Following my return from a lovely few days in the Netherlands, mainly to celebrate my mum’s retirement and belated birthday, I went straight into a new job as Development Manager at South East Dance, an organisation developing and promoting dance in, well, the South East. It had been rather a long process getting the job confirmed, but in the end the timing was about as perfect as it could have been. I’m not sure if I should be up-front about this or not, but I was actually recommended for the job – although, of course, they did interview me and check my credentials. I feel incredibly lucky and not a little proud of myself that just over a year into my career switch, my network and reputation in the Brighton arts scene is strong enough that work comes to me. And very interesting work, at that: South East Dance is a great organisation and a real joy to work with. My workplan is nicely varied and challenging, and a few weeks into the job I have now got past the ‘first day at school’ feeling and am more settled.
I do genuinely thank my lucky stars that I now work in a sector I am inspired by, and enjoy working in. During my first week at South East Dance, artist Antonia Grove did a sharing in the office as a result of her two-week residency there which had seen her work creatively with the team to gather material and inspiration for her own practice. The sharing was great, both funny and thought-provoking, and started with her dancing around the office. I just love that things like that are part of my working days now. And I love that I sometimes look up from my desk to see one of my colleagues in a handstand against the wall, to loosen up her muscles for a bit. A lot of my colleagues are dancers and choreographers themselves, and it makes me want to dance too.
Talking of which, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many people have complimented me on my posture over the last year or so. I have had a naturally good posture most of my life, and have never been afraid to stand up straight even though I am tall. However, I’ve never had so many people comment on it. I bumped into someone in the kitchen at the Lighthouse Gallery the other day, the creative hub where South East Dance are based, and told them I was working there, to which they said ‘Oh that’s no surprise, you look like a dancer’. To which I laughed out loud – I’ve always been clumsy and uncoordinated. I was a cute little girl in a pink tutu once, but eventually faced up to my maladroitness and gave up my dream of becoming a famous ballerina. Oh, and I was always the only kid in school categorically incapable of doing a handstand, and have still to this day never managed one. But my good posture is probably to do with being generally more confident, and it’s nice that people notice that.
So I am very happy right now to have another interesting role to learn from, and enjoy my seven-minute commute to work like you wouldn’t believe. It makes a huge difference to finish work and be home in time to do something, like meet a friend or go for a run or see something at the cinema. Or write my blog. Whether it will help me with my two left feet is another matter, but I still have a few months to work on that.