Small company syndrome: the problem and joy of being a swiss army knife of a dance artist.
So. Here I am back in London after a busy start in my new role as Dance Development Coordinator for Dyfed. I find myself in a familiar mood. I can stop checking social media, I am high as kite and convinced of my own brilliance one minute, and so depressed I'm ready to strike myself off the list at companies house the next. In between I often find myself terrified of one, or all, of the following outcomes: Bankruptcy, empty seats, anticlimax, or worst of all- bad reviews. (Topical, I know, but I’m not going there.) Truth be told I happen to love this particular roller-coaster. If I didn’t why would I keep doing it, year after year, resolution after fringe, project after platform...? Maybe I enjoy feeling utterly vulnerable. Or perhaps enough of my ego survives to support the belief I am making interesting work. I do feel that I’m moving forwards sometimes- however incrementally.
The trouble is the hat changing. On each of my Joon projects I’m producer, choreographer, technician, director, teacher, designer, publicist and sometimes even performer as well. It was interesting leaving for a few weeks and coming back to a polished and well worked piece (thanks to rehearsal directors Harriet Waghorn and Mari Frogner). I’ve never relinquished control before, not at all, so to learn I am not indispensable was somewhat of a relief! I think the thing is that doing all these jobs at once, even working 7 days a week and long hours, none of them get done half as well as they could do if I did just one or two at a time. Herein lies the problem of the small company- low budgets. I simultaneously envy, admire and resent choreographers emerging from established companies. If you have any sort of infrastructure to play with, you already have a head start.
At least I know I’m not alone. My particular brand of control-freakery is understood by many hard working and multi-skilled artists knocking around the UK right now (shout outs to Tempered Body, Kitch’n’Sync Collective, Coda Dance to name but a few.)
OK, so moan over, time to brag. Today I did a days work as a Dance Development Coordinator, booking schools for a big education project, tomorrow I will wake up early, go to the theatre, roll out my borrowed dance floor (thanks again Tempered Body), teach class, run a rehearsal, and design my lights- while simultaneously tweeting and statusing and nagging while watching the ticket sales out of the corner of my eye. As long as I don’t have an identity crisis before then, I’ll see you at the show!