In April 2015 I moved to Kampot to work with an Inclusive Arts NGO, Epic Arts.
I didn’t really know what to expect, however was pleasantly surprised to find out that here I would be choreographing works that would tour nationally and internationally, as well as leading the dance module on the inclusive arts course.
Its a big organisation with over 40 staff, both Khmer and Westerners.
Every day is certainly a school day here, and it is a long way from any home comforts, but so far the work has been great. Everybody that I have met in Cambodia is so kind; their joy and pleasantness is so admirable. I feel like I have a lot to learn from them!
I work every week with Epic Encounters, Epic Art’s professional dance company and teach them technique class, choreography skills, workshop skills and performance skills. We are also going to work together very soon to create a new piece about Cambodia that plans to tour to international audiences.
They are a brilliant group, so determined and if you set them a task, they are sure to do it over and above any preconceived expectations.
I work with the community dance company, Arts Team to support, mentor and observe their teaching skills as well as choreographing educational dance theatre pieces that are just about to go on a national tour and will be heading over to Singapore soon also.
As well as that I lead the dance module on the Inclusive Arts Course. The students are enrolled on the two year course and I work with them almost daily. Many have never danced however all put 100% into it.
The weather here is hot! And when it rains, it really rains (but hey, growing up in Shetland certainly prepared me for that!).
Things that I am finding difficult are the massive change of diet, being away from family and friend and the unpredictability of almost everything. I also can’t attend a dance class!!! Which is extremely hard! But apart from that, it’s an incredible experience, one that once its over (and I can eat healthily again with vegetables that don’t sometimes have maggots in them!) I’m sure all of these little things will melt away.
For now I am enjoying the dancing, the people, the cycle exploring and the river swimming. How wonderful it is to be able to jump in the river for a swim.
I hope to do my best this year with all of the pieces, and for all of the people.
And it’s all because of dance. And the fact that Every Person Counts (EPIC).
Check them out at http://www.epicarts.org.uk