I’ve had so much fun over the last 10 years, building a dance career, creating new communities (focused on Croydon) and setting up SLiDE with Anita. It is a rich and rewarding career and I’ve met some incredible people, many of whom are now friends for life. Leaving all this behind to travel for nine months around Southeast Asia was a difficult decision. But this planet is a small one, dance has a global community and after all wifi is generally available. So I’m never that far away.
Starting in January, it only took us a couple of months to reach Cambodia (via Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and a highly anticipated visit to Epic Arts in Kampot, an inclusive arts company. I first heard of Epic about six years ago and loved how the company evolved, 18 years ago they started out with a cafe run by deaf and disabled people with workshops in the studio above. A few years ago they moved into a purpose built arts centre, retaining the cafe. It was great timing that two friends, Kathryn (Choreographer in residence) and Roxie (Drama Facilitator), were just completing roles with Epic. During the visit I was able to assist Kathryn with her rehearsals with Epic Encounters, the professional company, and watch them perform their latest piece, Come back brighter. Epic is so engrained in the local Kampot life with a craft shop, special needs school and of course advocacy for Cambodian deaf and disabled people. We lingered in Kampot for 8 days but we could have stayed for much longer. Finally there was community again!
So the last 10 years have also been tiring, completing my MA in July 2015 (Inclusive Arts Practice) more or less did me in!! For my final project I created a global community, bringing together 12 musicians from 12 global locations, who accompanied improvised dance and writing via Skype. One of these locations was Vietnam, with Dung, a professional Dan Tranh player (Vietnamese zither). Amazingly during our visit to Hanoi in mid April we were able to share a bowl of noodles. It really was like hanging out with an old friend.
For the time being it’s about the journey through this amazing continent. Maybe I’ll be fortunate to find some more arts communities. But if not it’s only a few months until I’ll be reunited with my home grown one. The time is whizzing by….!