The Dancer

An apprehensive looking young woman was waiting for me in a very empty dance school.

As we walked into one of the studios for our first shoot I could see that although she was clearly nervous, she was a strikingly beautiful woman. I was looking forward to the shoots as I felt she would be able to work with the camera really well. Imogen started to tell me about how she was managing her life in lockdown. Living in a student house with five other students, dancing in her kitchen, dancing in her bedroom, and struggling with a lot.

She seemed to be going through a very internal journey, and Covid seemed to have pushed her there. She was going through a lot of soul searching, and was fearful of losing her passion for dance. Her future she felt was uncertain.

As we carried on talking she seemed to come to life more and more, and she then started talking about her sense that this was a time to in fact focus upon herself, and all that she had perhaps not dealt with prior to Covid, like her gender identity.

For such a young person she seemed so very wise, working out that this was her time to work on herself if she could.

As we opened up so did Imogen, and she seemed to meet me each time with more vitality and excitement for life and dance. She had not only rediscovered her love of dance in a more meaningful way, but she had found her own space to live in, and she had graduated from dance school.

I remember the joy and happiness etched on to her face as she told me about her first performance in front of a crowd. “Its what its all about, it was so exciting, I love dance again!” she said.

My most vivid memory is of asking her to do some dance poses in the middle of her local park in Chapel town Leeds. There was something very poetic about this young dance student who had danced her way through Covid, to a place where she felt happier in herself. Here she was dancing with such freedom, with the sounds of children playing in the park. It was a joyous hopeful moment.

The last shoot was with Imogen and her dance group The Verve, in the theatre at NSCD rehearsing. A group of young dance students with the world at their feet, dancing and laughing together again as it should be.