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- Whoop! and Argh!
Welcome to 2021! A delayed post due to the insanely busy start to the year thanks to a fantastic cocktail of events both positive and challenging in equal measure. I was very grateful to receive my Arts Council England National Lottery Grant for Dance Mama Live! which has been a 'thing' since 2019, but is now an actual tangible 'thing'! There's the WHOOP! I am working like the clappers behind the scenes to bring you the best programme possible with partners Sadler's Wells, One Dance UK, Yorkshire Dance, DanceXchange and Clearcut. The ticket release is coming imminently, and for more details on this FREE progressive and much-needed programme of monthly activity of webinars and creative workshops with experts and artists from across the organisations click here - where you can also sign-up for updates. However, hearing this a mere four days after our third national lockdown was announced has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. When ole BoJo sent us back into our hibernation (and let's face it, we had all seen it coming, but like each time the rules have changed is always a total downer) I was at the hob and just cried out, 'For ****'s sake! What was the point of me doing a flippin' degree and wanting a career if the government insist on giving me no time to do it, ARRRGHHHHH!!!!!' I know that a good group you out there probably feel the same. This is also said with the respect and grace of our fellow comrades working full or part time in jobs they are less passionate about, and those homemakers too - I doff my cap to you. With respect to that and being more than happy to do my part and do my duty to my children and family and help the national effort. I just want to highlight what this looks like from a freelance dance sector working parent. May I introduce to you the uninitiated, the time sponge that is homeschooling - which is putting enormous, unsustainable pressure on all involved. Like oil and water, I vowed not to try and do both work and homeschool at the same time. They do not mix. Inevitably someone is left frustrated and crying (usually me) when those pinch points occur, so I do my best to avoid it. So that makes for a really long day. Like really long. Today I started at 5am when I was awoken by my 4-year old and couldn't get back to sleep thanks to the Hamilton soundtrack ear worm and ideas for this site, da-da-da-dah-da... This is just my take, and there is a plethora of circumstances, situations, furloughs, redundancies, technical poverty and gender equality that is being cranked up to the max... Joeli Brearley and the good folks of @pregnantthenscrewed and Anna Whitehouse @mother_pukka have been doing an amazing job highlighting that it is not possible for parents (mainly the Mums) to be doing homeschooling and work, and running a house. Some solutions have been furlough or increased flexible working. If your self-employed like me, and just been giving a wonderful gift to get cracking on your business, stopping is not really an option. I mean I could? But where does that leave you, with the content and programme I am creating for you that's taken years to build. Mmm...(plus I enjoy it). So what does it look like in reality? I feel inspired to write this as I just don't feel that there is enough empathy. Something I touched on with Danielle Jones today on her brilliant project Artists Exchange Programme's Instagram live. E to the M to the P to the A to the T to the Y. Sure, all circumstances and all backgrounds are under so much pressure - non so-much as the frontliners. Big love to those working tremendously hard to keep us safe. I can only write what I know, and this is a little window what our week looks like: Monday 9am - 3pm Homeschool, with a bit of emailing and site updates in and around year 3 maths (God I was so happy o have left maths behind in year 11 and it is back, BACK with a vengeance) and maybe a drop off its one of the pre-school days for kiddie number 2 (who is like a WWF wrestler and a pinball at the moment - really conducive to concentration). 3 - 4.30pm Juggling playing with/entertaining the kids, with a few work calls and more admin. 4.30 - 6pm The dinner jive 6 - 8pm The put down jam 8 - 10pm + More admin Then - Schitts Creek break (what is it about our generation and programme's with Creek in the title - go Dawsons!) Repeat until Friday .... Saturday 9am - 5.30pm Work uninterrupted and sigh. Sunday Family Day - nature walk and get those incidental steps up! Now, I don't have an aversion to working. I have a strong work ethic, and sometimes that can get me into trouble. However, the expectations on all working parents needs to change. Remember last year when everyone was super supportive when your kid walked in on a call? That was shortly after laughing at that poor woman wrangling her kid of a BBC news interview (man, how irritating was that reaction). That is still definitely OK by me, but I'm not so sure that this is the case across the board. Talking to PiPA Campaign this week and from the general mood of looking at the stats around women in the pandemic, COVID-19 is definitely highlighting gender inequality in terms of choices being made around parenting , domestic and job responsibilities that could potentially drag us back to the 50s for longer than lockdown. Now, I love Elvis and a bit of doo-whop, but I definitely want to leave the lack of progress on the equality front there, thanks. I may be jesting here, but I don't say this lightly. So, I shall finish this 'insight' with a huge amount of gratitude to the teachers and the children who are doing their level best to navigate this tempestuous waters (often simultaneously teaching on Zooms whilst homeschooling their own kids) and to you, comrade - I see you! You now know what the beavering away looks like from the Dance Mamaship - duplicated I'm sure in households up and down the UK. So I implore us all - be kind, everyone is fighting a battle. I have created Dance Mama Live! for you - yes you! And it's FREE! Have a gander at the info page and sign up for guaranteed creative time, inspiration, information, connection and community.
