My first month at Dance in Devon is complete! It’s been brilliant and exhausting, and so rewarding. I can tell that it has been a very steep learning curve for me, by how many skills I have acquired in this short time. I can adequately use most Microsoft office programmes now, and have especially enjoyed creating flyers for visiting companies, youth groups and workshops we are hosting.
Last week, Northern Ballet hosted a day of workshops in Exeter, Torquay and Dartington. I managed to catch the end of both workshops at Torquay Library and Dartington. The energy was really high at both venues, the children creating shapes through the space, keen to show off their skills. For the first time since starting this internship, I felt a sense that I had been part of a team that made something great happen from beginning to end. On this project, I created the posters for the venues, from the flyers that Northern Ballet emailed us. I then helped market the event, and I managed the sign up process successfully. This is something that a month ago, I wouldn’t have thought I was capable of doing, so I felt really accomplished when I saw the end of the workshops and how fulfilling they looked.
Over the last few week Kate and I collated DANNI- Dance in Devon’s monthly newsletter using the programme Mail Chimp. It is quite a complex and time consuming task remembering all of the performances, opportunities, and updates on projects that Dance in Devon is involved in. Kate was very helpful in leading me through the maze of difficult steps, in order to format the newsletter correctly. In the end it became quite easy- very similar to how we format pages on our website. The hardest part was proof reading all of our work, after so much time spent collating and editing.
The dance sessions at Mayfields have been quite intense so far. It’s hard to work with young people with such different needs and impairments. I feel that this dance work is different for each person in the group, and sometimes it’s quite hard to work with the children one-to-one, to push & support them individually when there is so much activity going on. With credit to Clare, she plans and manages the sessions very well- lots of group based activities and each session has a different theme. Last week it was a more steps based class, this week we worked a lot with following the leader around the space, duet work and games. The children seem to enjoy most of the work especially following the leader, with their movements around the space and choreographing duets in pairs to show at the end.
On Thursdays over the past two weeks, I have started choreographing my own work. It has been a challenging experience so far. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone of being a dancer and being given steps or tasks. I now plan the tasks I want to achieve in the studio the night before. This whole process, which also includes research into my subject area, takes around 3 hours. I am only working with one other dancer that I have known since school. She is friendly and easy to be with, yet I still feel vulnerable when sharing ideas and giving tasks. After thinking it through, I think that this stems from the fact that I never want to make a dancer do something that they do not agree with, are not comfortable with or find dull. I am constantly asking her if she is bored of a task, or finding it too difficult, if she wants more information.
This second week, I simply gave her the task, and set my phone timer to 20 minutes. I went to my side of the studio to do the task and we didn’t interact as much. By focusing on my task, I became calm. Through actively creating movement from my task, I felt that it was a worthy and engaging. By the end of the rehearsal we had two solos, which we plan to extend and play around with next week. Ideas then sprouted from the movement we had created, such as the idea of a contact duet, a build-up and repetition of movement. Needless to say, now that we have started, somehow, it’s much easier.