Over the course of the past 6 months I have worked alongside Hull Dance and other dance professionals, in order to gain experience, knowledge and broaden my skills within the dance world as a recent graduate. I have previously worked with Hull Dance assisting to deliver workshops and sessions weekly to a Youth Group leading up to the pandemic. I also worked with TIN Arts to teach a programme at Ganton Special School, a secondary school within the Hull area working towards a performance at the FRESH event during 2020.

However, over these last 6 months I have had the wonderful opportunity to assist in delivering the Flourish programme run by Hull Dance which consists of an Over 55’s class and an MS class, as well as providing input to the Youth Dance Framework Development sessions offered by TIN Arts and working alongside Emma Clayton and Blood Memory Dance on the Time of our lives project.

Over this time delivering the MS class and the Over 55’s class became a new and exciting challenge for me as I had never had dance teaching experience within these areas, and I had also never taught online via zoom. I spent the first sessions participating before eventually contributing to planning and delivering exercises, warmups and tasks. I feel this has enabled me to gain knowledge and has developed my practice as a teacher and a creative artist, enhancing my transferable skillset for the future.

I have also enjoyed working with Emma and Blood Memory Dance as part of the Time of Our Lives programme alongside musician Georgia Jakubiak. I feel this project has influenced me the most, as up until now I had not participated in any singing. Working with Georgia enabled us as creatives to choreograph and move to a live singer, which has an entirely different creative aspect about it that I had never encountered before therefore, allowing us to move in a new way.

Singing is something that I had never tried to do up until this project. In this project we have participated within singing sessions including vocal warmups, exercises and tasks. I feel that this is something I have really enjoyed and that I could take with me into other career roles within the future and that it has also contributed to the way I move along with our pieces that we have created as a group overall.

Throughout this time as part of the MS groups project we collaborated with Georgia partaking within more singing sessions, allowing us to learn and perform a piece of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ that we later sent to Georgia to edit together for us to put alongside a dance video, that we had choreographed and recorded as a tribute to those that we have lost, in the last year, either due to the pandemic or MS. I feel, this project was something that without Hull Dance I would have never been a part of and that through this work I have gained many contacts and new opportunities that otherwise I would have not encountered.

Within the Time of our Lives sessions we have created family dance pieces as well as a group dance piece that we will be sharing via zoom to the other classes and our families. This project has been based around this past year and I feel has really engaged me and my family through movement over the course of the pandemic. The other massive factor that has helped me throughout this time is working via zoom, something which I have never had experience with prior to the pandemic that I can take with me going forward.

I have Hull Dance to thank for the opportunities that I have been given. I feel that my practices with Hull Dance have influenced my teaching going forward and whilst working with TIN Arts to input around the Youth Dance Framework development I have recently looked into setting up an after-school dance club within the primary school that I teach at, enabling me to begin and further my dance teaching career, a journey that began with Hull Dance.

Zoe Johnson, March 2021