Kitchen Meeting ID_Frankfurt #1
Our first re-dance meeting was made possible by donated space from ID_Frankfurt. Patscharaporn and Katelyn took the opportunity to meet with local parenting artists to share their vision for re-dance and get direct feedback. Our aim was to generate a space for conversation, reflection and hear from parenting dancers what is most important for them around the topic.
The meeting consisted of introductions, a presentation of re-dance, given tasks* and a final sharing round.
Given tasks for participants during the meeting:
1. What would be a ‘dream’ working situation in a freelance project of 3-6 months with your specific family situation?
Ex. think about how many days/hours a week you could be available while still being there for your family, what belongs to a working situation, who could be invited in i.e childcare, pt, etc.
2. How in this specific moment is your physical condition? What do you think you would need to be at physical readiness for your ‘dream’ project?
As a conclusion we asked for the participants to reflect on the meeting and send in what resonated in any form that they wished.
The following is a collection of what each participant shared.
“I really needed to think about what word ‘visibility’ means in relation to being a mum and an artist. From my own experience, I could tell that I had a few times the need to hide (or to not tell at the first sentence) that I am a mother and I am trying to combine these two things. So I unconsciously chose to hide. But why? Being a mom doesn’t make me worse than another. But as it is still so often thought in our society that being a mother and an artist somehow marks you as an unreliable person. I think the contrary. Women with children, could bring so much precision, punctuality and being more clear in a moment, because yes, we mothers want to know how long we will work and when we will finish. It is very simple. A strict planning is a part of parenting. And many of our colleagues (the ones without family or responsibilities apart from making art) can not understand these wishes. Therefore, they automatically are looking for a performer who would be free and flexible about working hours. And this fact teaches me to be careful with which information I begin to introduce myself with. And of course it doesn’t sound amazing at the first sight, but it should not be a reason to hide or make myself somebody who I am not. In conclusion, I learned to make myself visible, a mother of two and still a good dancer, performer.
I want to point out that being a dancer and being a mother is almost the same “job” that requires these qualities: it’s both challenging physically, mentally, spiritually and asks for a lot of responsibility.”
Once again it was a pleasure and relief to share thoughts and feelings on the very topic we live everyday!
I would say “embracing” and “empowering” are two key words I took from our last meeting.
What really was empowering and motivating me to continue the work on re-dance is that I am definitely not a single case: being a freelance dancer and a mother with a young child having work-family-balance concerns. Listening to other dance artists’ stories from different backgrounds and ages made me realize that it is an issue and I believe more and more that we can all draw creative potential from this and work together towards improving working conditions for all dancers (not just the ones who have a family).
At this kitchen meeting it has been noted that engaging a dancer with family appears to be a risk for some employers. I believe it is time to say that it is an outdated mentality to expect the artist to be 24h available. A solution might be just clear communication, organisation and respect for each other’s different lifestyles and life situation; empathy.
Another interesting point is that a pregnancy takes a woman out of her career, especially if your career depends mostly on your body.
And another note from a freelancer’s point of view: my working opportunity depended a lot on my geographical mobility. How can we support each other in dealing with this alternated life situation? To make them not feel like a “restriction”? To get space and time to reflect and talk about these issues was a long-needed opportunity.
- “You don’t start looking for a new job / auditioning during pregnancy”
- Pregnancy = cure from all the tensed muscle work as a dancer
Future topics generated from first meeting
- Define physical and mental “readiness” for a performance creation
- What type of psycho-somatic work is needed