American influences

This first Seminar was a carbon copy of the US Seminar and 50% of the artists invited were actually from the United States. The Americans were indeed very supportive of the European event - they came at no cost, neither in performance fees nor travel expenses. This of course made it feel like an imported American concept and although American support was valued and needed, in the following year (1982) the proportion of artists from the US was down to onethird, the remainder being European. By 1983 the balance was even more in favour of an indigenous event: only one non-European act was allowed at the show-case concerts each evening, the rest were ‘home-grown’. Later in the 1980s the American influence as such faded out completely.

The area of liturgical dance and mime was introduced to a still skeptical audience by Randall Bane from Kansas City, and lectures and well-known pastors have been invited to give a ‘spiritual’ input. This has at times been a refreshing component for the more skeptical Europeans, but not without controversy. Franky Schaeffer, son of the widely published and respected Francis Schaeffer (who founded the Christian artistic community called L’Abris in Switzerland) and himself a writer and film director, has on many occasions provoked consternation and debate with his forthright views and more latterly in his embracing of the Greek Orthodox tradition *6). Cam Floria himself, who was a figure regularly spotted at the early Seminars bowed out of ‘hands-on’ involvement in the European Seminar, retaining a vote on the Council which he has rarely used. There fore this American ‘link’ was merely foundational, and after a period of imitation and learning, the European Seminar began to create its own identity and forge its own way ahead.