Recently we were delighted to have undergraduate dance student Chloe Pybus-Price join the D Project team for 6 weeks as part of her work placement. Chloe provided her own account and thoughts on the entire experience with The D Project and it's been encouraging to see how it has impacted her as she continues to contribute to the dance community. We'd love to share with you what she has written:
"After 6 weeks, 60 classes, 2 video edits, 1 dance festival and endless zoom calls my placement with The D Project Dance Company has sadly come to a close, but wow what an amazing experience. This placement was required for my degree course to gain work experience in preparation for graduation and dissertation writing however feels more like a personal journey to me; bringing my dance training full circle to end where it started with The D Project and Debbie.
With the mentorship of Debbie and Emma, my time with The D Project has strengthened, widened and challenged my current knowledge of the working dance sector, allowing me to feel ready to graduate and step into the working world as an emerging artist. The pleasure of working within my hometown has allowed me to build new connections and discover dance in Darlington (there’s so much more going on than I knew about!), whilst opening opportunities to meet and teach a wide range of dancers I wish to see again in the future.
Debbie really made sure I would get the most out of this placement as possible! I started my first 2 weeks by observing sessions led by both Debbie and Emma to gain some insight into what type of sessions I would be leading in the coming weeks and to introduce me to the various groups I would be working with. Observing and noting down their different teaching methods and techniques allowed me to apply such skills to my own teaching practice to enhance my delivery of sessions and aid my personal development. Through consistent feedback from Debbie and Emma and visible results in improvement of participants over the sessions I have taught, I am now more confident in delivering sessions to groups I may not have had the opportunity to teach had it not been for this placement and have gained more experience in the planning and preparation to achieve goals over a set period of time.
The D Project included me in everything they could over the 6 weeks I was with the company. From teaching classes, to editing videos, to planning a virtual festival, I really did get the best possible experience I could be given during our current COVID guidelines. I was greeted with the lovely smiles and giggles of the Hippodrome Monday Movers class at the start of every week (which is an age group I have never had the opportunity to teach until now). With their enthusiasm and beautifully creative minds I was able to work with Debbie on editing a video dance for the group to have, working on a new skill (editing is now a big interest of mine!), and learning on the job about various needs and differences each individual class requires. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet this group of individuals who brought a lot of light to a Monday morning and spark many creative possibilities/ideas. My time with them really made me question what dance can mean to someone and what joy and happiness it can bring us through the time we currently live in. How movement affects our mood and bring us somewhat closer together was one of the thoughts that has really stuck with me. As a dancer in training, I feel as though I often see dance as “work” and although I love my work, I do sometimes forget what dance is like outside of work. With this group I was reminded that it is love, it is joy, it is sharing the moment with the people around you who all live different lives yet are all in this one place at one time brought together with movement. These thoughts have remained in the forefront of my mind and with the questions I keep asking myself I have decided to base my dissertation and research on how dance can benefit us in our daily lives.
Working alongside Emma on curriculum sessions in Mowden Primary School was always a pleasure! Being at the front of a class of children full of raw energy and excitement is of course such an uplifting place to be, seeing pupils apply their learning to movement and seeing development from this is truly rewarding and where I have found myself happiest at work. Thanks to The D Project I have been able to experience the rewards of our work first-hand and I know for myself that this is what I want to do and where I want to be coming out of training and into my career. I have developed a love for teaching throughout my training on my degree and working with The D Project gave me the reality of what life as a graduate/emerging artist can be like. Having organised a mini virtual dance festival and liaising with participating schools I feel more confident in my planning and organisation skills (and of course had the fun of hosting and witnessing so many participants enjoy being involved in movement together) but most importantly I now have the skill set to run and organise an event which I can use to bring dance to more people and places should the opportunity come my way.
Overall, I can say that I have loved every day working with The D Project (there was never a dull day for sure!!!). All the groups I have taught have given me something to take away and learn from, all of the feedback Debbie & Emma have given will stick with me as I continue to work and develop my dance practice, and all the new skills I have learnt are now another string to my bow ready to step into the field as a freelance artist. I am incredibly thankful to The D Project in providing me with such an exciting, nurturing and knowledgeable work placement, and I cannot wait to see what comes of our working relationship in the future!"
3rd Year Student on Dance City’s BA (Hons) in Professional Dance