Utilising Your Skills as an Artist…10 Minutes With Joey Hogger

December 3, 2021

Joey working on DanceEast’s 5G EDGE XR project. Photography by Teele Dunkley.

 

This blog has been guest written by Joey Hogger, Dance Artist and one of DanceEast’s talented Kickstart Company Dancers. You can find out more about the Kickstart programme and the roles on offer here at DanceEast, by clicking here.

My name is Joey Hogger and I am currently working as a Kickstart Company Dancer here at DanceEast. I was a student on the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme for three years before going on to study at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Since then, I’ve been a member of VERVE Postgraduate Company at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, as well as working on various independent projects, before finding myself back at DanceEast!

As artists the pandemic has reminded us that we must be resilient – raising questions about sustainability within the sector and how within these toughest of circumstances, we need to adapt to thrive. These questions have been a frequent topic of conversation amongst friends and peers in the dance industry and more than ever, it is important to make use of the many skills we naturally possess to develop successful and sustainable careers. This has felt very daunting!

As I started asking myself these questions, I also took the time to ask myself what I find most fulfilling in my practice as a dance artist and quickly realised that much of my passion is for fitness.

In July 2020, I decided to work towards qualifying as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor. Fitness has always been something that’s worked hand in hand with my dance training. As a student at the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), I was taught about health from a young age, firmly embedding a knowledge of body into my practice.

Weekly health classes at CAT covered the basic functions of the human body. It fascinated me how minor adjustments could make such a huge difference in overall performance, and since then my interest has only grown. As I learned more about fitness, I quickly realised I was able to translate ideas to the dance world and now, when I talk about dance, I find it almost impossible to separate it from health and fitness and vice versa.

The principles are closely connected and as dancers, there’s so much we can learn from the fitness industry. Having this extended knowledge has helped me with developing movement, communication skills, leading groups of people in class and has undoubtedly improved not only my technique as a performer but also my confidence in my own ability. It has enhanced my skills to be able to break movement down into the most basic human functions, making my dance classes more accessible to everyone, no matter their reason for coming to class.

Whilst being a Kickstart Company Dance Artist, I have been given the opportunity to explore all areas of my practice. I have trialled my thoughts and voiced my curiosity. Most importantly, I have been introduced to other areas of the dance industry and I have seen how they operate. Witnessing and being part of the other side of performance, I have observed and learnt from the vast range of skills possessed by the team here.

Overall, I have found that by developing my skills outside of dance, I’ve become a stronger dance artist with a more developed creative practice. As dance artists, we are doing more than training our bodies to make pretty shapes on a stage. We are also instilled with a huge number of skills (some of which we’re not even aware of), that support us throughout our personal and professional lives. We are resilient individuals with a drive to work collaboratively with others. We ask questions and consider the answers carefully. Most of all, we know our own bodies, how they move and how they respond to the rest of the world. It’s easy to forget the magnitude of things a dance artist can do.

For me, it was fitness that granted these new opportunities but there is an enormous scope of other skills that we are able to operate in. There are so many possibilities and so it’s important to stay open, curious, and most importantly, to enjoy what you do!

If you would like to find out more about the Kickstart programme and the roles on offer here at DanceEast, click here.

If you would like to find out more about the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training, click here.

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