Many of the dancers, inspired by their membership of the group, have gone on both to perform and to teach in other community dance events. Here are a few personal stories.
My Dance Journey - Jeremy Spafford
When I first attended the regular Tuesday classes I felt awkward. I was being asked to step outside my comfort zone: being physically close to strangers, learning complicated sequences which tangled up my brain and my body, stretching limbs to places they’d never been before, devising dance (‘make a trio based on the colour red – you’ve got 5 minutes’!). It was easy to feel foolish, embarrassed, unskilled and clumsy. I’ve had moments of feeling all those things but those moments have been remarkably rare and fleeting. Why? From the moment I walked into my first dance class our teacher, Cecilia Macfarlane, described me as a dancer and a choreographer. She appreciated and celebrated every movement I created and assumed that, given space, time and support, I would be able to devise and perform dance which would be meaningful and enjoyable not only for me but for an audience. Not only did she assume this but she had created a group in which everybody assumed it of each other. It is an open, non-competitive, non-judgemental process which is both playful and challenging. At DugOut we laugh a lot but we take our dance very seriously.
Through DugOut, I have learnt specific technical skills in movement and choreography. I have also found a new language which enables me to be me but in a different way - exploring ideas and feelings alone and with others. I am proud to be part of a group which runs itself democratically both as a business and in the studio and includes people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, shapes and sizes. I have grown as a result of being part of a group which supports and challenges.
Jeremy Spafford - January 2011
Photo: Anna Bruce