“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
The Dance Barn’s first term has well and truly started and it has been such a pleasure to meet so many new dancers and their families. I love how much energy and imagination children have and each and every one of them is already giving me lots of ideas for the future.
I wanted my second blog to be about inspiration as this is central to the ethos of our school and underpins everything that we do. I always knew that I wanted to build a dance school that was: nurturing, constantly evolving and always striving to provide the best for its pupils but it was after watching a performance of the musical “42nd Street” last year that I realised how important inspiration could be in bringing all of these aims together. After watching the dancers I felt completely energised - not only to get out of bed and go to gym the following morning - but to continue to work on plans to launch my own school. The penny dropped that I had been inspired and it seemed natural that this should be the starting point for everything else that was to follow.
The word inspire comes from the Latin word inspirare, which means to inflame or to breathe life into. I am sure we all remember times when we have been motivated to do something to the best of our abilities because we have been inspired. Growing up most of us grown ups didn’t have access to an abundance of YouTube clips and dance was rarely on television. I was about 13 when I can remember watching a documentary about Darcey Bussell when she was at the height of her career. It was one of the first occasions I had seen dancers rehearsing and I was fascinated. The next day I pushed myself in my dance lesson so much harder than I ever had before and I can still remember my teacher telling me that she didn’t know what was different about me that day but that my dancing was really good and I was working really hard.
At The Dance Barn the question of how we can inspire all those in our school is the starting point for all that we do. With the pupils this includes making sure that the material they learn in their lessons is inspiring and they are dancing to music and accompaniment that they just can’t help but move to. It involves bringing older and younger dancers together so that the younger ones can see what they are working towards and making sure that they get opportunities to see examples of great dance works or great dancers, whether this be through the internet, workshops or trips to the theatre. Inspiring our teachers is also hugely important. I want them to have the opportunity to participate or watch dance themselves and engage in regular training to help them to be the best teachers they can be.
As a school we’re still young and it will be a little while until all of this becomes a reality, but meeting all of our new dancers is inspiring me to work hard and to aim to inspire our pupils to love dance and movement as much as I do.
Before I go, I just wanted to share some examples of dancers who inspire me.
Tamara Rojo - Tamara Rojo is currently principal dancer and artistic director of the English National Ballet. Not only is she an extremely talented dancer who has danced with numerous ballet companies, but she is also the artistic director of The English National Ballet. She is doing everything she can to modernise ballet and anyone who can get ballet performed at Glastonbury is pretty inspiring to me.
Akram Khan - Akram Khan is a contemporary and indian classical dancer, and an incredibly talented choreographer. Just one of his accolades is that he danced in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 olympics. I am inspired by Akram Khan as he is an extremely expressive dancer and I love that he has created dances with so many great dancers from different backgrounds and styles.
Kate Prince - Kate Prince is a choreographer and director of the award winning street dance company ZooNation. I am inspired by her as ZooNation is constantly evolving and ahead of other street dance companies. They are always looking to present something new and different and striving to get street dance recognised a theatrical art form.