Happy 2018!

Image by Michael Ash

A belated happy new year to you all!

So another year has begun and boy what a year we leave behind! A year that a lot of people are glad to see the back of where politics and international and national happenings are concerned. Not a great year for a lot of reasons.

However as you may have noticed I am ever the optimist and for me 2017 has had it’s ups and downs but I can’t help leaving it feeling proud, positive and hopeful for the year ahead. 2017 was my first year as a fully self-employed artist and I feel proud that I made it this far and have actually lived to tell the tale.

I’ve done so many fun jobs around the country and each one has taught me something new, built up my confidence and given me the inspiration to plough on through.

As I haven’t blogged for a while so I have lots to share with you all. I will begin with this little experiment. I used my mobile phone to make a very short film about a day in the life of a dancer, it’s a bit of a slice from my inner thoughts and feelings too as I don’t really have a single day that is the same.

Here it is enjoy!

Hildy Harland as Marie Lloyd: My Music Hall Debut

marie lloyd 2

At the end of September I took on a bit of a new challenge and added a new era to my repertoire. I was commissioned by ARC Stockton to create a 10 minute Music Hall Act. Being a Huge fan of Marie Lloyd (one of the most famous Music hall singers in Britain) I just had to pay my tribute to her.

marie lloyd 1

The performance was very different to what I’m used to, I chose to perform completely authentically without voice amplification which was scary at first but very freeing physically allowing me to venture into my audience, which I loved! So I thought I would share the video with you all because I am seriously thinking about adding this era as one of my regular acts. Enjoy!

Life after being naked on camera.

Since my last post  and after filming ‘Made of Glass’, I was so nervous about the consequences of doing it and what people might think, seeing the finished footage was making me very anxious to say the least. But as soon as I seen it  all I felt was pride, that no matter how imperfect I may have looked, that was me and I was brave enough to do that! So, I can not show you the actual film yet as it is entered into some film festivals, however if you are desperate to catch a bit of flesh take a look at this video below which has a glimpse, it’s my show reel!

Since that point I have really felt better about myself and my body than I have in years, even though I am probably at my most heavy! I have been strength training but not focussing on my weight too much, although that is still something I need to address, I have endeavoured to be the person that I want to be without desperately NEEDING to loose that extra couple of stone or be a size 10 (UK). My new way of thinking is that photographers, casting directors, choreographers/directors can simply take me as I am or not at all! This has given me a kind of freedom just to be myself instead of trying to be the person I always thought I should be in order to be successful.

hildy flowers in my hair

So life at the moment is pretty sweet, I’m in a really progressive state of mind after receiving some great support from loads of lovely people generally involved in my life but also some un-expected people which was a great surprise.

Unfortunately I have had a bit trouble getting together another research group to talk with to help me with my new choreography project. So if you are reading this and really fancy talking about your body confidence and how other peoples opinions and the media effect that, please feel free to comment below and tell your story or let me know your interested.

Hildy x

When girl meets cake

Hi peeps,

I have always been a lover of cake and all things sweet, it makes me feel better when I’m sad it makes a great day even better! I have, all my life rewarded myself with a sweet treat when I have been extra amazing and drowned my sorrows in a double chocolate chip muffin when I have had the worst day. It’s safe to say my relationship with food is one of an unhealthy love bordering on obsession with a definite emotional attachment and the relationship with my body in return is that of a love and hate tug of war at times, with some breaks of cease fire and calmness, oh but then a remark is made a dress doesn’t fit a bad picture is posted to Facebook and the whole rigmarole starts again. Being a professional dancer this has never worked in my favour, the fight to do what I wanted to do for a living has always been very real.

eating cake

 

I have been told I am too fat to be a performer in so many ways by so many people it’s unbelievable. Luckily I am the most optimistic fat dancer you could meet and that is what has seen me through to this point and hopefully beyond. I have been denied many opportunities because of my weight and even more so because of my self consciousness that my body is not worthy of those opportunities.

Since I decided to make a leap of faith with my career leaving my safety job in a shop and going full time as a performer and creative, coupled with my ongoing ageing which I am still getting used to, I have decided to use this huge part of my life as an opportunity for discovery and hopefully some art. I want to study the relationships people have with their bodies particularly women.

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I want to know why I am like this, when did it start? why did it start? why can’t I dance as a fat girl? Would people want to see a size 16 girl dance?  Why should I wear spanx? Why are some girls more than half my size and twice my beauty even less confident in their own skin? Why do people want the perfect skin colour by tanning or bleaching or whatever other methods there may be? Why shouldn’t I have hairy legs or armpits or god forbid a hairy Mary? Why do I need long hair on my head but not on my big toe? What is a beach body? Can I model clothes even if I have a spare tyre (or two)? Why are there such strict rules on what a woman can do with her body? Why do women judge other women so harshly? Why do people think it is their business to tell other people they do not look ‘right’? Why do we have columns in magazines and TV programmes specifically to tell people how bad they look and that they need to change? Why are female prime ministers legs spoken about on the front pages of tabloid newspapers rather than their politics?

