Dance During the Pandemic
One of Sarah’s passions is delivering youth dance programmes, which includes running the long-standing Preston Youth Dance Company.
“The pandemic has obviously changed a lot of things and it’s changed the way people work. We’ve been working over Zoom for the past 6 months, which has been surprisingly well received. The young people we work with have seen their sessions as a way to stay connected and after a day of online lessons for school it helps to release pent-up energy, let’s them express themselves and has a positive impact on mental health.”
The effects of the pandemic are far-reaching and recent discussions talk about artists retraining in different work. When asked about this, Sarah advocated the many reasons we can benefit from dance and expressed the need to ensure there was still an accessible offering.
“Not everybody learns through traditional academic methods delivered in a classroom. Dancing is a way to approach issues in a practical way, developing new perspectives and means of communication. Being creative gives people more confidence and helps develop leadership skills. You’re often working with others to find new ideas or solutions to problems and no-one’s opinion means more than another’s.”
Whether or not the pandemic impacts upon industry growth in the future, it’s important to support each other in current times. For many new facilitators, it can be difficult to navigate opportunities and access the business support they need.
There’s a lot of ways to go about it and every situation is different. This is why an important aspect of dance facilitation is to learn from others. But if you’re the only dancer for miles, how can you do that? Rural areas in particular have less access to quality career opportunities, which is where ‘Making It Happen’ began.
Blue Moose wanted to show isolated communities what dance could lead to by exposing opportunities, providing inspiration and showing how the work can be relevant to everyone. This led to the idea of showing real-life examples of what it is like to be an artist. In 2019 they created a podcast commissioned by Great Place: Lakes and Dales to support those starting a career in dance.
“Freelance work can get quite lonely; people often work by themselves and frequently spend a lot of time travelling from place to place. The idea of a podcast came from being able to use commuting time to connect with others and learn about each other’s’ practices. We wanted to share and celebrate real life creative careers that are happening right now. Doing so in a podcast was ideal as it is a format that is accessible and readily available.”