Six months after a graduating from the postgrad diploma Community Dance course at Laban, I saw an ad for a Dance Leadership training course – ABLE. A little premature maybe, having just started my career in dance, but combined with having moved out of the dance and arts hub that is London, a little CPD was definitely in order. I applied and was 1 in 30 that got a place. I expected to go for a couple of workshops, get some handouts, and be on my way with something to add to my CV. I got so much more from the project.
One of the main things was Hakeem Onibudo, the course designer and leader, reminding the group that we had all been selected to take part in the program based on our drive, attitude and outlook – we were all leaders in some way already. We maybe just didn’t think so. (Or didn’t like the word leader.)
I read the delegate list on the way to the first session and it hit home how serious this thing was – people working in respectable roles at English National Ballet, Royal Opera House, Candoco! I’d just started and these guys were seasoned professionals! But as Hakeem kept reminding us,
we had all been chosen as leaders in our fields.
Experience aside, these amazing people were my peers! This was a massive confidence boost. And a necessary one.
I think it’s hard, being a freelancer, to constantly remind yourself where you’re at and how good you are. Without the structure of a ‘workplace’ you don’t have the same benchmarks to compare yourself to, or feedback from someone more experienced than you. Having a British Council appointed Cultural Ambassador tell me that I AM a leader, and that the things I’m doing and the vision I see are worthwhile to the point where others may want to come with me on my ‘quest’, is priceless at this stage. I may be new to the dance sector but I have a big vision regarding how people can link up, share and collaborate and it appears I’m on the right track!