INSiGHTZ: An Insight into YOUR dance journey with Becca Randall
INSiGHTZ: An Insight into…
An online series and archives with UK dance professionals sharing valuable insights within the dance industry.
Series 1 - ‘An insight into YOUR dance journey’ - Inspiring and motivating youth
Formulated by: Tamar Dixon
1. Tell us about yourself. What do you do and what is your main dance style you work in?
I am a freelance, independent dance artist. I work in contemporary dance and dance theatre. I love to tell stories through movement.
2. Why dance? What or who initially inspired you to begin your dance journey?
I have always loved to dance. Apparently I was dancing in my pushchair, watching my older sister at her ballet class. Eventually the teacher allowed me to join in as well. I began attending ballet class when I was 2.5 years old!
3. Where was you 5 years ago? (e.g. career, dance lifestyle, journey)?
5 years ago, I was unknowingly laying the foundations for the work I am doing now. I am one of the Associate Directors of Birmingham Dance Network, and we started out in 2013 so we were still very much just finding our feet 5 years ago. I also started working with deafblind adults at Sense around this time. Through this journey I met a lot of the people who I now work alongside on a regular basis. At the time I felt very unsure of what I was doing, rushing about all over the place, constantly switching hats and saying yes or applying to each and every opportunity. I also had a lot going on in my personal life. I was a bit all over the place...
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Ooooh tough question! I’m never any good at that one...
But.... I am beginning to recognise my specialisms - dance theatre, characterisation, story telling, working with people with a range of life and movement experiences, and with people with disabilities. I am currently enjoying training in Playback Theatre. I hope to be able to bring all of these strands together under one company ‘Here We Are Dance’. This journey has already started, so I hope to be further along this road in 5 years. Watch this space!
5. What challenges have you faced so far along your dance journey/practice?
Like any dance artist, there have been a number of set backs. Straight after graduation I was pretty disillusioned, and of course I have also experienced periods without work, times when things just don’t seem to ‘click’. My main struggle has been with injury, and balancing my need to make a living alongside my need to keep dancing and particularly performing. This has resulted in me having quite a packed schedule, fitting in project management, teaching and choreography while also prioritising time to train and develop my own performance practice.
6. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Passing my driving test?!? No seriously, I love my job and am grateful for everything I have done. There have been a handful of high profile, exciting moments, but I also hold dear many more moments in community centres or schools where I have experienced people truly connecting through dance....
So generally I would say my biggest achievement is just keeping going and still doing what I love, learning every day and being constantly reminded of the healing power and beauty of dance, movement, live theatre, story telling and connection
7. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your young 16yr old self?
‘You may not have the natural facility of other dancers, but you still have your own unique qualities to offer. Keep working hard, be patient, and expect the unexpected...it’s funny how things turn out!’ I also used to be pretty unhealthy so I’d tell myself to take more care of my body!
8. What advice would you give to the younger (creative) generation?
It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Follow your interests, especially in life outside of dance. Travel if you can. Be fascinated by music, art, politics, nature...how you feel about what is happening in the world around you is an important part of your artistic journey.
I also acknowledge that it’s harder now. There is less public funding and as a result there are less jobs than 10 years ago. So I would encourage young dancers to keep at it, take your time and don’t expect it all to happen straight away. Be prepared to work hard and rest when you need to. Be grateful for your support network. Not just colleagues or people who offer you work, but also friends and family who are understanding of your gruelling schedule and come along and support you. Those people are gold dust!
Follow your interest and you’ll find your tribe. And if what you’re interested in doesn’t exist, maybe you can create it yourself...?
9. How do you stay focused, positive and motivated throughout your practice/training?
At times this has been hard, and I have struggled. But now things are easier and I would say the reasons for that are the incredible support I receive from my husband,family and friends, and also my own downright stubbornness that I will just keep going.
I’ve also been lucky enough to find some amazing movement teachers, in both the yoga and dance worlds, and am constantly inspired by the other dancers I meet and watch perform. A big turning point happened when I stopped comparing myself to other people, thinking ‘oh she’s more flexible than me’, or ‘she’s fitter than me’ or ‘she’s better than me’ and started asking myself, how that person was achieving something that I admired. Feeling grateful, privileged and inspired (rather than competitive, bitter and resentful) to be around talented people, is very liberating.
My journey has also included going to a variety of therapists including a counsellor, and practising holistic approaches to movement such as somatic practice and yoga. Our profession is high pressure and sometimes it’s not just our bodies, but also our minds and emotions, that need our care and attention.
10. Random… What do you do in your free time? When you aren’t in dance/work mode?
In my experience, things I do in my free time often end up becoming part of my artistic practice - watch out for the side projects! I used to do yoga to relax but now I’m a qualified teacher using my yoga knowledge in teaching dance technique. I used to sing for fun but now I’m using vocal work in improvisation and in performance... so, I don’t generally have a lot of free time. And when I do get home in the evening you might well find me crashed out on the sofa indulging in my guilty pleasures of Netflix or even worse, Facebook...
That said, I’m always open to any opportunity to travel and go on an adventure or indulge in serious relaxation at a spa. If I have that rare treat of a weekend at home, my favourite thing to do is hang out with my husband and loved ones, somewhere warm and comfortable, with cups of tea, good food, and good music.
Bonus question (optional): Any last few comments or words of encouragement for our inspired readers?
For professional development opportunities check out https://birminghamdancenetwork.co.uk/
Thanks for reading
Thank you to Becca for taking part in our INSiGHTZ series.
Learn more about Becca and the BDN team at Birmingham Dance Network
Stay posted for next weeks INSiGHT UK Dance Professional - Fridays 7pm
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