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I want to know it all and more. So I am embarking on this year of self discovery as well as hopefully learning a lot about my fellow humans and how we are obsessed with our outer form and the relationship with our inner being and how we can bring balance and learn to love ourselves for who we are and not what we want to be, who we want to be like or what other people think we should be like. Simply for the form both inside and outside that we take at this very moment in time.

lets talk (2)

So I’m going to finish off by saying I want to talk, If you have issues I want to talk if you don’t have any issues at all I want to talk. I want to hear from people who have answers to any of these questions or questions to pose of their own! It’s all in aid of what is to be hopefully an art piece based around movement and dance to begin with but who knows where it will go!

You can comment below with anything you feel you want to share or alternitavely, you can send me an email at hildyharland@hotmail.co.uk or send me a message via my  facebook page.

Looking forward to talking! Hildy x

 

Life’s not so bad being self employed

So good to get back to this blog!

Let’s catch up!

As of November 2016 I have been a fully self employed performer/ all round creative person which has so far been the most scary and satisfying experience.

I previously worked a 24hr a week job alongside all of my commitments as a performer, teacher and choreographer but it was making me desperately miserable and I needed to get out.

I spoke to my boyfriend on many occasions about the possibility of going back to university or other opportunities which he was happy to support me with and so I decided to say ‘Fudge it! I am going to do it’ (or words to that effect)  I handed my notice in and began my life as a free woman. Which after dreaming about it since I started working at the age of 16 seems like forever.

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(photo credit to Ben Martin)

In the past 5 months I have done everything from clowning to starring in a horror film (which may be the same thing for some) I feel like I have come so far learning about myself aas I go along.

I am now officially a cabaret performer with one act under my belt and another in production.

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(photo credit to Martin.J. Baty)

I can’t wait to see what comes next, a part of what comes next will be this blog. I want to use this as a platform to connect with other performers and give an incite to those who are interested in the life, pleasures and interests of a girl like me trying to make it in the performance industry, as a not so springing chicken (I’m now 28), curvy size 16. I know it’s going to be tough but I can’t help but be positive because I know how much I want it.

Thanks for joining me for this journey!

More coming soon…….

Hildy x

Making a good start

Well its been the first week back at work of 2016 and we’re all depressed as sin!

Apart from me of course! I’m very excited to be getting back to training this week started off with a contemporary class at dance city on Monday night, then Ballet on Thursday night too It was great fun seen some familiar faces and got some well needed stretching and toning done! I reviewed the class on my other blog Dance Culture North East.

Some pulmonary dates of public workshops happening in south shields. Coming up very soon for January February and March. I will hopefully announcing a venue for Newcastle and or Gateshead too for a monthly workshop! So get yourself signed up to the newsletter if you haven’t already and you will have first pick of limited places for these events.
There is also 20% off private workshop booked in January on this link too

In the meantime I have been getting flex-spiration for a new flexi cabaret act from some video’s on Youtube so here is one of my favourites! Enjoy

Chat conversation end

 

A little catch up

Hi everyone well sad times last week! It was my last week of vintage-fit before Xmas. I’m so proud of the girls who have been coming to class some for a year now! They have come on leaps and bounds and put up with my scatty-ness and I love them for if!!!

I’m also getting ready to settle into my new flat just a bit more DIY to do. My new base camp will be Gateshead so I’m trying to make some new contacts in the area so please do get in touch if you have any interest in what I do and your from my new area.
As well as that I got onto the chorus of Sweeney Todd which I am over the moon about I have no specific character but am hoping to use it as a learning experience (and the chorus which is huge and sounds amazing).
I also taught at Newcastle Does Vintage last Saturday which was super fun, some familiar faces as well as some lovely new ones two and a bit of bonding over jazz with Dan Arnold and Janet Style the fab duo perform on the stage next to me!
hh selfie3
Well lots of stretching and preparation to do so I better get on!
Some stretching tips coming soon as well as some xmas party dance tips.
HH x

A ‘shoulder pads’ week! And a smidge of politics!

Hi peeps!

Well first you may be wondering what a ‘shoulder pads week’ actually is! In my quite unusual mind this means a business week attending meetings doing courses etc, because whenever I think of or am referred to as a business women or small business owner I always imagine 1980’s business women in shoulder pads with huge 80’s mobile phones for some reason.

80's business woman

So certainly a more positive blog this week even if a little later than usual however not that much has happened and I don’t have many pictures to show you from this week so one will just have to suffice!