- The 6-month Mark
So, what the blazes has been going on since I last blogged? Part of my brain is still stuck in March to be fair. We have reached the 6-month mark in this situation known by many names; pandemic, global crisis, COVID-19, COVO, The VID etc. With my limited, but interested knowledge of crisis response, is an important step to acknowledge. I thought this would be a pertinent time for me to pen a few reflections I have had on this period and highlight some moments that have occurred. Part of my brain is still stuck in March to be fair. Like with most families, a major one has been settling the children back into school and I guess I haven’t really had the bandwidth to write a blog until now, 4 weeks in. Looking back at my last blog (an aeon ago otherwise known as March 2020) it is clear to see how much energy the home schooling was taking up. Being pragmatic, the threat of this is something that still hangs over our parental heads, and is something some parts of the world are still experiencing. So, my thoughts on how I have kept going are ‘make hay while the sun shines,’ in that in the snatches of time that have been available, I have asked myself the question, ‘How can I best serve?’ So, in spite of the times, I have cracked on as best as possible with pushing Dance Mama forwards to best serve you. I have also made sure that I pace myself and have ‘buffer time’. Practice what you preach, sista. I have asked myself the question, ‘How can I best serve?’ Here are some highlights: Dance Mama now has over 50 stories, with a couple now on YouTube with staff from New Adventures (including Associate Artistic Director, Etta Murfitt) and Ruby Wolk, Senior Ballet Learning Manager, Royal Opera House. This month we have a very generous offering coming this month from Leila McMillan in support of #BLAW2020 Dance Mama has worked with more mentees who have taken advantage of the 1-hour pay what you can session for newbies (still available) and other session discounts, to support them to also crack on with their creativity in this difficult moment. The Project Management Masterclass has moved online to support dance folk and beyond as an education about the ins and outs of bringing their creative ideas to life, whilst merrily singing the praises of Excel. Whoot! Free ‘Community Chats’ have been provided on Zoom to connect dance peeps in a fun and friendly space with like-minded individuals to discuss issues of the day. I have been speaking about being a #dancemama in online forums across our fair nation to some frankly, brilliant people (like Mothers Who Make and Jude Kelly CBE) through Birmingham Dance Network, Parents in Performing Arts Campaign and WOW Foundation. Following an ‘in conversation’ with Active Pregnancy Foundation and a failed but enjoyable attempt at a PhD scholarship, I was invited to join them as Secretariat to the Scientific Advisory Board. Rejection is redirection people! Set up a wellness sister site Spirit Mama to divulge and explore further my approach to life. I do hope that somewhere along the way with all of this, I have been able to give you some succour, either remotely by my ramblings and posts (or the odd Facebook Live video), or in person through any other aforementioned programmes. I do what I can to consistently look to the future with as much optimism as possible to muster. In spite of everything, it is imperative that we do whatever it takes to healthily feed our inspiration and passion for our artform as a down payment on creating some smashing experiences for those in greatest need now as well as when we can all freely dance together again. Have on repeat in your minds ‘This too shall pass.’ #dance #dancemama #parenting #COVID19 #Zoom #Googlemeet #YouTube #optimism #mentoring
- What A Day This Has Been!
