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!

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Hildy Harland as Marie Lloyd: My Music Hall Debut

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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.

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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!

Alphabetti: an amazing night of experimental theatre

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This really isn’t a review as such but I just wanted to mention how excited I was to finally hit this venue last night to see some new work by North East Artists.

I have been a very busy bee of late, starting up my new blog Dance Culture North East and am really making a big push to get to know lots of venues and people on the theatre scene in Newcastle Upon Tyne/Gateshead where I live and the rest of the North East.

I have been hearing great things since this small new theatre popped up in the basement of an old building just off Blackett Street in Central Newcastle and I thought “oow I must go there”. However through my own busy-ness/laziness I never did manage to make it to the original Alphabetti Theatre Venue, Unfortunately/Fortunately I don’t know which they would prefer me to say, the building within which they were housed was marked for demolition and knocked down along with the tearing down of the old Odeon (don’t get me started I still feel very sad about that). With much hard work and determination I’m sure, Alphabetti picked itself up, brushed itself off and found an amazing venue on ST James Boulevard close to a few other cool venues (Tyne Opera Theatre, Boulevards and Dance City) Is this area set to be our new place for a community of theatre venues in Newcastle? Maybe it could be?

Anyway I had heard about the new venue and had been watching the progress with bated breath on Facebook and Instagram, until finally this Autumn the doors opened and I attended my very first performance of ‘Write Faster’ which was definitely worth the wait.

 

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(Above: The georgous Rex resident pooch at Alphabetti helping out)

Write Faster is a concept devised by Alphabetti Theatre’s Founder Ali Pritchard and Richard Stockwell. It involves 3 writers, 3 actors, a typewriter, pens, paper a laptop and a whole lot of hilarity in this particular case. The writers basically have to write a play on the night of the play, As I walked in the three writers were already heavily in the swing of writing the first act and you could sit and watch them writing on the laptop screen which was projected onto the wall. Once the first act was written the performers came in and performed it (script in hand and amazingly well under the circumstances) and as they performed the second and third act were written, after what I think was the third act there was a short interval and the ends were tied up with a monologue for each character/performer. The performances were superb and the writing was completely engaging too somehow even though nobody really knew what was going on until it was happening it gelled together well and gave the audience a fantastic night of giggles mystery and crime!

So a huge thumbs up to Alphabetti Theatre and no doubt as they make superb vegan sweet treats and the café/bar is open during the day too, I shall be back for theatre and probably cake and coffee as well.

Hildy x

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.

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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.

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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.

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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