The Generation of Change


Dear Graduates,

Firstly, congratulations! You have made it. Although your final term was not as you had envisioned, you made it. Your classes looked a little different than expected, and your final performances, well let’s say they were modified. Nevertheless, you made it. And through it all, your creativity, passion for dance, and desire to tell your truth, could not be quashed. On top of COVID-19 and being in isolation, the collective energy that transpired in support of the Black Lives Matter movement has given you the challenge and opportunity to discover just how far your talents can take you. The work that I have seen created over the past few months comes from a place deep within. It has been truly inspiring. Even if you pause, know that you’ll be back. So, continue to tell your stories. Continue to speak your truth. Remember your purpose, because as someone wise once said to me – ‘the world needs what you’ve got’.

Kamara Gray

Founder and Artistic Director, Artistry Youth Dance



Dear Graduates of 2020,

Who would have thought we would be in this predicament of a pandemic? Not me! I thought I’d get to perform one last time with my peers and celebrate my graduation with family and friends. When you’re on the educational path discovering the nuances of life, it’s strange and strengthening to be stuck in a chapter so different from the norm. Let’s be honest. None of us knew we would be graduating this way.

Take the negatives. Find positives. The obstacles we face during lockdown can be blessings in disguise and can teach us many important lessons. During the last term of my studies, I went through a massive shift. From the routine of going to a dance studio every day to daily Zoom calls and late-night dancing in my living room (and anywhere else I could to release my creativity). Even though it has been very difficult to adjust, we still rise to the challenge and do the best we can do.

An important moment happened this summer when the world was so shaken up by the passing of George Floyd that over 60 countries protested with a simple message. Black lives matter today, yesterday, tomorrow, and the day after that, for the rest of our lives. Being a part of the movement is bigger than ourselves, so when we say ‘we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams’ believe it. I had the chance to take part in the London protest. Let me tell you this, I’ve never felt an atmosphere carry the lifeforce of a message. To have been in it was an experience I cherish.

So take the time to commemorate your personal achievements because they matter. Take that risk of actually relaxing with your thoughts and figuring out your next move because it matters. Never give up your hopes and dreams because they matter. There’s so much to unlearn and relearn. Maybe we’ll have the answers we’re looking for now or years to come but remember to keep enjoying the moments you share with yourself and loved ones. You owe it to yourself to stay consistent, you owe it to yourself to stay disciplined, you owe it to yourself to stay focused.

Congratulations again, and see you on the other side of the madness.

Adanna Lara,

Class of 2020, Northern School of Contemporary Dance
BA (Hons) Dance (Contemporary)
(Alumni of Artistry Youth Dance and National Youth Dance Company)

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