Team Blogs – Laura Nightingale. 

Headshot of Artistic Director - Laura

 

When 2020 arrived nobody anticipated just what a year we were about to embark on and how it would change our lives forever. 

 

As the Artistic Director of Exim Dance Company CIC, when the news broke that lockdown was happening with immediate effect, I had to act quickly as work was either being suspended or lost, leaving the company as countless others in a financial crisis and big questions & fears were arising around the sustainability of the company going forward! As a small, local Plymouth community interest company we don’t have endless amounts of reserves available unfortunately!

 

The priority for the seven directors, the core team and myself was to ensure we acted swiftly to continue providing virtual services, but also alternative offers for those that don’t have access to an electronic device or that of the internet. As always we want to ensure Exim’s services are both accessible and inclusive for anyone to partake in. With this in mind we have continuously been providing both pre recorded and live sessions for both young people & adults, well being 121s/group video/phone calls, daily well being activities, well being activity packs through post, virtual scratch events plus a whole load more! Additionally providing South West artists with financial support.

 

The team has worked hard with our database of participants to ensure what we have been providing is exactly what they’ve wanted and required. None of the above through lockdown would have been possible without the support from Arts Council England, Sport England and a number of other funders alongside support from mentors etc. THANK YOU. 

 

Exim has been incredibly adaptable and resilient throughout lockdown and the beginning of the recovery phase. Through the intense highs and lows during this period, I honestly have never been prouder of the company, my colleagues, board, friends and family that have continuously provided support, been the ones to be that virtual shoulder to cry on. Furthermore, helping be integral parts of making ideas become a reality by continuing supporting those we work with and reaching wider audiences through all Exim virtual services. 

 

Throughout this period it’s allowed myself to really take the time to focus and understand what programmes and services the company moves forward with, post Covid. The absolute priority for the company is that we ensure we continue providing vital FREE well being dance services and pathway programmes supporting both young people and adults from Plymouth, that are at risk, come from areas of deprivation, those with health concerns, mental health, disabilities or experience disadvantaged backgrounds. Where possible Exim Dance will continue to support South West freelance artists.

 

To view our offers internally visit: https://eximdance.org.uk/covidresponse/

 

Personally through lockdown it’s allowed me the time to further develop my own training and I’m currently studying in a ‘Children Counselling and Therapy Course’ this is something I’m incredibly passionate about and will of course help support my practice with those I work with. My garden has been a saving grace throughout lockdown; taking time out from staring at the screen, endless zoom meetings for countless hours, planting and watching new life form in the garden has been unbelievably therapeutic. My husband Gareth, I have so much to thank him for always and will be eternally grateful for all the support he provides. While the whole team were furloughed he would spend hours after work reading my applications, going over budgets and going over absolutely everything with me and being my rock, when I have felt at times hopelessness and not being able to see how its possible for the company to move forward.  

 

As much as there is still so much uncertainty going forward I am incredibly excited to see our participants, parents, carers, team, working partners etc. Being back in a studio/training rooms and providing face-to-face delivery is something I cannot wait for and the team to be together again on a day-to-day basis. 

 

I look forward to sharing future projects, happenings with the company in due course. 

 

If you are in a position to support Exim Dance or are interested in anything particular in the company please do get in touch by email to laura@eximdance.org.uk 

 

To get an idea of some of our work virtually and in the community visit our YouTube page here: 

https://www.youtube.com/user/EximDance

 

The BIGGEST thank you to all those that have supported the company, we really couldn’t do it without you. 

 

Laura Nightingale 

Artistic Director 

Exim Dance Company