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Finding a voice

Already almost half way through 2024 and I haven't yet got around to writing a new blog post. Life just keeps moving at a faster and faster pace and the urge to stop and breathe is strong.

2024 started with myself and Ant taking a long awaited month off to embark on a trip down under to Australia, which had been in the planning for a number of years to visit good friends in Melbourne and to see some of that big wide world that we live in. How do you pack for a month away on the other side of the world when you are in the depths of Winter and Summer feels like a distant memory? Needless to say we didn't travel as light as we could have!

Visiting the spectacular 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road

Australia was everything we dreamed it would be and more, a beautiful, vast inspiring country (of which we saw a tiny bit of) with wonderful people, vivid culture and a shocking history of genocide and colonisation. We got lost in the vastness of nature, stunning empty beaches that went on for miles and miles, incredible exotic bird song and glimpses of cute looking koalas, seals and kangaroos. We enjoyed the sights, smells and culture of both Melbourne and Sydney with fantastic museums, boat trips. We even caught the Open Tennis in Melbourne and took in an opera at the iconic Sydney Opera House.

It was so inspiring to see the debates and the art being created to acknowledge the damage that was done to the First Nation people. The power of the Arts for change, the learning from history very much at the forefront of messaging in the media and the art people are making. That said, many of the people we spoke to were still reeling from the result of the recent Australian Indigenous Voice Referendum, which planned to give greater rights to the indigenous people, and was rejected by a majority of the Australian population. Much like the UK Brexit vote, once again it was a stark reminder that there is still work to be done, alongside a realisation that most of us seek out like minded people and live blissfully in a bubble with them.

Do check out the incredible work of artist, Katie Roberts, one of the dear friends we visited in Melbourne and whose work 'conveys the layered historical and contemporary stories of on Wurundjeri land and Melbourne/Narrm. She works to acknowledge and expose the impacts that colonisation imposed as well as acknowledge the enduring and powerful spirit of place.'

I'm reflecting on the power of the Arts to bring about change and how I can use my voice and my work in the context of making work for children and families. What are the messages and underlying themes I should be exploring through the art I make? What is my gift? Exploring the concept of 'fear of the dark' in our new show, Dance in the Dark, feels like a good place to start.

This week, I've also had the pleasure of spending a couple of days exploring 'Clown Dance' as part of Kitty Winters PHD research into the meeting point between contemporary dance and theatrical clowning. I've dabbled with clowning over the years and played with elements of clowning in my work, the power of laughter is such a good tonic. it was lovely to meet and play with other clown dancers and yes there was much hilarity, as well as very interesting and thought provoking discussion. My take away... the clown allows you to make mistakes, be vulnerable and if you can give yourself permission to do that, the magic happens.

Since retuning from Australia it has been an intense period of writing funding applications so that I can continue my journey of creating. In the meantime I continue to make music and dance, finding joy and inspiration in the people I meet and work with.

Watch this space for funding news, coming soon....

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