These past few weeks, I am realising how to say ‘No’. I have found with the busy past few weeks that at meetings and event, I often over commit myself and try to contribute too much. As a result, the past two weeks have really worn me out.
In my halfway review last week, I was discussing this with Sue. I feel that I need to learn how to only offer things that I can realistically manage. I am finding that, it’s not worth over-exerting myself so much that I am exhausted or ill afterwards. However, saying ‘No’ seems to me incredibly hard. I find it hard to be realistic about what I can offer and am always very keen to be helpful. I am now learning that saying ‘no’ is sometimes more helpful than over-committing.
Thinking about it more, careers such as dance artists, choreographers or practitioners often work long, disjointed and anti-social hours. Having spoken to other dance artists, some days span across three different jobs, sometimes starting from 8.30am and lasting until 10pm at night. Often it’s hard to prepare for incredibly busy months, due to the unpredictable nature of project work. I am also sometimes worried that by not volunteering for projects, I could ‘drop off the radar’ because the industry moves so fast. That’s why it can be hard for me to say ‘No’ to a project, or to scope out time for myself.
This is a really brilliant skill to have become aware of and I feel it’s a life lesson, and now that I am aware of this pattern in my work I have strived to have more realistic expectations of myself and not to punish myself for saying ‘No’.
These past two weeks, I have been participating in Falls prevention classes, finished supporting dance classes at Dartmouth Academy, and have had feedback for my choreography.
The first Falls Prevention Class I participated in was based in the Civic Hall in Totnes with Tamsin Bone. Because of the careful nature of the evaluation of this project, I could see how hard it must have been to plan exercises for a class that you don’t know at all. In this case the class was aimed at frailer older people, so we weren’t sure about how strong or confident participants might be. The class was really creative- with dances themes including shopping, jive, and a graceful port de bras that we will add to every week. It was lovely to see this group moving and smiling, whilst actively working to improve their strength, co-ordination and balance.
This week at Dartmouth Academy, I supported Claire Summers to finish her piece with the young people. Whilst Claire worked out a structure for all of the bits of dance we had, I gave the group a long warm up, and they learnt a phrase which has been put in the dance. The class seemed to pick up this phrase really quickly and confidently, so I gave them a creative task to create a trio out of the movements, along with some of their own.
They were absolutely fantastic at this- it took them hardly any time at all to create original work. It was lovely to see a class so engaged in a task. Very quickly, Claire structured the dance and gave the girls cues, both movement and musical for certain sections of the dance. We ran through it a couple of times and then our two hours were up- the girls seemed very confident both in Claire and themselves. I am looking forward to rehearsing the piece independently for Claire in a couple of weeks’ time and planning a fun class.