Upon arrival at the first residency, I felt extremely nervous. Would I fit in? Would people like me? But when I got to see everyone dance for the first time, I knew that I was going to love the week ahead. I was expecting the day to be very intense and exhausting. However, Michael created a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere allowing us to get used to working together in a new environment. Tring Park had great facilities in a lovely setting and proved to be a great home for our first few days.
My initial thoughts of Michael, Rachael and James were very positive as they were really friendly and approachable. They made us feel very relaxed by saying ‘it’s ok to go wrong’. This took the worry about having to impress them away and allowed us to experiment with our dancing. It was great to hear about the backgrounds of the creative team and how they have managed to keep their individuality during their careers.
I had many highlights throughout the week at NYDC. One of the biggest standout moments was when we all improvised together for the first time and I could feel ‘the buzz’ all the way through the activity and for a long time after. I enjoyed the yoga although I am not used to the early session before breakfast! I also enjoyed seeing Zoo Nation’s ‘Into the Hoods’ performance at the Peacock Theatre. This was particularly special as a former member of NYDC was performing in the show – yet more inspiration! It was interesting to visit two top dance colleges, Trinity Laban and The Place. With thoughts of a career in the performing arts at the forefront of my mind, at present this is very relevant.
All the NYDC members bonded very quickly. On the first day, we told each other facts about ourselves and discussed our favourite dance styles. Everyone was so kind and sociable, creating a friendly and relaxed atmosphere throughout the week. Although I have only known everyone for a week, I feel that I have already established good lasting relationships, after all we do all have a lot in common. On saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the residency it was nice to see how close we had all become in such a short space of time.
By the end of the week we had created several phrases of movement that came from our improvisation sessions. Instead of the piece being choreographed by Michael it almost felt like Michael had inspired us to create our own piece of dance.
On a personal level, I had gained a lot of confidence in my improvisational skills and really enjoyed meeting new people from different backgrounds who, like me, love to dance. I arrived home tired and weary but was able to reflect on a fantastic first residency and I can’t wait for the next one!