A few weeks ago I did my first dance related volunteer work. Mass Movement is a U Dance Platform for Leicestershire and Rutland. There was 12 youth dance companies and I believe five of those were selected to go through to the next round to the regional platform. It took place at Curve which is a large building and a complete circle (as the name suggests) which looks fantastic but makes it rather confusing to navigate your way around!
I must mention that I really didn’t want to take part in the few days leading up to it, I’d not had a good week and very little sleep and really wasn’t in the mood to be running around after young people for about 12 hours. I was really wary going into it and even tried to get out of it – but after finding out there was supposed to be 12 volunteers and they’d only managed to get 6, I would’ve felt far too guilty if I’d just stayed in bed.
Being a volunteer for this event was insightful and beneficial for my development; it gave me a realistic insight into dance management and a different perspective being on the organisation side of an event and all the work that goes into it behind the scenes that I wouldn’t have considered as a performer. I was assigned two dance companies for the day and had to make sure they were both always in the right place at the right time, knew where they were going and where they were supposed to be (this was rather challenging seeing as I was only given a quick five minute tour of the building at the start of the day and then was left to it) and had everything they needed.
It ended up being really a lot of fun and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. It was a long day and physically exhausting running around the building for 12 hours making sure everything was running smoothly, and stressful at times having the pressure of making sure groups got on stage on time and taking them to the correct stage door and ensuring they didn’t miss anything on their schedules. It was rewarding when everything went to plan and we all felt as though we’d worked successfully as a team to make the day go as planned. We got to see most of the show in the evening and the standard was fantastic, I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one to decide the next stage!
I felt a bit strange at times being on the other side of the production rather than performing, especially since this time last year I was performing in U Dance with Dance2. It was refreshing to be on the production side of things and get another perspective but I have to say there were times when I wished I was getting on stage to perform.
I also got to join in with a Latin workshop that had been organised for the dancers which is something I’ve wanted to start for years and never had the chance, so that was a brilliant opportunity I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t volunteer.
I would 100% take the chance to get involved with anything similar again in the future as I think it has been a really positive experience and exposed me to a different section of the industry I ultimately want to work in, and opened more doors for me. Since doing this I’ve applied to work as a volunteer at MOVE IT in London which will be a similar role but on a much larger scale – watch this space.
Much Love x