Creativity and Girls Dancing

Creativity and Girls Dancing

Creativity and Girls Dancing

A report out today by the Royal Society for Public Health, available here examines the role of social media on young people’s mental health and well-being. This report basically shows that ‘social media may be fuelling a mental health crisis’. It is being increasingly  documented that the pressure on young people has reached a crisis point, with alarming rises in mental ill-health and the subsequent negative behaviours that occur as a consequence.

I am writing about this today as I was totally thrilled at the work of my Dartington-based Attik Youth Company last night. Their work was risky, adventurous, challenging, creative and so very exciting. The most obvious part of all of this was the creativity and the risk. And watching them improvise and then create, I began to think about the role of creativity and risk in their lives, and the role that thinking and moving like this can take with respect to supporting them in their journeys through the myriad layers of social media influence, political and educative meddling and a challenging and uncertain future.

Over the past couple of years the creative subjects across school have been mercilessly attacked by a government with little to no idea of the importance and value they play not only in learning, but in learning to learn, to establishing an understanding of culture, that of your own and your wider community and of the power of creativity and thinking, doing and making things differently.

I have written before that my Dartington company have said to me that our 3 hours on a Thursday evening is the only time in their lives they are ‘allowed’ to be creative. So I was reminded last night watching these girls move with such exquisite abandon, focus and commitment that our responsibility to create the conditions within which creativity can happen in this way in greater than ever.

In particular our responsibility to support our young female dancers, in a dance world that is still heavily male dominant in the positions of institutional leadership and with a distinct absence of female choreographers having work shown, is even more vital than ever before.

We have to create this space for risk in making and performing, create the space where everything is possible and the influence of outside negativity and an uncertain future are kept at the door while amazing choreography is being explored.

On a final note, part of the conversation between the girls last night was whether something they had made had ‘worked’ and their disappointment that they felt it hadn’t. I reminded them that while having that sense of whether it worked was important in constructing their dance, what was more important was that in our making space it didn’t matter.  I finished by reminding them that the point of what we were doing was to experiment and play and making dance that didn’t work was as important as that which did.

Creativity and risk need space for all of this, especially in supporting them to be as extraordinary as they can and fulfilling all their amazing potential.

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  1. Suzie West

    I’m in absolute agreement and feel so passionate about risk, immersion and play and how it can shape identity and build a realisation of possibility. Even in our youth dance settings, in the warm creative hum of the studio it can sadly too often be about quickly creating a product and polishing it to make it look ‘as good as it can’ . What I cherish the most is when the dancers have the freedom to meddle, learn about learning to be creative and build a confidence in sharing what they have- no judgement. I’m so pleased there are opportunities like that for young people today. Thank you for your article Ben.

    May 19, 2017 @ 11:30 pm

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