Sarah Maguire : Being A Creative Apprentice

Sarah Maguire : Being A Creative Apprentice

My Creative Apprenticeship at Dance4 now seems a little like a dream. As an alternative route into the industry, the training I received at Dance4 went above and beyond my expectations, and has set the foundations for my career to date.

Since Dance4, I have worked in the Channel Islands in their equivalent to the Arts Council, the Guernsey Arts Commission, and returned to England to work at Dance Umbrella acting as their Festival Coordinator for the 2013 festival.

I currently work at The Place managing the associate artist programme, Work Place. Work Place is a scheme that assists professional choreographers in their artistic endeavours and supports artistic ambition. We currently have eleven of the UK’s most exciting contemporary dance-artists affiliated with the scheme and I work closely with them as they develop their choreographic output. This role encompasses producing, fundraising, tour booking, business planning and more besides, and is a part of our renowned Theatre and Artist Development department. You can see more of what I do here.

The real joy of working at Dance4 as Creative Apprentice is that you’re really thrown into all possible scenarios. From taking part in programming meetings with the full team to looking after artists and companies during international festivals; from supporting the organisation and logistics of youth platforms involving hundreds of young people to spending time in the studio with one choreographer exploring the beginning stages of their new piece of work; from setting up dance floor as part of an outdoor festival to running the streets of Edinburgh promoting a show taken up by the organisation; from writing marketing campaigns and amending copy to filming interviews with dancers in the studio.

The partnership with the College is also invaluable, and during my time there I found myself exploring areas of arts and culture that I was particularly interested in alongside others who were on the course. Practically, I found myself rigging, learning about the technicalities of health and safety, and acting as the lighting technician for the college’s end of year show among many other things – all with much support from Andy Atkin, the course leader.

The team itself and the structure around you at Dance4 is based on support and development. There, you’re encouraged to put forward your thoughts and ideas to contribute across the board; in this way, you’re really trained to think laterally and logically at once. The team is there to guide you along the way in terms of your decision-making processes.

Technically, I found myself supporting various members of the team throughout on a project-by-project basis which was incredible. Where I might be supporting the Producer and Assistant Producers on one hand with programming certain projects, I may also have been supporting Marketing in creating marketing output both in print in digitally.

The important thing in all aspects is to be open and generous as part of a reciprocal relationship with the team, and that is where the fun lies; I very much grew personally and professionally whilst doing my Apprenticeship – it felt like a risk, but it has become the most important and fortuitous decision I have made to date. It has made me who I am.

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