Backstage with...Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman is the Lead Artist of dance company, everyBODY dance, who run community workshops and organise global tours that bring disabled and non-disabled performers together.

Backstage with...Rachel Freeman

EveryBODY dance has worked in numerous locations around the world, in locations as varied as Wolverhampton and Hong Kong. We caught up with Rachel to hear about the roots of the company, and their international projects.

What is your background in dance?

I did recreational dance until my early 20's, then trained at Laban Centre, Goldsmiths London. I trained in Community Dance and have worked in that area ever since, for 30 years now.

How did you begin work with everyBODY dance?

The organisation grew out of inclusive dance company Blue Eyed Soul Dance Company – based in Shropshire and founded by me in 1995 – which closed down in 2011 when our Arts Council funding was axed. I decided to work from my home base in Herefordshire and formed everyBODY dance as a charity to 'contain' the work.

Has this always been a project with global outreach, or did that come in later?

This has always had a global aspect to it, but I am also interested in the local on a global level or is that global on a local level? I'm interested in tapping into a sense of belonging.

How often are you working in different countries?

Probably once or twice a year.

Do you feel there is a different response in different areas of the world?

This is probably seen as having greater value in other parts of the world – there is more status and respect as a visiting international artist – and we are not seen in the same light in our local community. There is a kudos to being away from home ground, also there is a novelty with a different mother tongue and new or different cultural references.

How does your role change when you are working abroad?

There is a responsibility to train and collaborate with other practitioners, to leave a legacy, to support what is already happening and inspire further development of the work.

How do you maintain a sense of community within an art project that has global reach?

By treating every individual with respect and striving to ensure that the playing field is level for everyone involved in any project. Also by really promoting that sense of belonging.

Find out more about Rachel's work at everyBODY dance


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