Recently we were joined by Jodie McLeod for a 6 week placement from Newcastle University, and she was kind enough to write about her time with us. It was a very different placement to usual, as we were still in lockdown, so it was mainly virtual, but still a huge success!
Going into my six-week placement with balletLORENT, I was hoping to gain a better understanding of how a professional dance company operates and the different roles that contribute to the day-to-day running of the company. The placement structure put together for me by James allowed me to gain insights into a number of different departments within balletLORENT. Through shadowing sessions and working with the guidance of different members of the team, I have learnt a huge amount about marketing, audience development, project management, safeguarding and fundraising. Because of this, I have come away with a wealth of new knowledge and invaluable hands-on experience; fulfilling any initial hopes I had for the placement.
My time with balletLORENT has been spent primarily working alongside James and the creative team as they plan for their learning and participation project focused on delivering accessible opportunities for children in schools across Newcastle to engage with dance and the arts. Having the opportunity to attend meetings and work closely with members of the team has shown me just how highly balletLORENT values inclusivity and I believe that the project will be of huge benefit and value to the children who participate. It has been an extremely rewarding and insightful project to work on and be a part of.
My placement with balletLORENT has been undoubtedly unique. I came to them in the midst of a global pandemic, which of course brings with it numerous challenges and worries. Working remotely has meant that I haven’t actually met any of the people I have been working alongside and has forced me out of my comfort zone and into the world of zoom meetings and digital communications.
Initially, I was nervous that this might take away from the experience, worried that I might find it more difficult to get a real feel for the company and to gain a clear understanding of how the team works together. In fact, looking back I think the opposite has been true. Having the chance to work independently with different members of the team has shown me quite how closely they work with one another even when physical proximity is not possible. The common values and aims that are shared across the different departments have also been abundantly clear.
I am extremely grateful to the balletLORENT team for allowing me to carry out my placement with them during these unprecedented and unusual times; for being so welcoming; and for all of the knowledge that they have shared with me throughout the process. The experience I have gained has been incredibly valuable and has allowed me to uncover new areas of interest that I hadn’t previously considered.