Today is a special anniversary of a year since my trip to Dublin to meet Patricia Ward Kelly @genekellylegacy, wife of #dancepapa icon Gene Kelly , and the RTE Concert Orchestra playing excerpts of his work, interspersed with biographical and historical anecdotes from Patricia. It was a magical trip, and a MAJOR highlight of my career. Many moons ago, I grew up watching Gene on many a Sunday afternoon with my family, spending a vast majority of my childhood in Stratford Operatic Society (now Stratford Musical Theatre Company) and Stratford Music Centre, with my professional debut aged 8 with the RSC’s first collaboration (I know understand) with Opera North, Show Boat . Musical Theatre really shaped my understanding and appreciation for music, dance and theatre Musical Theatre really shaped my understanding and appreciation for innovation in music, dance and film, and by the time I went off to Laban I had been in 30 productions. Crikey! ‘Why didn’t you go to musical theatre school?’ I hear you cry. Well, I can sing in tune, but the timbre is not really West-End level. That is to be left to the likes of consummate professionals such as #musicaltheatremama Caroline Sheen. Gene’s enigmatic style and performance quality is clear to anyone who is familiar with MGM’s work of the golden Hollywood era. When I reached the last year of my degree I was passionate to write my dissertation about his huge contribution to dance on film which being mainstream, academically had gone a little unnoticed. I think the big budgets and joy seemed to mask the absolute science behind creating his cinedance. The three big ones for me are of course, Singin’ In the Rain (1952), the Alter Ego sequence from Covergirl, 1944 (which was the first ever film-on-film choreography) and The Worry Song from Anchors Aweigh (1945). The latter being another first for animation and live action choreography for the first time. Of course, a fourth would also be On The Town (1949)– a first for site-specific choreography. As well as being a law degree student, speaking an array of languages and a lover of poetry and literature, his writing on capturing the kinesthetic of movement on screen with multiple angles and shots to create the illusion of the audiences ‘collective eye’ is a testament to Gene’s fierce intelligence and creativity. Lightning struck twice last year as the enigmatic Patricia invited me to the BFI event last November, which delved deeper into stories and artefacts – I enjoyed geek-ing out with my sister who is also a long-time Kelly fan. I understand that like so many brilliant shows, COVID-19 has put a hold on concerts due to be held over this period, but the project is due back at the Southbank next year (after multiple global tours). I implore any musical theatre fan to catch this fantastic experience when you next get the opportunity. All together now, ‘What a day this has been…’
- ARTICLES | dancemama
Articles WHATCHA READIN'? Here's a selection of articles about being a parent working in dance from across the globe. Happy to add more recommendations! Contact me. Portfolio Professionals - an update from Dance Mama Portfolio Professionals Lucy McCrudden As an arts case study in the third edition of 'Building A Portfolio Career' (Adrian Bourne, Christopher Lyons & Colin McCrudden), Lucy gives an update on how her portfolio has evolved over the pandemic. MAY 2021 READ Dance and Motherhood with Dance Mama Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Lucy McCrudden Interviewing five women who are members of the ISTD who work across the sector, Lucy highlights the issues faced by women business-owners in dance at different stages of parenthood. APRIL 2021 READ Patter of tiny feet: dancers on leaping into motherhood The Guardian Lyndsey Winship speaks to #DanceMama Elizabeth Harrod, Lauren Cuthbertson, Bobbi Jean Smith, Temitope Ajose-Cutting, Kate Prince and Colette Hansford about their parenting experiences, supporting parents and the COVID-19 lockdowns. 2021 READ Ballet dancers in lockdown hear the patter of tiny feet The Times The Times speaks to #DanceMama Lauren Cuthbertson and Tara Brigitte Bhavnani of the Royal Ballet talk about their parenting experiences in lockdown. 2021 READ The Lights Aren't On And Everybody's Home PiPA Campaign Ambassadors - incl. Lucy McCrudden #DanceMama contribution to the PiPA Campaign article on parents in the arts during the COVID19 crisis 2020 READ Does the dance industry lose it's female dancers to motherhood? Belinda Lee Chapman Belinda explores the question around why there are less women working in dance who are parents. 2019 (originally published 2016) READ Dancing after having a baby KJ Mortimer blogs about her experience as a #DanceMama whilst performing with Stopgap Dance Company 2019 READ Dancers in a new role Danceinforma.com talks to three American #DanceMama 2016 READ Are you a dancer and a mother? Danceinforma.com talks to four American #DanceMamas 2016 READ Ballerinas with bumps: Elizabeth Harrod and Laura McCulloch on the challenges of balancing dancing and motherhood Chris Shipman Head of Brand Engagement & Soical Media The Royal Opera House Chris interviews two Soloists - one a new mother and the other expecting - on the challenge of juggling two hugely exhausting but rewarding jobs. 10 APRIL 2015 READ Dancing a new routine Lucy McCrudden #DanceMama original article for One Dance UK 2014 READ Dancing Through Pregnancy Dancemagazine.com.au talks to Australian #DanceMamas 2012 READ
