I moved to the Scottish Highlands to work as a dance associate for plan B dance theatre company based in Evanton, Ross-Shire. It felt so good to be up north again (although still a blooming 12-14 boat journey home – why is Shetland so far away?!), and it was really great to see what dance is going on up here.Theres a real dance community and a lot happening. All of the other dancers were very welcoming and it helped to have people to bounce ideas off.
I have been self-employed for the last six years now and completely loved it. I loved being my own boss, choosing what work I wanted to do and attending the professional development courses I thought best suited me. However I longed working for a company and learning from other individuals within a company. As well as the social aspects that come along with this.
Most of all though, I wanted to learn from how small scale dance companies created work and sustained themselves in rural areas.
And so led me to plan B. I auditioned and got the role of dance associate for a 10 month contract. Check out their website http://www.planbcreative.org/
They have been around for over 20 years now, and appear to be continuing to grow and excel in the work they are producing. I was excited to work under a choreographer and to learn his technique and artistic vision.
Through working for them I had the time to choreograph solos (something I had never done before – I normally work choreographing on other dancers or being choreographed on) and performed it at a local festival, Belladrum, Shuffle 4 and Tumen River International Festival, China. I found this really quite challenging, but it was great to be able to work alone and explore different themes and ideas with the support of an outside eye.
I also got chance to participate in one of plan B’s choreocraft sessions. This was absolutely brilliant as it gave me chance to employ other dancers to explore a vision together.
Other choreocraft’s that took place while I was there were Christine Devaney, Steinver Palsson and Lucy Boyes and Stephen Pelton. These were really great as I got to see a bit of their creative processes as well as getting to partake in their morning company classes. During my time at plan B I also got company class from the artistic director Frank McConnell.
Working for plan B also gave me time to get all my boring old (but extremely important!!) admin together such as this beautiful blog, a website and a facebook site. Phew (starting to understand the phrase square eyes now!!).
plan B also supported me to be able to attend a GAGA intensive course in London. This was great to see other approaches to contemporary dance and improvisation and I thoroughly appreciated this opportunity. I hope to attend another one at some point……