May 2018 | Overture Reflections
Updated: Dec 4, 2018
A reflective blog of my time in the 2017/18 cohort of Matthew Bourne | New Adventures' Overture.
Hearing that a new cohort of community dance artists met this weekend just gone, I couldn't help but reflect on my time a part of Overture - an incredible professional development programme and more - whilst feeling excitement for the 2018/19 artists who have a year of amazing opportunity ahead.
Kerry Biggin and Tom Hobden (as well as Daisy May Kemp towards the end of the programme) led our selected group of community dance artists - from all over the country and at different stages in our careers - through four residential weekends at Farnham Maltings, which questioned, challenged and championed our work in the community. The weekends were intense and sometimes overwhelming, but mainly energising and enriching; giving us the chance to meet an extreme range of artists and professionals that each brought a new energy and approach for the cohort to draw on, be inspired by or simply enjoy as time out from a jam-packed life as a creative facilitator.
Throughout the year we experienced thought-provoking sessions in wellbeing with Isabel Mortimer; management and funding with Jennifer Irons and Carrie Washington, dance and health for the community with Danielle Teale; expressive physical theatre teaching with Tom Jackson-Greaves and Etta Murfitt, as well as contemporary practical sessions to get us moving and exploring with Vicki Igbokwe of Uchenna Dance, Christian Brinklow and Nadenh Poan of Stopgap Dance Company, Carrie Whitaker and Amy Morvell of Lîla Dance, Kerry on behalf of New Adventures and Tom as a community dance artist himself (UNIT). We also found time to share a snippet of our own practice with each other, gathering yet more ideas for progressing and finding ourselves in our work.
There is always more to learn about yourself and your practice as a dance artist, but we don't often take the time to check in and discover what we need to continue developing. Overture offered me time, attention, encouragement and inspiration to progress as an individual as well as part of an incredible group of artists. I am fortunate to have experienced such an emboldening year as Overture; one that has pushed me to ask questions about my work, introduced me to a wealth of varying practice approaches and also created a wide network of artists (now also considered friends) from whom to find support and inspiration in the development as a community dance artist.
Although slightly jealous that I don't get to experience Overture all over again this year; I wish the next cohort and hopefully many more to come all the best on a journey that may, as it did for me, reaffirm your practice, challenge and encourage whilst introducing you to a wealth of fantastic, like-minded people to support and encourage us into the future of our careers.
Thank you all involved in Overture; I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of such an incredible experience!