|Photo by Brian Slater; YDE Young Creatives selection weekend 2010|
Clear communication is essential in effectively managing participation projects. Every situation is different, and every project will require a specific set of considerations, but I believe in and will always endeavour to uphold these general principles (which are given here in no particular order):
• As a professional dance artist, I want to provide access for all individuals to take part in dance activities of all kinds.
• I want the dance activities I facilitate to promote enjoyment of dance and to nurture the creativity of the individuals taking part.
• I believe in empowering individuals: it is my task as a teacher/facilitator to enable participants to locate, put into practice and take confidence in their own creativity / creative decision-making, not to dictate to them how and why they should move.
• I benefit from careful preparation for and structuring of the dance participation activities I facilitate.
• Learning from experience and thoughtful preparation enables me to be more ready for the possibility that I might need to make ongoing changes to modify the content of a dance activity based on the particular needs of a group.
• I believe in challenging participants and setting high standards for the work I do with a range of individuals. As an example of this, I think it is important for dance participation activities to include a range of performance opportunities (e.g. small sharings within a workshop, in-school assemblies or end of project performances in professional venues for example).
• All the dance participation activities I facilitate will integrate opportunities for feedback, and that includes the participants feeding back on each other’s work, as well as me offering feedback where appropriate.
• I believe it is essential to establish a good working rapport with the individuals in any dance session in order for those individuals to feel free to create their best work. I will be as honest and open as possible with the participants and encourage them to do the same. Through managing a safe, enjoyable working environment that is structured but always open to change I aspire to nurturing the participants’ respect, for each other and for me. As a result of this respect, I expect them to engage fully and to feed back thoughtfully and sensitively on what takes place in each session.
• This management of a safe and respectful working environment also extends beyond the activity of the studio and into any spaces in which the project management of a dance opportunity may take place. Throughout any participation project, I will remain sensitive to the needs of any partner organisations, and I will take the time to communicate clearly with those partners, keeping them informed about the progress of the project.