- TERRY HYDE | dancemama
Terry Hyde (centre) with Barbara Streisand TERRY HYDE .' 'Get all the help that is offered and if it isn't offered, ask for it Father of six. Phsycotherapist and founder of . Counselling for Dancers Former dancer for the Royal Ballet and soloist for then-named London Festival Ballet (ENB) and countless TV, film and musical theatre appearances and developing his own business management company, Terry retrained to be a psychotherapist and set up Counselling for Dancers. He became a Dance Papa in the 1970s and offers his unique perspective on how little help there was at that time. TW: @counsellingdance IG: @counsellingfordancers What was the most challenging aspect of working in dance and being a parent for you? Being away from home on tour was the hardest for me, because it was only at weekends would I see the children when touring in the UK. On tours abroad the times away from home were longer. What support did you feel you had from work when your partner was pregnant? I didn’t think about support back then and there wasn’t any anyway. What support do you feel you had on paternity leave? No support, paternity wasn’t available when I was dancing. Was there anything that may not have been in place that you felt could have been useful? Not that I can think of. Do you think being a dancer/ working in the dance industry made you think differently about your partner's pregnancy/recovery? No not really. It wasn’t something that I thought about. Those were the days when you had to “just get on with it”. From your experience, what advice would you give to an expectant parent regarding leave? Get all the help that is offered and if it isn’t offered, ask for it. What changed most for you on your return to work? Not applicable Did parenting help you in your work? I enjoyed coming back from performing at night and giving the babes their late feed. A pleasant bonding event. Did dance help you in your parenting? Unfortunately, I didn’t think about that back then. Do you know of any resources that already exist for parents who work in dance? I’m afraid not. Anything else you think would be worth raising? Nothing worth raising from a serious point of view, but I will tell of the time when my eldest daughter, (who was 2 at the time) was sitting next to me watching on the television and couldn’t figure out that I was on the television and sitting next to her at the same time. Play School More about Terry Terry started dancing at age 6 and at age 10 was awarded a 5 year scholarship at the RAD. He went to the Royal Ballet School 16 - 18 years I joined the Royal Ballet, moving to London’s Festival Ballet (now ENB) as a soloist, also performing in West End musicals, Film and TV. Upon retiring from performing, I set up and ran a business management organisation for clients in show business. After selling the business 15 years later, he trained as a psychotherapist. He attained an MA in psychotherapy validated by Middlesex University in 2012, and in 2017 set up the website , specifically to address the mental health needs of dancers. counsellingfordancers.com ORGANISATIONS MORE STORIES
- RESOURCES | dancemama
Resources RESEARCH Science & more Research papers, articles and projects from leading scientists and organisations Read More ARTICLES Response Publish articles in the media by Dance Mamas and for Dance Mamas Read More BOOKS Great Next Reads Book recommendations for help on being a parent working in dance Read More Organisations ADVOCACY One Dance UK The UK body for dance, and the sectors leading support organisation. Dance Mama Founder, Lucy McCrudden, is a member. VISIT CAMPAIGN PIPA Campaign Conducting extensive research across theatre, dance and music to support working parents. Dance Mama Founder, Lucy is an Ambassador VISIT CAREERS Dancers Career Development Supporting dancers to successfully transition into alternative careers. DCD have supported the Dance Mama Live! event VISIT Active Pregnancy Foundation The Active Pregnancy Foundation aims to remove traditional barriers and social stigmas, ensuring there is easily accessible provision in expertise, information and support for women who choose to be active throughout pregnancy and motherhood. As a charity the Active Pregnancy Foundation intends to normalise active pregnancies, and have been instrumental in the development of Chief Medical Officer approved guidelines for pre and postnatal activity in the UK. They have the latest guidance on COVID-19 advice for pre and postnatal women, an online directory of activity and more brilliant research. In 2021 they are guest on both the professional development and general public strands of Dance Mama Live! Dance Mama Founder, Lucy McCrudden, is also Secretariat to the charities Scientific Advisory Board. ACTIVITY GUIDLINES DANCE MAMA LIVE! APF SITE counselling for dancers Terry Hyde MA MBACP is a Psychotherapist/Counsellor who founded Counselling for Dancers recognising that the dance population needs specific mental health support. Terry is a retired performer and a #dancepapa - you can read his story here, and visit his site. TERRY'S STORY VISIT SITE