Dear Dance Graduates of 2020
Dance Ambassadors share their experiences of being a new dance graduate.
Paige: Dance BA (Hons) from De Montfort University (2018)
My last term of university was very beneficial to me in terms of opportunities, as I was scouted by Serendipity and chosen to perform in Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2018. This gave me the chance to understand the sector further and helped with my understanding and development of networking. I would highly recommend networking throughout your years of university, but especially in your final year, as it can open many doors in terms of jobs and volunteer work.
Once I graduated, I moved back to my hometown of Leeds and began taking technique classes at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. I continued to network and through that, I was given the opportunity to help teach at their Saturday school. I am still doing this, and I hope to be for the foreseeable, as I am looking forward to seeing where it goes.
From personal experience, I would say not to be too hard on yourself in terms of where you think you should be, or what you should be doing and not to compare your journey to others. When I graduated I wasn’t a hundred percent sure about what I wanted to do. It was only through research and volunteer work that I discovered where my interests and passions lie.
During this uncertain time, it is very easy to become disheartened as many of us are unable to pursue our passion in the arts. Supporting one another in the sector through social media etc, whilst working on personal growth through things such as taking online classes, yoga or working on flexibility, would be my best tip for any recent graduates.
Nicola: BA Modern Ballet programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2020)
During lockdown we moved to online provision which represented a modified version of our typical schedule. This included ballet, contemporary and jazz classes, body conditioning, weekly group meetings and guest Q&A sessions from industry professionals. Communication between staff and students was vital in allowing us to formulate a schedule that was manageable given the physical limitations of dancing at home but also kept us feeling connected and inspired.
As third year students, we also worked on a collaboration with our tutor, Diana Loosmore, and film editor, Alison Hutcheson. The piece, ‘Bound’, was premiered across digital platforms on our Graduation Day.
The most comforting thought for me has been that this year’s graduates, across all sectors, will be remembered as those who graduated during this global pandemic. For us dancers, we enter an industry bursting with enthusiasm to grow, create and share.
Rachel: Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance BA (Hons) in Ballet and Contemporary Dance (2020)
I was lucky enough to have just finished all my auditions before lockdown happened. I will be joining Emergence Dance Company by Joss Arnott and the University of Salford in September, as well as completing a Masters alongside this.
Our last term has not been what we envisioned for the last months of our degree at all, with all our shows and celebrations cancelled. However, our school has been doing the best that they can to continue to provide us with excellent training! Our online timetables have been quite full, jumping from one class to another every day on Zoom. Although I had a small space, with carpet flooring to work in, this has made me work more intelligently and has continued to train my body, despite not being in the studio.
Rambert has worked so hard to bring us back to the studio. For the last month, we formed different ‘pods’, with a maximum of 12 people. These pods were able to take 2 live classes in the studio each week. With masks on, and social distancing measures applied, after checking if our temperature and blood oxygen levels were normal. It was such a joyful moment when we danced in the studio for the first time! Dancing with other people was just so different than dancing by ourselves, and we have truly missed our year group!
Although the world might be a scary place for us graduates right now. I am certain we have all learnt so much about persistence over lockdown, and everything is possible! If someone told me I could dance in my tiny room for 4 months straight, and still maintain everything, I would not believe it! Class of 2020, we are such a special year! Always believe in yourself and be determined! Nobody can stop you!
Ex Dance Ambassador Beth Veitch, a dance artist, writer, and teacher based in Newcastle upon Tyne, has a blog called Moving Curiously. Blog posts range from her MA in Dance Performance at the University of Chichester (Map Dance) and her experiences of dancing in the lockdown. This may be handy looking at a dance graduate’s journey from graduation to a Masters to a career in lockdown.