- Tell us more about yourself. What do you do and how long you’ve been working in this industry?
I first tried going on a trapeze when I was 39. I queued with a line of children at a festival, had a go and fell in love with it. I’d danced for a long time and done gymnastics as a child so aerial was a perfect mix. Since then I’ve performed and taught aerial dance.
- Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
The gymnast Olga Korbut or my Aunty Myra, who drove a milk float.
- What was your ‘punch in the stomach’ or when did you first realise that this is going to become your career?
There was a beautiful moment when I found some friends to train with and a teacher (it wasn’t easy to find somewhere to hang the trapeze we’d bought) and we realised we could actually create something. This was around 2005 when there was more arts funding around.
- What were the 3 biggest obstacles in pursuit of your career?
- Juggling time with young children;
- Not knowing anything about marketing;
- And dwindling funding pots (I’m often paid less now than I was 10 years ago – both for teaching and performing!)
- Where do you find inspiration?
Teaching for sure – over 55’s, children with special needs, teenagers, adults, professional dancers. I’m also lucky that in the North East, where I live, there is a group of aerialists all around 50 years of age. They are all a great inspiration to me.
- What challenges do you face in this industry as a ‘50+ artist’?
The perception other people have of older women. I remember around 8 years ago, when I was around 45, someone in the audience said ‘these performers are amazing and they are no spring chickens anymore!’ I’ve definitely been overlooked for a few gigs for not ‘fitting’.
Interestingly enough, one thing that wasn’t a challenge was the menopause. I came out the other side with my joints less stiff and feeling more flexible.
- What advice would you give someone who is about to start their career but is being told that it’s ‘too late’?
It’s never too late! Practice the thing that feels right for you and your body, show up and make connections. That’s all that matters.
- Do you have any idols and if so, who and why?
Not just one person. I admire people who practice, create and are inclusive.
- What’s your life motto?
Not one but many – I take time to be grateful, I trust my body’s wisdom, I make time to move and create.
- You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
I’d change moment by moment. And day by day.