In this episode, we talk to Katie Serridge and Nafisah Baba about Breaking Through.
This episode was put together at Katie’s request, who took the initiative and emailed us offering to talk about the challenges she has been presented with as a young artist trying to break into an industry that effectively shut down only minutes after her graduation. Nafisah Baba, BBC Young Dancer 2017, joins us to share her observations of the world of work thus far.
We start off by discussing how Katie and Nafisah came to dance, the courses and training they embarked upon to prepare them for the industry and the opportunities they had to start making or performing in work pre-Covid. We reflect back on lockdown 1.0 and how it felt for them both returning to childhood bedrooms as adults.
Most performers find a need to supplement their earnings with what Nafisah described as a ‘Muggle job’ and Katie talks about how for her these dried up as cafes and theatres closed. We discuss how they now think about ‘training’ which might once have meant daily class but is now weighted towards the maintenance of strong and positive mental health. We talk about resilience, networking, the pleasures and pitfalls of social media and how best to manage it.
But these are two remarkable young women and, presented with the challenge of a global pandemic, they both set about finding creative ways to manage. Both are already making their mark on the world through their art, are politically and globally aware and have voices that are starting to be heard. Katie, along with a collective she formed at Laban, has already begun making films and sharing these in festivals and Nafisah talked about how she has enjoyed experiences of working with artists such as Akram Khan who have inspired her to break away from years of codified training.
This is no ‘woe-is-me’ episode. This is an episode filled with hope, love, care and possibility. Yes …we talk about what the industry is demanding of young dancers right now but most excitingly we talk about how these young dancers are starting to push back against that expectation and make changes in a world that, let’s be honest, is ready for the shake-up.