Anna's work experience with Stopgap

Since Stopgap have become part of the AQA Dance anthology, there has been an increase in GCSE Dance students looking to spend time with Stopgap. Here, our most recent work experience student Anna, talks about her time with us.

This week I had to undertake probably one of my biggest challenges... work experience. 
I was lucky enough to secure a placement at the wonderful Stopgap. I was given my schedule before I started my placement and was amazed at how much experience I would be able to gain in a week. However, it did make me very nervous.

On the first day, I was excited yet still extremely anxious about what to expect and whether I would get on with all the staff. I was pleasantly surprised that when introduced to the team they were so friendly and helpful. My first activity was an Artists in Training class with Laura Jones, which was truly amazing. I loved how everyone accepted me into the group despite most people being double my age. After that I supported and participated in Stopgap’s Youth Company working with many girls with different disabilities. It was really interesting to see how dance can be adapted to different people’s needs.

My second day was even more nerve wracking as I knew I would be assisting in teaching at a primary school. It was clear that the energetic year 1’s enjoyed expressing themselves and had fun dancing. Working with the children made me feel more confident in my self expression, particularly seeing that they had no inhibitions about what others thought about them (jumping around the room like rabbits and crawling on the floor like worms).

After teaching I had to overcome a big challenge... street dance!! I’m not a natural street dancer so I had to overcome that fear; I was again pleasantly surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the class. I stayed a little bit later than expected, as I was invited to a contemporary class. I was lucky enough to be asked to direct a section of the dance, which is very much within my comfort zone.

One of the highlights of my week was an open class at Christs College; I got to work with Laura, Cherie and Chris so I was very happy and content. I then worked with Stopgap Youth Company which was again an incredible experience supporting two lovely girls with disabilities. Yesterday I went to a company class where we learnt a difficult and fast piece; even though I struggled to pick up the choreography I felt supported and comfortable in the environment I was in and around the people I was with.

That leads me to where I am now, writing this blog. I really believe that this week has made me think more about my future and what I would like to do. From these few days with Stopgap and The Dance Movement I believe that I would work well with people with disabilities, teaching and supporting. I have gained a great insight into the various jobs and roles there are within the dance industry and it has made me even more passionate about going into this sector. Therefore, I would like to thank Nicky and all the team for making my work experience truly amazing.

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