Clare Guss-West is a very interesting woman. She is the dance moderator for the European Network of Opera and Dance (Reseo): a network of all the “movers and shakers” in dance and opera across Europe (think ENB, ROH). I was lucky enough to be contacted by Clare to speak about dance, its various uses and how it can be used to capture imagination.
She found out about me through LinkedIn and my involvement in the Dancing Statistics project. We met on Skype (slightly wierd for a first introduction!), did our introductions, and Clare asked me some questions.
Clare spoke of how she is interested in dance as a teaching tool, not just for teaching ‘the ususal’ curriculum subjects, but as a way into learning about music and opera – dancing the different qualities of the music to give a novel perspective by which to experience the music. Clare was presenting this idea at the Reseo ‘GENERATION Y: Engaging young adults in opera and dance’ conference in Brussels, October ’13. She said wanted to capture the imagination of the delegates and get them thinking laterally of new ways to make arts in big oragnisations accessible and creative.
She wanted my perspective as a young adult as to how it might be possible to make dance, opera and the arts approachable and engaging for other young adults. She wanted to know about other projects I’d been involved in that were for young adults, about Dancing Statistics (as a clear example of using dance to access non-dance-related subject matter), and about my wider interests in dance and its potential uses.
It turned out we had both previously been involved in research projects investigating the use of dance with older adults, including those with dementia (though she set up a research project, where I only assisted in one!), and our conversation even strayed to the positive social impacts of dance more widely. Such sparkling conversation after meeting on Skype!
After talking, Clare invited me to write “something” relating to what we’d talked about (she later referred to my “something” as an article – thank you very much!) to give to the delegates at the conference and put on the Reseo online newsletter. Amazing. I often feel that children and young people get an aweful lot of focus from arts projects (and indeed a gazillion other governement initiatives), so to be asked to write as a young adult about my ‘perspective’, my passionate opinions and beliefs around the efficacy and power of dance as a tool for many things was fantastic.
I would like to see more projects, work placements, funds, master classes, and opportunities for young adults – or rather young adults at the start of their artistic careers. I speak as one of them: I’m not an emerging artist, I’m not a virtuosic youth, I’m a young adult and I want to make a go of being an artist – help me out!
Maybe I should start setting up opportunities for others instead of waiting for them (and stick to the managing and production and writing)…