Today I’m sharing a project really close to my heart, one that’s been in the works since early spring. I was asked by the wonderful Glasgow agency Brand Calibre to create a poem and dance to raise awareness of mental health challenges. This year, the Mental Health Foundation‘s focus was Nature, so in composing and choreographing this work I considered our relationship with the earth and the varying ways that can complicate – and clarify – our mental health.
After months of writing and rewriting and choreographing (and getting my tush back in shape after a year of lockdown) we filmed on the hottest day of the year in a gorgeous park near Glasgow. Brand Calibre were absolutely wonderful to work with, and so supportive of the direction I wanted to go with the text, movement, and camera action.
This project was an exercise in vulnerability. It meant stripping down – literally, to minimal, nude costuming, but more significantly, talking in raw terms about mental health struggles. It’s personal. This year has walloped me, as I know it has so many. To write and choreograph about it was a challenge, a journey, but also a gift: to illuminate and excise some of those struggles through sweating them out.
Big thanks to Brand Calibre for inviting me to create this work with them, to pals who gave feedback on the piece, and to the people in public parks across Edinburgh this spring baffled by the weirdo dancing in the corner of the park who kept falling over on the grass. You’re all grand!
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, resources are available on the Mental Health Foundation website. At this time of year our mental health can feel even more compressed, but help to find breathing space is out there. We are not alone.