Guest post by Dolly Williams
Dolly Williams is a Music, Theatre and Entertainment Management Student at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. She is currently interning at Northern Ballet in Leeds UK in the Communications team. She has been involved in dance for many years and has previously worked as a dancer and Entertainment Manager in several countries. She has a passion for ballet and runs her own dance website Bulletin Pointe
Nowadays you will generally find me behind a computer screen, working away at some spreadsheet or my latest blog post but if you had asked me a few years ago what I wanted to do there would have been no hesitation… dance! But sitting here typing away I have to say I couldn’t be happier.
The lovely Mike asked me what motivated me to step away from the studio and into the office, so here goes…
When I was two and half years old I started dancing not to become a ballerina or because I wanted to wear pink tutus but simply because I wanted the pink vanity case with ballet shoes on it and my brother did karate so I wanted to go to a club too. After a few classes I fell in love and by the time I was five, I attended classes six days a week. I continued with the usual dance childhood of classes, annual shows, competitions and summer schools every year. I studied ballet, tap, modern, Jazz, acrobatics and drama, I was a bunhead and my life revolved around my dancing.
When I was eighteen my family could not afford to send me to stage school but I was offered a job to work as a dancer abroad doing shows in the resort theatres, which I did for the next few years. I enjoyed the job and the company liked my work so I was promoted very early into an entertainment management role. It was here that I realized that I loved dance but also loved management and needed to find a way to hybrid the two. So I relocated back to the UK and worked as a secretary/PA for a couple of years to gain admin experience. I then decided the best route was to go back to education and get my degree in Entertainment Management. I had the experience and now wanted the paper to prove I could do it. So I started at LIPA and will hopefully graduate next summer. During my course I fell with marketing and my mind was made up that a career in dance communication is where I am heading.
Many people are shocked to hear that I have moved away from performing and want to go into the dark side of management but I do so for a simple reason. After every performance and class I did, I felt the buzz of performing. I liked knowing that the audience had been entertained and I felt a sense of achievement but when I started managing it become something else. As a dancer I was responsible for the audience’s enjoyment and my own but as a Manager/ Marketeer I feel so much more achievement knowing the work I do results in my own, all the dancers and the audience’s enjoyment. I was giving the dancers the buzz I had felt and that is what motivates me to dance communication.
Another reason I love working the management side of dance is the challenge. I had danced from such a young age that it was all I knew and was less of a challenge and more of a routine. When I decided to change it was a real eye opener and I love the fresh challenges I have to tackle on a daily basis away from my comfort zone of dance.
Something else that motivates me to study and work is my mum. My mum sacrified a lot including her health to send me to dance training and I know it broke her heart when I couldn’t go to stage school, so when I graduate next year my graduation day is totally for her.
As much as I love what I now do there are some drawbacks to my change. Having danced for so many years it is ingrained in my body, so reducing training has had a big effect. When I first stopped my body ached and I was extremely restless but I exercise regularly and try to keep active to counterbalance this. I still twitch when I watch dance but still try to get my dance fix each week with a class.
Several reasons made me move away from my life as a dancer but I have to say that I am enjoying the life I have now so much more. I love the challenge of a new industry, I have time for a social life and time to chill with friends which I never had before and know that I have a career path without an age limit. The stability is comforting and as I get older my priorities are changing, and working in dance communication seems to tick all the boxes.