So I joined a dance organisation called Dance4 back in November 2014 with the initial role being to programme Fringe events for this year's MY Dance Festival in Nottingham as part of my temp role as Young Associate Programmer.
MY Dance Festival (Midlands Youth Dance Festival) is a regional platform for groups from East and West Midlands selected through county platforms to perform in the hope of going to National which takes place in Plymouth in July. It's such a great way of celebrating young talent locally as well as regionally. I was initially pretty terrified by the whole ordeal to organise & programme such an event, having only supported events in the past but it was a challenge I was only happy to accept since graduating from university.
It honestly was the most challenging, stressful but biggest learning curve I have ever experienced! It really tested me as both an individual and a professional in how I could handle such an event and organise it all!

I decided after a lot of planning and various ideas that I wanted an afternoon of performances in the intu Broadmarsh Shopping Centre in Nottingham, it had access to such a great space and I wanted to use it. I also wanted to do a free workshop which would get young people in the audience involved. I decided to ask my friends Hannah McBrien and Lydia Robinson to lead the workshop, who both had experience working with young people and really approachable personalities. 

As the day approached I spent the whole week in the Dance4 office gathering all of the last things I needed for the event to be successful. I can't tell you how frustrating it was having a Bank Holiday and Easter Holiday planted right in amongst the lead up to my event. It made it so difficult for groups to send in their details and get stuff from the young people in their group. However I was lucky that I didn't have too many issues with getting information and other specific documents before the day.

I took on the role of Stage Managing the event which meant it was my responsibility to check the space is clear and suitable for the next performance group as well as liaising with the groups who are performing and the sound technician. I found it really difficult at the start to multitask and understand my priorities within the role and to be in control. After a bit of a pep-talk from my volunteers I started to relax and enjoy what I was doing, to be more confident to be in control. My stress levels were definitely tested by a few elements but all in all a rewarding day.

At least 300 people were watching the event at one point, which is incredible. There are a great bunch of groups perform who showcased such a variety of dance styles which is exactly what I wanted to happen. I planted a workshop in the middle called Drawing Dancers led by my friends Hannah McBrien and Lydia Robinson who did fantastically despite some young people not understanding the concept and the idea behind the whole thing. There was moments when a lot of young people were in the space and moving with the dancers though which was great. There was a definite need to explain the context of what was happening in the space more. It is something that I would definitely consider if I was to use the workshop again in the future.


I would be lying to you all if I said that running the event was really easy and stress-free, I did have a cry afterwards because my stress levels just couldn't cope any longer with the ordeal of the day and I was so concerned about the young people's safety that it really took away my ability to enjoy the event. I would however definitely hold another event, I've took away so much from this event and everything is still a massive learning for me professionally and individually. I am not much of a self-believer in myself so it took a lot of encouragement from the people around me to understand that the event was great and I did a good job. I would totally reconsider the space we are using and the groups performing, whether they were suitable on the dance floor and whether our time frame fitted with adjusting and ensuring the safety of the performance space. There is so much to think about in such a short space of time.

I would have definitely not got through the day itself without the support of the volunteers and staff, there were moments when I just needed some food and my volunteers would ensure I had something by me to eat. I was supported by a great team so if any of them read this, thank you for your support on the day! :) I owe you all a drink!

This event has definitely taught me to have some more self belief in what I do, to be proud of such a big achievement instead of overshadowing it with doubt and worry.

Thanks to Dance4 for the opportunity too!

Thanks to the groups who gave their Saturday to the event :-

Fly Dance, Leicester
Flexus Dance Company, Birmingham
Patchwork Dance, Northampton
MX4, Nottingham
Kathak South Asian CAT, Birmingham

Bharatanatyam South Asian CAT, Birmingham
BalletUP!, Leicester
Brookfield School, Derbyshire

 Tupton School, Derbyshire
MADD College, Nottingham
Equality Dance, Birmingham 







*disclaimer* all photos provided in this post were taken by myself Emma-Hope Newitt and not those belonging to Dance4.



thanks for reading,