Understory is a project conceived and realised by dance artists who were aware of how difficult it would be for many people entering the profession at a time when it’s so hard for that community to come together in work, rehearsal or play. It’s website describes itself:
Understory is for anyone entering the field of dance, including but not limited to; dance graduates, those who are self-taught and people learning outside of normative structures, at whatever stage in life.
A place for informal honest chat from people who work in dance focusing on the times when they had to navigate the unexpected in their career.
A collective act of solidarity from speakers of different backgrounds and on different paths, intended to offer some hope, inspiration, tools and humour whilst exploding the myth of a straightforward path through a dance career.
Understory is artist-led, independent and run voluntarily.
I’ve found it fascinating to read the contributions from a huge range of dance artists at different stages of their careers, some primarily choreographing, others performing and everything in-between. My contribution is available here
I responded to the questions we were asked:
What is your name? Where are you now? What do you do?
What was your pathway from study into the professional field of dance?
Tell us about the bit of your journey that’s not mentioned in your bio? What didn’t go quite as planned? How did it feel? How did you navigate it? Did something else come out of this encounter?
If you like, you can follow up with these (we appreciate they can be complex to respond to).
What advice would you give to your graduating self?
What advice would you give to a graduate now?
Share one hope for the future of dance that could come out of 2020?
Knowing that my contribution is part of a diversity of responses makes it easier to acknowledge my idiosyncratic route to dance. I don’t offer my experience as a definitive guide – but maybe it will give reassurance to someone else who hasn’t followed the most familiar path.
Those that are organising Understory are performing a huge service and putting a huge amount of time into soliciting, editing, captioning, uploading. They aren’t drawing lots of attention to themselves but we know who you are and applaud you.