• kathrynrosehewison

Thinking Space

July, 2021

I was supported by Yorkshire Dance’s Thinking Space opportunity which provided funded thinking space time for community dance artists.

After several attempts of meeting up with other artists in person, or on zoom, all which didn’t quite make it, due to schedules, clashes with other work and many Covid Isolations cropping up at the time… I ended up in the studio by myself and actually it was the best kind of thinking space.

Post Dance, Thinking Space Thoughts…

  • Book a studio every so often - with no agenda.

  • If you are teaching others 5 times a week - how many times a week do you also give yourself to research & rediscover? Can we block out some thinking space time if you can, each day, week, month? start small and let it grow.

  • Perspective & Priorities - this one is inspired by the wonderful Charlotte Jones (Amala Movement, check out her youtube channel, also provides much thinking space!) - look at your to do list or your diary each morning, or at the start of the week, what do you need to do, what do want to do?

Reading/Social Media Recommendations…

Over the last few years I have been opened up to the early years specific dance world & community dance practice. I would like to share some specific books/recommendations that have been so supportive for me, and may be for you too!

  • Dance Ideas 4 Early Years Facebook Group ‘This is a generous community where the aim is to support each other and build great early years dance practice’ -

  • RSA Animate - adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson:

  • Fantastic book - Dower, Ruth Churchill Churchill. Creativity and the Arts in Early Childhood. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019.

  • People Dancings, Early Years Network, you can sign up to mailing list & also attend zoom sessions, you can also find a list of further dance & early years resources on this website

  • Ash Perrin, the power of play (TED talk)

  • Tool Kit of admin resources, risk assessments etc. (+ podcast, case studies about setting up youth dance company) made by Blue Moose Dance part of Rural Steps

Reflective Thoughts -

We teach so often.

We share so often.

We manage so many different things at once.

Teaching back to back.

Teaching in person & a few children on zoom at the same time.

Our freelance teaching job capacities and expectations feel like they have got bigger and bigger.

We need time. Time to digest.

Time to return to our bodies & our minds.

Time to explore, research and dance ourselves, to refresh and recover, to then share again with children and young people.

We really need this thinking space, in whichever format works for you.

For me it was daydreaming, dancing, noticing, writing, doodling, with no agenda and with no strict time limit (hence… why i’m maybe writing this blog three months later oops!).

What does thinking space mean for you?

I had a dance, a doodle, and a dream.

I realise this dancing, doodling and dreaming, is also the core part of Improplay Practice we share with children, young people and artists too. (Do check out our recent live stream video footage from performance at Yorkshire Dance last month, email for link).

It had been a very longtime since I was in the studio by myself after lockdowns…and for someone who used to spend hours and days exploring in a studio by myself - this time - not going to lie, felt so different, empty but busy, my mind was ping ponging ideas left right and centre, I had just had my second Covid vaccine and well, so i decided to have a gentle boogie….

It reminded me to notice the little things…

It helped me to re-realise the important things.

It's a slow video, it's also not something I would usually share. Although if you want you can watch me walk around, watch the clouds, notice the little things.

It helped me to re-realise the important things.

I often talk a lot about that dance provides a place, space and time for processing, for thinking space, for discovery, digestion and joy when I'm with artists and children in improplay project.

I guess that was what I was exploring, even though I didn't quite realise it when I was doodling, dancing and having a play with settings on my camera that day. But yes, I'm writing to share, and remind myself, that thinking space can let us zoom in & zoom out. Give perspective & help us find these lightbulb moments more often, let's give ourselves the time for it.

Thanks for reading/watching,


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