go. We need to keep them interested.
 
It is easy to understand the cost of community engagement but difficult to measure its value, I know that. I would bet that every one of those young dancers at the Lowry will have no question about the value to them of their day.”
 
Salford Star response: We accept that the dancers from Eccles had a great day - and we've said so in the article (even though they didn't get a class from Carlos), but for over nine grand you could have sent them to Cuba for a week to visit the Cuban National Ballet, and had change for a few Che t-shirts. As far as we can see, the only other people to benefit are those who are getting free tickets from Salford Council's "hospitality", and those who can afford the price of a real ticket. Are you going on a freebie then or what?

Arwa wrote
at 5:13:24 AM on Monday, July 13, 2009
good work!!
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Salford Star Hoodies
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST THE CUTS STAGE SCRAP UNIVERSAL CREDIT PROTEST IN MANCHESTER
Esther Mcvey has said on more than one occasion that she will not change Universal credit. Seem she is scared of Iian Duncan-Smit... [more]
article: IS IRLAMS O’ TH’ HEIGHT THE HARDEST PLACE TO SPELL IN BRITAIN?
I have to agree with you that IRLAMS O’ TH’ HEIGHT probably is the hardest name place to spell correctly in Britain. I am here, vi... [more]
article: SALFORD COUNCIL BANNER DECLARES ‘TRANSPARENCY’ DESPITE EVERYTHING BEING SECRET
It has to be stopped. Agree with Mary Ferrer.... [more]
article: OVER 1500 SALFORD PEOPLE SIGN PETITION AGAINST BUILDING IN BUILE HILL PARK
When the foundation put their plan forward they should have made it clear they didn't have the money to renovate the Mansion.Or di... [more]
article: SALFORD NURSERY CAMPAIGNERS TAKE FIGHT TO PARLIAMENT
Inspirational action group. I wish you every success in London. It is time to bang the drum. Make them hear you loud and clear. We... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

SALFORD CITY MAYOR MISLEADING STATEMENTS ON DEVELOPER CASH

Star date: 19th April 2018

AS £5.5MILLION AVOIDED BY DEVELOPERS SALFORD MAYOR SAYS IT'S A 'MYTH'!

In the latest issue of Salford Council's propaganda mag, Life in Salford, Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, has denounced the "myth" that "developers don't contribute money to the city. It's simply not true" he says.

Yes, they do contribute some money but they also avoid millions of pounds in payments and provision of affordable housing. Indeed, Salford Star analysis shows that developers avoided almost £5.5million in payments last year, as the Mayor only tells half the truth.

Full details here...

DISABLED PEOPLE AGAINST THE CUTS STAGE SCRAP UNIVERSAL CREDIT PROTEST IN MANCHESTER

Star date: 18th April 2018

STOP AND SCRAP UNIVERSAL CREDIT WITH NO EVICTIONS STATE GROUPS

Today, in St Peter's Square Manchester, around half a dozen campaign groups took part in a Disabled People Against the Cuts national day of action calling for Universal Credit to be stopped and scrapped.

Chalk slogans covered the square, speeches were made condemning the affect of the discredited benefit and a giant letter was handed into Manchester City Council calling for 'No evictions' as a result of Universal Credit payment delays.

Full details here...

SALFORD NURSERY CAMPAIGNERS TAKE FIGHT TO PARLIAMENT

Star date: 18th April 2018

FIGHT FOR THE FIVE CAMPAIGNERS HEAD TO WESTMINSTER

A coach load of Save Our Nursery campaigners will be heading to Parliament next Wednesday 25th April for a meeting with MPs in the Palace of Westminster and to urge the Government to be flexible over its new funding formula.

It is also hoped that Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, will pressure Theresa May to respond at Prime Minister's Question Time on the same day.

Full details here...

HUGE PAY RISES FOR SALFORD CITY COUNCIL OFFICERS

Star date: 17th April 2018

ASSISTANT DIRECTORS TO GET HUGE PAY RISES

Cash-strapped Salford City Council is to give huge pay rises to senior officers after a 'job evaluation exercise' moved them well up the pay scale. It follows the resignation of the Director of Finance and Corporate Business, and spreading the majority of his salary amongst other re-titled roles.

The Salford Star believes the officers are in line to share around £54,000 between them.

Full details here...

HOMELESS KITCHEN AND PROTEST IN MANCHESTER WHILE SALFORD AIMS TO GIVE HOMELESS A VOTE

Star date: 16th April 2018

HOMELESS IN SALFORD CAN STILL REGISTER TO VOTE AS PROTEST HITS MANCHESTER

Today the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre is urging homeless people to get in touch in order to register to vote as it's the last day to do so tomorrow.

Meanwhile, yesterday a food kitchen and sound system happened in Piccadilly Gardens as a party protest against homelessness... "I have spoken to Andy Burnham and I don't think he is going to accomplish his mission to stop homelessness by 2020" said organiser Emma Mohareb.

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx