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So what are you waiting for?
Date posted: 12 March 2020
People Dancing's Summer School 2020 is just around the corner and we spoke to Community Dance Artist and Young Practitioners Advisory Group member Jasmine Hall about the impact of getting a Young People's bursary and taking part last year
Jasmine Hall. Photo: Sara Hibbert, Danielle Teale Dance, Dancing with Parkinson's Programme

What made you apply for the People Dancing Summer School?

I had been looking for a CPD course that would be suitable for a recent graduate who is trying to find their way in the community dance world! I wanted to immerse myself in as many ways of working as possible and with the huge variety of courses on the People Dancing Summer School, I was able to pick and choose what courses I wanted to do. Once I chose what I wanted to explore throughout the week, I got in touch with the People Dancing team straight away to get some further information.

Did the opportunity to apply for a bursary encourage you?

Absolutely! As an independent freelancer, it is really hard to budget in training and CPD courses when you have other expenses which are considered as ‘more important’. However, it is actually incredibly important to give yourself time and space to develop your skills, explore new facilitating techniques and to get out of your comfort zone. People Dancing understand this and offer the bursary to help people like myself to be able to afford to take time out of work to participate in training. This absolutely encouraged me to apply and with the process being a short online form, it couldn’t have been easier!

What three things would you say have impacted on or made a difference to your dance practice since attending the Summer School?

It is really hard to narrow it down to only three things! However, I think the most important things that have impacted my work are:

  • Absorbing different practitioners’ techniques and ways of working, and incorporating this in my own artistry
  • Meeting and developing relationships with the professional artists, which in turn, has opened up new work opportunities for me
  • Discovering what direction I want to take my career in and types of work that I do not necessarily want to invest my time in.

The People Dancing Summer School experience is all about revealing lots of new information about yourself, your work and artistry. By immersing myself into lots of different courses throughout the week, I was able to explore what I enjoy in community dance and what I don’t. For example, I discovered my love for dance for those living with Parkinson’s and the older community. I realised that this was the direction I wanted to take my career, instead of working in early years settings.

I also had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with the professional artists running the courses. I met Danielle Teale who ran the ‘Introduction to Dancing with Parkinson’s’ course and have since been one of her mentees and I am now one of Danielle Teale Dance’s supporting artists. I was able to work alongside Danielle and understand her way of working to now run deliver her class in Hackney. This opportunity wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the Summer School!

What other things did you find beneficial about the summer school?

Another thing that I found incredibly important about the Summer School was networking! This can be a very scary prospect when you are a recent graduate who is still exploring who they are as an artist. However, it is hard to express how important it is to make the most out of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who are working in all realms for community dance. I have met other artists who I have since had the opportunity to work with and have now become friends for life! We discuss ideas, thoughts and techniques regularly and I know I can count on them for words of encouragement and confidence.

Is there one thing that you have done differently since attending the Summer School?

The one thing I have done differently since attending the Summer School is being more confident when delivering my work. The Summer School has given me the tools to solidify my artistry and techniques for teaching and delivering classes and projects. Just by being in the space with artists at a range of different points in their careers and feeling a sense of confidence in what you are doing is great! The confidence this Summer School has given me has fed into every aspect of my professional life, being able to hold my head high and work with the utmost confidence in myself!

What would you say to a younger practitioner, perhaps a new graduate to encourage them to apply?

DO IT NOW! It may be scary, daunting and you may feel like you don’t deserve to invest some time for yourself to grow and develop. We all know how hard it is financially as a freelancer, but with the support of the bursary, it puts your mind at ease and allows you to focus on all that this opportunity can offer you. Applying for the bursary is as simple as filling out a small online form.

As a new graduate, you want to absorb as much information as you can, to discover who you are as a person and as an artist. You will learn things that may not initially resonate with you, but you also might experience something truly eye opening - you will never know unless you try! Use all the resources around you to learn, grow and discover. Connect with those around you and learn from some incredible practitioners. It truly is an amazing experience that I could not recommend more.

So what are you waiting for?

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Currently, Jasmine Hall Dance is working for a variety of companies specialising in delivering work and projects for the older generation, those living with Parkinson’s, SEN young people and in schools. This includes working for Trinity Laban, DanceEast, Royal Academy of Dance, Danielle Teale Dance and Green Shoes Arts. She has also undertaken further professional development as a member of the Overture programme with Mathew Bourne’s New Adventures. Her aim for this year is to start devising and delivering her own projects and classes independently and continuing to discover her own artistry.

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Photograph credits: Top image: Jasmine Hall, Walthamstow Garden Party 2019. Photograph: Dash Dot Dance Inclusive Workshop. Square image: Jasmine Hall, Dancing with Parkinson's Programme. Photographer: Sara Hibbert, Danielle Teale Dance.