Dance as part of who I am


Gail, a regular at many of our workshops and one of our older participants, has danced through most parts of her life recreationally and is now teaching Margret Morris Movement.

But in a period of time when life had been more difficult dance had slipped off the agenda.

Looking back dancing with John was the next step on the way of me discovering me and the person I used to be years ago. This is a total outlet satisfying many things that are missing, says Gail.

Much of NOCTURN’s work explores aspects of identity. When we talk to our older dancers about their relationship with dance many of them say dance helps them to explore, form or even rediscover aspects of their own identity. If people have been through "life shocks that make you re-examine things" as Gail puts it "the expressive side doesn’t always come naturally" and she feels the beauty of dance practice when "you cannot think about anything else while you are learning a piece of dance". 

In order for dance to be about both discovery and escape we create a safe and equal space for our participants. John is particularly aware of the barriers people feel they face in dance as they get older, having only trained professionally in his 30’s. 

Gail talks about the confidence she gains from working with a range of other dancers who are "completely and utterly open. He’s got great dancers in there and I’m older and my body is struggling with all sorts of things but I am an equal among them. OK, so I used to be able to get my leg higher, straighter. But no matter who you were or what your ability was, it was ok. That’s so important, making it alright for everybody."

At NOCTURN we aim to enable people to participate in dance on a level playing field, irrespective of the challenges of e.g. work, motherhood, age, injury. For Gail, this has meant being able to access aspects of herself that she had pushed aside until now.

"If you have to stop doing things that are part of your identity then who are you?”

“Luckily, I am able to keep dance in my life in this amazing way and I am getting to know who I am all over again, through dance."

Interviewed and written by Sarah Gregson

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