A Fantastic Step Into The Dance World: My Mind the Gap Story, by Amy Morvell

In this Blog, dance artist and Artistic Director of Morvell Dance, Amy Morvell shares her experiences of taking part in our Mind The Gap programme.

 

Turtle Dove by Amy Morvell, on of our Mind the Gap 2018/19 cohort. Photo: Amber Tanc.

My Mind the Gap Experience

There were many opportunities throughout the year that Mind the Gap provided and I thought I should share some examples that really stand out for me and have helped shape my career pathway. 

Training day with South East Dance – this day was jam-packed with support from a selection of different artists, producers, and the Arts Council. To finish the day we received a free ticket to watch Hofesh Shechter II at the Brighton Dome!

Winter Week Intensive with Hofesh Shechter Company at Sadlers Wells. To receive this level of training for free was truly amazing. 

Taking part in Eddie Nixon’s ‘mapping careers: from dancer to director’ session at The Place. This meeting allowed me to feel confident about putting my first work into Resolutions! Festival. 

 

Apprenticeship with Lîla Dance

At the same time as the Mind the Gap programme I was also the apprentice for Lîla Dance. The company supported me to set up Morvell Dance and to write a first funding application to the Arts Council to support me to research my first professional work Turtle Dove. Throughout this year with Lîla Dance and Mind the Gap, I was fast tracked into the professional sector within a very intense period of time. I was beginning to emerge as a dancer, choreographer and self-producer. It was exciting, overwhelming and nerve-wracking! There were so many highs and I learnt so much in this time. 

The beginning of 2018 really feels like the start of this intense period. For the creation of Turtle Dove we started with research and development to create a 20-minute version of the work. This involved three weeks in the studio working with a range of brilliant experienced artists, collaborators and Lîla Dance mentors. 

Throughout the next couple of years, the work was pulled apart, dissected and developed with some more funding to create a 40-minute touring work.  We took it to different sharing platforms including Resolutions! Festival followed by a pilot tour where we also took Turtle Dove to its first international venue – Abundance International Dance Festival – Sweden!

 

What I learnt in this time…

One of the biggest things for me that I learnt in this time, was definitely how to be organised! Not only for myself… but for the collaborators, the dancers, the mentors, the venues… It was brand new to me! Suddenly I was responsible for paying people’s invoices, for organising rehearsals, for making (what felt like) huge choreographic decisions! It was so exciting and rewarding. I made a lot of mistakes and it was stressful, but I truly believe that those mistakes needed to happen in order for me to know what I value. For me to know what is important. How to move forward with my dance career. To shape who I am as an artist. 

 

My top tips for taking part in Mind The Gap are…

  • Make sure to make the most of all the opportunities the Mind the Gap programme provides! This is the time to start creating building blocks for your career.
  • Make notes of who you meet in the programme, the dance world is very small!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for support, it may seem like a small or silly question but it won’t be! South East Dance offer one-to-one Artist Advisories – tailored advice sessions.

 

After Mind the Gap

Since Mind the Gap I have continued my relationship with South East Dance. In 2018 I received support from South East Dance’s Flourish Bursary which was used to support a collaboration with Lighting Designer Vanessa Brooker. Turtle Dove was a part of South East Dance’s Our City Dance’s Festival and we also performed as part of the Spring Dance programme at The Basement, Brighton. 

South East Dance is a fantastic organisation that supports artists at any stage of their career. It has provided me with inspiring opportunities for development and showcasing which, in my experience, has been life-changing and career-shaping. The Mind the Gap programme helped me to build the foundation of my career.

 

Thank you South East Dance & Hofesh Shechter Company. 

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Watch Turtle Dove