Kaia performing with The Yonis at an event she curated – Extinction Underground at The Vaults, photo by Neeq Serene.
Kaia Goodenough is DanceEast’s first Junior Associate Artist. Kaia trained with the DanceEast Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) before going on to further her training at London Studio Centre, graduating in 2016 with Intoto Dance Company. Since graduating she has been working as a freelance choreographer and rehearsal director. We asked Kaia more about her job, how she’s keeping creative, and her top tips for creatives who are working from home.
My name is Kaia, and I am a Junior Associate Artist at DanceEast. When the world is not in a crisis, I create my own work and curate environmentally minded arts events.
What is your favourite thing about your job and how did your career begin?
I started making my own work when I first graduated and had amazing support from DanceEast and my collaborators whilst endeavouring to do this. Most of my opportunities have been through people I know, and equally I love to be able to provide opportunities for people who are at a similar career level to myself that I really believe in. I joined Extinction Rebellion a year ago and, with likeminded people I have met through this movement, I began to programme and curate multi-arts events with the cause in mind. I love that I am paid to move with my best friends and have stimulating conversation with so many intelligent and socially engaged people.
What is the most challenging thing you have come up against in your career?
The most challenging part of this industry is getting funding. It took me about six months until my first Arts Council England application was accepted, and it felt incredible to know that I would be able to pay people to work on my own project. There are so many projects happening around the country all the time and to have the support of a project grant so early in my career was a huge achievement for me. DanceEast were really great in supporting me in achieving this.
What is something you are passionate about?
I am passionate about the importance of the arts within our community. I think it’s especially clear at this time that they are an integral part of keeping us sane! However, this has made me really realise the agency that the arts have to create change and I think we need to be more mindful of ways to make the sector environmentally sustainable as well as acknowledging the systematic racism that is engrained within our dance training and education. Now is the perfect time for us to educate ourselves and reassess what has become the norms in our sector to ensure we are at the forefront of change and not left behind.
How are you keeping your creativity flowing whilst isolating?
I’m doing all the things that I love to do that I normally don’t have time to do, mostly reading and drawing.
Our current situation is stimulating creative minds to come up with new and exciting ways to engage with people and spread their art – what’s been your favourite example of this so far?
I have two!
Recently I did a live life drawing class with Anti Diet Riot Club via Zoom with 100 people, and they run these classes to promote body positivity. This was great as there were loads of different exercises, so it felt like I was in a class.
I also think that the National Theatre streaming a different play each week is a great way to engage with new audiences. Going to the theatre can be so expensive, even watching National Theatre’s streaming at the cinema with their NT Live events is normally very expensive, so to be able to watch these for free is amazing (and about time!) It’s also a great excuse for a few glasses of wine ‘at the theatre’.
What song gets you moving at the moment?
Who’s influencing you most creatively right now?
Phoebe Waller-Bridge – I watched FleaBag the play on Soho Theatre’s website and have been re-watching Killing Eve and Crashing and just really love how comedic and macabre and close to the line her writing is. It is intelligent, funny, and I really like the different ways she presents women in her work.
What are your top tips for creatives whilst working from home?
Being self-indulgent is really easy right now. Whilst we should totally reconnect with everything we love to do, and try and find some silver linings, I don’t think we should forget about what is happening in the world right now. I don’t think we should be insensitive to this, and we shouldn’t lie about the fact that we are all in a less than desirable situation, and we actually have no idea what is going to happen, so release control and just take every day as it comes!
I make weekly goals rather than daily ones. As I normally have a schedule, it’s nice to just wake up and let the day flow naturally, but if you are actually working from home and have tasks to achieve, maybe don’t do this! All of my upcoming projects cannot go ahead as they involve being in rooms with people and so I don’t really have anything to achieve in this time – which can be quite overwhelming and is definitely allowing me to overthink a lot of things – much like this question!
I have one tip that I used to use before the pandemic – PICK UP TRACKS! Just put on one of your favourite songs dance around until it’s finished playing, and then go back to what you are doing. It allows endorphins to run around your body and will probably make you feel more creative – I recommend Cheryl Lynn’s Got to Be Real and Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Murder on the DanceFloor!