About Hope Dances
‘Glasgow’s Morning Dancer’ - ‘The Broomielaw Dancing Queen’ - ‘The Princess of the Clyde’
That’s what they called me….
From 1 March 2010 - 21 December 2011 I danced outside for 484 days – in rain, sleet, snow & sun.
1 March 2010: I had just returned from the former war zone of Sri Lanka where I had facilitated dance
workshops with children. It was a grey day, and I felt it, like a cloak of lead upon my soul. Memories of the
girls at Anbu Illam orphanage, and of the young people in Batticaloa were fresh inside of me. Children
with an uncertain future and yet such beauty, and generosity. Thoughts as to what could happen to them
removed my lung capacity. And I was missing them as echoes of their laughter and images of dancing
filtered through my brain. For two years I had returned there, and I felt that this time it was an ending. I
I decided to go for a run, a culturally acceptable physical practice for outdoor spaces. And having operated in a largely voluntary capacity, a free one, which was all I could afford.
I arrived at the River Clyde that day, a space that once had been the bastion of Glasgow life in shipbuilding, newly developed without a trace of it’s past, with wide open walkways and benches, and office blocks flanking the sides. It was empty save the random commuter – head down, cloaked in black, hustling into workplace covertly, invisible.
And inspiration came, ‘Dance!’, it beckoned.
I looked about me, big open spaces, empty. And I replied, ‘ok’.
So began my outdoor dancing.
I felt so enlightened and liberated by the experience, and the place, I returned the next day, and the next… in my heart I was dancing for those children, and for all the kids I had ever worked with. The disenfranchised, the forgotten, the lost…. Sending celebrations for all they are and could be…
But what transpired ended up being much greater than that.
The downturned faces, the hunched shoulders, the hustle of ‘non-activity’ that previously had occupied that ‘passing through’ space transformed as people began to seek the dance.
Smiles, waves, eye-contact, honks… and that section of earth was made sweeter. Youtube videos began to spring up, and then the BBC did a story and STV and many other media channels…
For me having witnessed the aftermath of war in Sri Lanka, not to mention my previous experience of engaging with poverty and violence in the US, UK, Europe, Canada and India, the shift proved vital. In the shadow of world events – wars, greed, destruction, my dances seemed to generate HOPE.
Interestingly and unsurprisingly the words HOPE and HOP share the same etymological root. We can imagine the physical act of “hopping” also serves as a metaphor to take us from our suffering and pain into something joyful and beautiful.
And, unsurprisingly, I felt compelled to continue, to find new and better ways to expand this practice. And through doing so, I have received hundreds of stories back of positive change, of celebrations of life, of personal transformation.
I am now in the process of working on the book, originally I intended it to be done by now. But then a miraculous thing happened… I decided to leave Glasgow, travel the world, dance and write, I bought a one-way plane ticket for Buenos Aires… and found out I was pregnant. That was April 2012. My son was born in November. And here we are… hope is still dancing, but she’s got company….
I shall keep you posted of the happenings in any case!
Love and more love