During my time on placement, PDSW built a programme that focused on my professional development and allowed me to see how the arts industry functions from different perspectives. The Gold Arts Award provided a structure to my day-to-day placement life. It gave me the opportunity to create/manage my own first works/projects in the industry, to evaluate myself and gain feedback from others along the way.

My main role on placement was assisting Gemma Connell, Youth and Education Co-ordinator in producing and managing projects for children and young people. I learnt how to sell and promote shows and projects to Schools/Colleges/Universities across the Bournemouth and Poole area and the South West Region. This included managing the PDSW Youth Dance Company and taking part in ‘Inquiring Minds’ young choreographer’s programme aimed at equipping young dancers and future choreographers with new ideas, skills and perspectives.

I spent three days at Pavilion Dance learning about what is possible in terms of creativity, leadership and choreography. As well as this I recruited local dancers and musicians for professional show; Darren Ellis’ ‘Sound and Visions’ and was a teaching assistant for Moving in Circles – Half Term Activities whilst being part of the stage management team for Exchanges, Origins, FUSED, Inquiring Minds and Spotlight Showcase (all Youth Dance Platforms and Showcases.)

I have also had the chance to enhance my own performance training by attending workshops led by national and international dance artists and theatre makers, and actively contributed to PDSW staff development days and staff meetings on a weekly basis as a member of the Artistic Team. After a few weeks of settling in, I finally felt like a fully fledged member of the Artistic Team where my opinion counted. This was emphasised when I was asked to become an admin assistant to two of PDSW’s Dream Artists which turned into an intern for the Karla Shacklock Company and Communications Apprentice for Lila Dance Company. I felt privileged to become a temporary member of not one but two dance companies and get the chance to have a sneaky glance into the behind the scenes workings of a dance company.Learning how funding applications work, how to set up a successful audition, how to write marketing/educational material and how best to use social media to advertise and communicate effectively.

As the months passed more valuable opportunities were cropping up which included; teaching some lessons for the youth company, 2BU; team teaching with Gemma in schools workshops; helping to deliver all levels of the Arts Award whilst completing my Gold Arts Award and Assistant Teaching for professional company Darren Ellis Dance.

In addition to working on these exciting projects I acquired new transferable skills in excel spreadsheets, First Aid Training and learning industry terminology as well as being involved in various continued professional development sessions, aimed at working with dance in the national curriculum.

Whilst at PDSW I have been able to gain both a working knowledge of the industry and an academic perspective on the arts, particularly the field of arts education – knowledge that could aid me in my final year at university. I was nearing the end of my placement, but due to my hard work across the months I was offered an extension and was to start working for Regional Producer, Zannah Doan as an ambassador for the app, DanceTag. This was a brilliant opportunity to use my newly appointed social media skills to promote the new app whilst learning how to write weekly reports on any bugs, progressions and suggestions for improvement.

Pavilion Dance South West has made a considerable impact on me. It has enabled me to progress as an artist, teacher, practitioner, trainee producer and stage manager. Supporting my artistic development and opening my eyes to the wider world of the arts through new skills such as marketing, budgeting and social media.

This placement opportunity has enlightened me to the many opportunities and pathways the arts industry has to offer and I cannot wait to start a rich and fulfilling career in the arts. If you have the opportunity to take a placement year, and want priceless industry advice and a strong supportive network of bodies then look no further than Pavilion Dance South West.

Heidi Lesiw, University Work Placement Student September 2013 – June 2014


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