A collective I have the pleasure of being part of, along with Ale, Ben, Bun, Julia & Sophie
Our work has been supported by The John Hodgson Theatre Research Trust
It sometimes feels that there is both everything and nothing going on all at once, my work is currently more irregular and thoughts even less linear than usual. So it is somewhat fitting to reflect a little on the work we have been doing as part of Salvage. (These thoughts are from my perspective, but there is collective documentation and other members experiences you should take a look at too).
Because as an independent artist, when work arrives in waves, where is the consistency?
In other jobs it is common to have a core group of colleagues. I could discuss lots in relation to Salvage, but will start with this – noticing what it is to work consistently with the same group.
In one of our collective documents, on togetherness and having colleagues, I wrote:
‘Salvaging our dancing together. The activity of training - in all its forms. With colleagues but also friends, dancers and teachers. To offer thoughts and feelings, to be witnessed as a performer and witness others dancing, to listen, suggest, teach and learn – sharing what we can. There is depth of experience and plenty to be shared.’
It is dedicating time to learn from others, without the hierarchy of pupil and teacher. And yet developing and sharing our individual practices in a supportive and curious space, has provided me with more confidence to facilitate. I think this time has changed how I lead and propose tasks; it has trained me further in creating spaces where participants can develop their confidence, creativity and experiment, finding both enjoyment and rigour.
Rigour has been a big part of this for me.
Each members different approaches has contributed.
I like that we don’t have to agree or even find a consensus.
We dance in parks.
Physically there is a strength you get from working outside. I imagine it trains more stability around the ankle joint, working on uneven surfaces. Everything feels less wafty at least.
(I have no doubt mentioned this numerous times before, but…) there is safety in numbers, dancing outside with others is easy, in a way where dancing alone in a park is personally more of mental challenge.
Part of that might be how helpful it is to acknowledge the distractions that arise.
There is a timelessness I associate with Salvage. Over the last couple of months, we have taken a break for many reasons …jobs, locations, babies…
In ways I have missed the regularity of training, but the support is still there – for me it feels like an unofficial, lateral form of mentoring.
In the least sentimental way possible, it is like having a supportive family within the dance community. And I believe this is a strong model for professional development, especially having: a combination of people with various levels of experience, a shared interest (for example we all had a desire to work outside), and a drop in structure which enables the necessary flexibility for freelancing.
The support of working with others, and sharing the belief that what you’re doing is necessary.
Another outcome was a document of collated scores – they will be available very soon. Please give them a go