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Life in Lockdown: Colleen Joseph

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Life in Lockdown is a blog series initiated by Greenwich Dance which features community and professional arists close to the organisation sharing how they are staying creative during these isolating times.

The artists have been asked to log their day-to-day activity during lockdown. Heres a look at artistic Director Colleen Joseph's week!

My journey began after leaving the Urdang Academy London having trained for 3 years in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre. Since then I have travelled the world through dance. Learning and enriching my practice through my experiences and the incredible organisations I have had the pleasure of collaborating with.

For the last 10 years I have served as an Artistic Director for youth dance companies in some of London’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas such as Tower Hamlets, Newham and Woolwich. Greenwich Dance has been my home for the entire duration of that time and now come to be where I feel I have made the most impact on the lives of the young people I have worked with. It is a passion of mine to spread the joy of dance to as many people as humanly possible in my lifetime and Greenwich Dance are and have always been firm advocates of that very quest!

My strengths lie in community participation in dance. Inspired by the many dance styles I have learnt over the years but most influenced by the extraordinary world of Hip Hop theatre. Working with venues such as Museums, Galleries, Theatre’s, Institution’s, Schools and Events companies. Curating sites specific, outdoor and interactive performances that the young people who experiences them will never forget.

Monday Motivation: To lock down the #NRgDance Online Series, I have been working for Greenwich Dance with an incredible team of dance artists. For the last week I have been working on the curation of NRgDance Online, a virtual series designed to keep our incredible community dance programme alive during Covid 19. With millions of households on lockdown, it’s a challenging time for most, but especially difficult for children and young people. Some of which have been taken from the very things that bring them peace and sanctuary. As an artistic extension of the #StrongerTogether movement, we brought together 8 inspiring artists to film the series in just ONE WEEK! Boy was it a challenge, but we did it! Take 105 🎬
Note to self: NEVER again try to record with two kids in the house... Haha...

Training Tuesday with my team! Not even a UK Lockdown can keep us apart. Just tuned in for a weekly ZOOM catch up with Lotus Youth Dance Company- Greenwich Dance. The thing I love about my role as Artistic Director is that it never gets old! I have been running youth dance companies for over 10 years now and have learnt a tremendous amount along my journey although never ever imagined having to reinvent rehearsals in such a way! The resilience of the collective of young creatives I work with is admirable, their spirits, their passion and there ability to adapt is phenomenal. I am so grateful for the opportunity to witness such talent, to see the grassroots of humble beginnings grow and flourish into greatness. I teach to always ASPIRE for greatness and watch the greatness INSPIRE others! Here’s to Lotus... killing it through the storm! And creatively cultivated LIFE IN LOCKDOWN! Cooking up some plans for an online project. Up my Street here we come...

Whatever it’s Wednesday!? It’s not always easy being a dance mum in lockdown whilst still maintaining a freelance career as a Dance Artist, working part time as a Community Coordinator, Co-Chair of our daughters school Charity, Artist Director of a Youth Dance Company, a temporary Primary school teacher and mum of two with one on the way... #mumof32be sometimes just sometimes I say WHATEVES... A very close friend of mine @priscillaramirez Founder of @planbe and Mum of two herself, wrote her dissertation for her masters on multiple roles. She helped me to realise that I have been actively engaged in as many as 10 roles at one time. The most encouraging part of that realisation was that multiple roles do actually contribute of a women’s wellbeing. I believe that with every experience comes lessons that help us develop and evolve. So as a women who’s very existence is based on multi tasking, it’s ok to sometimes just say WHATEVES! Lol x

Improv Days... For most of my career I have emphasised the importance of FREESTYLE. To have the freedom to be who you are, to be unapologetic in your persuit of reaching the truest and most authentic version of yourself. In the last 16 years I have been a Student, a Performer, a Mentor, a Teacher and a Director. Along the way I have been through some major life experiences and somehow been made richer in heart and mind, more determined and even more open to uncovering the truth. During this ‘lockdown’ I have come to the realisation that without the freedom to express who I am or what I am experiencing at any one time, it leaves me broken. Dance is the air I breathe... it’s life and it makes me a better human, a better Mother and a better Artist! Thank you Greenwich Dance for giving me the opportunity to share my life in lockdown through creative expression!

Friday feeling... Fridays were always ‘FUN’ I our house growing up! Coming from a single parent household and being one of 4 girls. Five women is a lot for anyone to survive! Haha... I find it extraordinary how much influence your childhood experiences, if positive, linger in you heart. Now a Mother of two little ladies myself, we decided to get creative this afternoon and do the Jordan Matter 10 min Photo Challenge. My daughters are little movement masters in their own right and I refuse to shape or mould their creativity. My job is to offer guidance and inspiration but never stifle nor threaten their authenticity. This is who they are and my goodness I’m proud!

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