• Bethany Welsh

A Lingering Art Form

Written for Flexus Dance Collective's September Newsletter

Dance isn’t just about performing, it enables an individual to express themselves through movement. The overwhelming amount of passion that a dancer feels towards this particular art form is something they may never forget. It is something that will permanently linger inside them, it is what shaped their identity. Any person who has developed a true love for this art, being immersed in the dance industry, will understand how difficult it is when making the decision to walk away.

For me, I recognised dance as a rescue remedy. Any personal worries or concerns that were dominating my mind were forgotten about as I lost myself in movement - which is one of the main reasons I feel completely blessed to have been introduced to what I like to call: a calming art. Nothing else mattered whilst dancing, my mind was distracted by all negative thoughts as I solely focused on expressing myself through my body language.

I had danced for almost sixteen years. It is an art that I was passionately devoted to, and it became fixed into my routine. I had extreme desires to pursue a career in dance as I was surrounded by several immensely talented artists who inspired me daily. First beginning at a dance school called Julie Sarah’s Dance Academy, I attended many competitions where my thrill of performing became apparent and ignited my determined mindset. Dancing at this school triggered my passion for dance and I found myself eager to explore other styles.

Soon starting high school and familiarising myself with Katy Sterran’s evident talent with her range of successful dance companies, I was itching to gain a place with Flexus. The environment that Sterran managed to create served as motivation for me to push myself enough to proudly earn my spot as a part of the company.

Sterran had sparked my love for dance drastically. I was nothing but grateful to have received a place within the Touring company after working my way up through the feeding companies, which was then known as ‘Fidget’. It wasn’t just her immense creativity that had inspired me, but how her work ethic never faltered regardless of the endless challenges she was confronted with. Flexus wasn’t just a dance company, it was a family of aspiring artists that strived for success in a demanding industry, guided by a vision of female empowerment.

After gaining a place at a Dance Conservatoire, it felt like a shell of the environment that Sterran had created and the passion she projected wasn’t as evident within this institution. The lessons and morals I learned under her mentorship are ones that have followed me throughout other challenges I have faced outside of dance. Sterran serves as one of the sole reasons that I will forever be in love with this creative outlet and why I can never say Goodbye.

Without a doubt, dance will forever be within me, and while I have not continued to pursue it, I know that it is something that I will always have just below the surface. It served as such a powerful outlet for my mental and physical wellbeing and has helped to shape who I am as a person. The determination, confidence and my ability to push through even the hardest moments of my life thus far are all owed to my time as a dancer, and in particular Sterran and all of the gifted artists within the Collective.

From being a member of Flexus Dance Collective, I have embedded a range of positive attributes into every section of my life, even half a decade after parting ways from this inspirational collective. Now returning to Flexus as a Freelance Writer, I feel as though I have been able to revisit a part of my life that I had such a strong connection with. Witnessing previous performances from my time within the company that was included in ‘A Captured Moment’ Digital Festival hosted by Flexus, I was reminded of my deep love for this art as it came rushing back to me. I was nothing but overwhelmed by a heavy pour of emotion as I watched myself dance some of my favourite works created by Sterran, with a group of talented artists that I will always remember and consider family.

Being a dancer is for life regardless of whether you choose to pursue a career in it or not. Just because you may have decided to take a different path in life, it will never minimise your everlasting passion for dance. It’s embodied inside your soul and is not something you can ever lose touch with. If I hadn’t danced, I don’t believe I would be even near the woman I am today. It has helped me gain many valuable life lessons from being introduced to this art. I have acquired an indescribable amount of confidence, an aspirational mindset and a sense of creativity, which I don’t believe I would have discovered if it wasn’t for dancing. I truly believe that Dance has transformed me into a woman that will never give up from achieving her true desires. So, I thank this art form daily for shaping me into the empowered female I feel like I am today.

The B Word x Bethany Welsh

Flexus Alumni/Flexus Dance Collective’s Freelance Writer

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