First of all I have been really focusing on gaining funding both to do vintage dance workshops and for my other business Gladys Gladrags (www.gladysgladrags.wordpress.com) I am so passionate about providing a creative outlet not just for young people or older people but those people in the bracket between ages 25 and 50 who often are completely written off as needing nothing but to work and raise a family. What about the people who are like me and just want a little bit of recreation but who don’t earn a lot and can’t afford to go and have a hobby to learn new skills, gain confidence in themselves, relax, have some time to themselves and socialise (somewhere other than the pub).

I want to create this sort of hub of recreation of course it is all inclusive and anyone can join in the activities however my main aim is that age bracket who in actions rather than words are often told it is tough luck if they can’t afford to do these things and they just need to do more hours at work or get a second job (which a lot of people I know do have). That is not acceptable our society needs to accept that poverty in the ‘working classes’ (I hate to use a class system but unfortunately that is the awful truth at the moment) is a huge problem and needs addressing.

So I know that teaching people dance and crafts is not a necessity but it can help people to gain new skills, keep a physically healthy body as well as a healthy mind enabling them to relax, de-stress, have some rest-bite from family life and work which they might not be able to afford to do without a little help.

So following my own advice this week I have also done a little bit of recreation this week  so here is a little picture of me in my natural state 🙂

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So after this little rest I have been trying my utmost to make my business successful as well as being ethical and keeping to all of the ideals I promised I would not compromise on when I first started. A big help has been the South Tyneside Business Forum their events are very helpful and I would recommend them to any small business in the area.

I have also been planning paper craft workshops which will be held on May Day Monday 4th May, so come and drop b if you would like to learn to make paper flowers or if you would simply like to meet me and perhaps listen to me sing.

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Workshops will be held at Bedes World Museum (inside the museum) Church Bank, Jarrow, NE32 3DY.

between 12pm-1pm and 2pm-3pm

I will probably be performing in-between these times too.

So hope to see some of you guys and dolls then Hildy xx

A bit of a to do!

Hi All,

 this week I have had a bit of an experience which I am sure a lot of other vintage or people with a strong and obvious style will probably have come across or been subject to at some point in there lives. And to be honest I get this quite a lot, but this week it just really got to me!

I got on the metro in my 1950’s polka dot dress with a rather large flower in my rather large up doo! I sat down and was struck by a man and woman (may I say at this point weren’t the best lookers in the world either and must have been in their 40’s old enough to know better)  who on me sitting down immediately looked me up and down and began to chat amongst themselves which often happens so I gave them a small grimace and that was that. Then however they proceeded to giggle and quite clearly talk about me as I began to innocently fiddle in my bag with make-up, as I was on my way to model for the wonderful Bernadette Koranteng and her artists. After this the woman got her camera phone out of her bag and actually took a picture of me (her phone made the shutter sound which she obviously was not counting on as she didn’t know what to do when I caught her), which I felt to be a complete invasion of my privacy and really infuriated me! I shot her a look that immediately gave the impression that I may dress like a lady but I may not behave like one if she continued to be so rude. She then loudly started to try and defend herself like it was an accident etc.

Anyway the fact is no matter how much you think you don’t care what other people think, some ignorant and hurtful person doing something like that at the wrong time can really get to a girl!

So the moral of the story is if you see a lady or gentleman dressed in away that you may deem different, weird, strange, unusual etc think before you act! You do not know them and should never judge someone for being different. Fair enough you might need to have a little look and that is fine and a normal human instinct however instead of laughing or looking them up and down simply smile and look away. Think how you would feel if that was you being openly mocked in public?

Not everyone is the same thank goodness! Variety is the spice of life, embrace creativity and unique style and admire those brave enough to be themselves no matter how outrageous!

Ok so finally now I have that off my chest here is a picture from the day in questionhh20

After the not so pleasant experience however Bernadette and her group made me feel and look like a million dollars! So a HUGE thanks to them 🙂

I will be back soon, hopefully on a much more positive note.

Hildy x

Times they are a-changin’

Hi guys and dolls,

well not a huge amount has happened on the performance and teaching side this week just some quite boring behind the scenes stuff which I shan’t bother you with!

However in other parts of my life there has been HUGE changes!

My boyfriend and I are in the process of purchasing our first home together and I have had to change jobs to be nearer to where we will be living. So I have had to leave behind all of my lovely friends in the Jarrow shop where I worked for a year and seven months which was sad, I didn’t really want to go!

They bought me these lovely flowers as well as some stationary (which I am obsessed with), some bubbly which will not stay un-corked for much longer and a very generous amazon gift card!! Could a girl ask for anything more??

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Also in the coming week I will again be sitting for the lovely Bernadette Koranteng and her group of artists, here is a little picture she sent me of myself posing rather straigh faced :-p

11080470_659688434158743_6878723310398994577_o Can’t wait!

Well until next time! Hildy xx