General Election 2015

The Tories have won. We’ll never know whether we’d have been better off with Labour, but things aren’t looking too bright for the future of dance in the UK. Either way, here’s what you can do:

Support one another. Travel across London to see something small you’ve never seen. You may be surprised. Travel to see something big and famous, and you may also be surprised. The only really important point here is that you give yourself a choice. This is one thing that doesn’t depend on funding. (If you can’t always afford the big shows – that’s okay too.)

– Speak to one another. If you take dance class, don’t be too shy to speak to people you know, or don’t think that it’s somehow makes you look weak to recognise someone’s face or name and acknowledge this. (There’s no such thing as weakness anyway.) Community is one thing we do have. Speak to people you normally wouldn’t speak to. If you’re wary of the conceptual crowd, don’t be – chances are they have the same sensibilities and interests as you do. (They just try to access art in their own way.) If you avoid the athletic dancey-dance crowd because you think they are dumb: you’ll be surprised. (They also access art in their own way.) The thing about intelligence is that it’s wildly diverse. In the age of the Internet, we have no excuse for not communicating.

– Take an interest in politics. The reason a bunch of illiterate robots (on the left as well as on the right) run the country is because they tricked you into being too bored to care. Politics are important, and what you choose to do for a living is political. Take pride in it. If you think you know nothing about politics, it’s never too late to learn.

– Do what you need to do every damn day. If you need space to dance: use your bedroom. If you’re bedroom’s not big enough, go to the park. (Who cares who’s watching? You’re bonkers to be doing this for a living anyway. Embrace this.) If none of the above appeals to you, think about other ways you can dance. (Can you dance in your head? Can you simply… make art? Draw a picture? Play an instrument? Learn a sonnet?) The important thing isn’t that you dance or sweat or  be on stage everyday; the important thing is that you devote time every single day to something that will make you grow. The important thing is that you keep whatever it is that made you come to this odd profession in the first place alive. 

– Don’t compare. This is the worse thing you can do to yourself. If some git is getting all the work out there, that isn’t your problem. When you’re dead and on your way to the ground or to the oven, it won’t matter how successful or well-funded you were. What’ll matter is how you engaged with the people around you. It might seem corny, but it has something to do with love.

– You always have a choice. You don’t have to do that cafe/bar/call-centre job you hate forever. There’s always a way out. Everything is impermanent. You can take 6 months or a year or two years off. London isn’t going anywhere. The beautiful thing about art is that there are no rules. 

The main thing, I think, however you decide to engage with art, is to find pleasure. Someone once told me that was a simplistic way of seeing art, but I think it’s fundamental. If any of this seems patronising, rest assured that I too frequently fail at all of the above. The best I can do is to keep trying.

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