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The art of togetherness: Developing your soft skills in dance
Tuesday 23 July 2024, with Professor Sara Houston

This one-day course will explore what soft skills you already hold as a dance artist, how you can describe them to employers and funders, and how you might want to grow them for your own professional development.

Soft skills are sometimes known as life skills, 21st century skills or social and emotional skills. They are key to successful communication, smooth negotiation, thoughtful leadership and happily dancing participants. They lie beneath all the technical know-how that you have, allow you to operate in challenging contexts and help you develop as a self-aware, reflective, highly employable practitioner.

However, they can be vague, underused and hard to describe. Even if we can list them – for example, understanding and appreciating differences, recognising strengths, taking care of others, patience, flexibility and adaptability, conflict resolution – to name a few – we often don’t appreciate when we are using them or articulate them well to potential employers, collaborators and funders.

This course will draw on the FREE easily accessible Empowering Dance Soft Skills Digital Guidebook, created via an exciting pan-European collaboration.

"What skills do we practice when we share a dance experience? Connect eyes, offer a hand, or balance together in a moment? What is happening? We are practising the skills of togetherness.” Soft Skills: Digital Guidebook

This course is ideal for both early career and more experienced artists who wish to develop their practice and learn from each other.

Above image credit: Courtesy of Empowering Dance (archive of the project).

£60 People Dancing Members / £87 Standard

Book your place here

Standard price tickets include People Dancing Associate Individual Membership for one year with the joining fee wavered. To find out more about the benefits of this membership please click Associate Individual Membership.

Quotes from previous attendees of this course:

“I reflected on many perspectives about soft skills that I had not noticed before; I felt impressed and loved the part we went around the room and moved freely.”
“It was a wonderful opportunity to openly discuss and explore important topics that are essential to our work but can often be overlooked or disregarded (by outside sources). I found it really 'nourishing' an informative and it left me feeling inspired and motivated!”

About Professor Sara Houston

Sara holds a Chair in Dance and Community Engagement at the University of Roehampton. She was a partner in the Empowering Dance Consortium and lead co-author of the digital guidebook produced, Soft Skills in Dance: A Guidebook to Enhance Your Practice. Sara was a pioneering researcher in dance for people living with Parkinson’s and, in particular, worked with English National Ballet for five years as lead researcher on its Dance for Parkinson’s programme.

She is the author of Dancing with Parkinson’s and won a BUPA Foundation Prize in 2011 for her work in this area. She holds a National Teaching Fellowship Award and was a finalist in the National Public Engagement Awards in 2014 for communicating her research to the general public. Sara was Chair of People Dancing for many years until 2020.

Image credit: Sara Houston.