Monday, 21 March 2016

Even The Longest Journey Begins With A Single Skype (Confucious)

Just to clarify, in case anyone is unsure, the online sessions are for everyone to attend if they can, regardless of who your tutor is and who is taking the online session so pass the word along so we can all chat together and share ideas!

Friday's Skype session with Adesola, Lois-May and Lauren was such a great help to me for gaining more understanding about where I am heading. It was great to hear others' thoughts and to share some of my own.

One very important piece of understanding for me was that:
it is not the destination that is important, rather the journey. 

There are no wrong answers and the course is designed to make us think more deeply about what we are doing, where we are right now, and where we would like to go. It might be that we should like to go in one direction but after 6 months and researching everything we can about that path, we might decide that actually that is not the path we should like to pursue but we have discovered something else that suits us better. It is not that we are asking these questions in order to find the answers. We are asking these questions to understand ourselves better, to realise where we are right now and to gain a better understanding of where we might like to go and how we might get there.
We are on a journey of self discovery.

The tasks in the module are tools to help us to think and to stimulate our thoughts. Look at the bigger picture rather than only at what is directly in front. We do not have to concentrate on every task if that particular task does not stimulate our thinking but we can concentrate on the ones that do. We do not have to do every task as a set of instructions to be carried out. We can integrate tasks together with other tasks, and with our professional practice.

For example, we can integrate the use of social media platforms with reflection.
How did we use social media before this course?
Was it just something to use to keep in contact with friends?
Was it for self-promotion?
What did we know and understand about web 2.0 before we began to read, understand and research?
Now that we are at the start of our journey, and have hopefully looked into these things more deeply, what understanding and knowledge have we gained about social media?
Has observing our social media from a different perspective given us a better understanding of what others think of us?
Does the information we are gaining help us in our professional practice?
How has it helped us in our professional practice?
Has it given us something that perhaps we didn't have before?

We are meant to be integrating the tasks together with each other and with our professional practice. So we go to work, something happens that we think is connected to the tasks we are doing, we can reflect on it in our journals, gain a better understanding of ourselves and how and why we react the way we do, and then it can help us to deal with things in the future.

Another thing that Adesola asked us was who inspires us? This is something I have never really actively thought about. I have a lot of favourite dancers but while discussing who inspired me I found out that I am inspired by pioneers, people that force change and create. People like Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gene Kelly and Bob Fosse. I'm also inspired by people like Debbie Reynolds, a 19-year old gymnast who could only do a time step, but she learned how to tap alongside Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor for "Singing In The Rain". It is impossible to tell that she didn't know how to tap before that film. Her determination, hard work and commitment are inspiring.
Another person I find inspiring is my friend who is a singer and with whom I have often worked. I have been his manager and he has been mine. He handles some situations that arise differently from me and he makes me think more about how I handle situations and if there is a better way.

Another topic of conversation that came up was what do we really think of our professional practice? The tasks are there to stimulate us to think about what we are doing right now.

My professional practice is dance and performing. But my field is vast! There are so many jobs in the world of dance that we can move on to or develop. Dance teachers, benesh notation, repetiteur choreographers, assistant choreographers etc.. These are all jobs within my professional practice and there are lots more.

As we know, as professional dancers we cannot go on forever. Our bodies do not last forever and perhaps our circumstances change.
Where can we go within our field and what do we need to get there?
Have we got the things we need?
Where can we get them and how?
Is this really where we want to go?

These are questions which we can or cannot answer right now. If we do answer them then perhaps we shall want to change them later. That is very well. We do not know what the future holds. However, we can try to be as prepared as possible. This course is designed to help us to think about and understand who we are and where we are right now and where we may possibly want to go.

The destination is not important, our focus is the journey. 


  1. You've summed up the skype session so well! x

  2. thanks for this Nora - great questions - yes the learning and professional journey is central to the course - you have used the reflective prices well - threading the prompts form the session into your thinking - and this relates to others who are dong similar work but more widely to creative professionals seeking meaning and direction. Well stated blog!

  3. I agree with Lauren really summed it up well !