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INTRODUCING: Lexy Garner - Company Apprentice

Hi Ascension Followers,

I’m Lexy and I have been working with Ascension Dance (Ben and AJ) for the past nine months as a company apprentice, regularly supporting the delivery of the girl’s dance youth workshops, Rise and Soar, as well as two after school clubs based in Primary School’s across Coventry. I have also been in the studio with Ascension during a week of research and development for their outdoor performance project, The Other Side.

Working predominantly with Ascension Youth has been a great learning curve and steppingstone to post graduate life as teaching will be something I continue throughout my career. Supporting AJ with Rise and Soar throughout my final year of university has encouraged me to prematurely switch mind frame from a student to professional artist; I have had to become more articulate about my dance practice to support the girls and find my own interests and identity within teaching. As part of this role, I have been responsible for choreographing material and occasionally leading some of the groups with warm ups, conditioning, cardio and technique and further supporting these sessions when they continued online.

Having AJ as a mentor and observing Ascension’s teaching methods has encouraged me to consider the benefits of community work, how to become a more accomplished leader and bring something of my own into the studio. Each session supports the importance of our participants as individuals and as a unity, prioritising their personal development and enjoyment as well as being a part of the family; this always creates a welcoming atmosphere for everyone to thrive in. The youth groups are incredible and it’s a real pleasure to be with them week in week out, watching their progression in dance. I think a lot of this is owed to Ben and AJ, they absolutely smash the work they do, and I think this is reflected by each youth group. For the future, I hope that with more mentoring I will continue to become more capable and confident with leading the youth groups, therefore giving the Ascension directors a rare and well-deserved (but short) break!

Likewise as an opportunity more in line with my post-graduate aspirations, being invited to be apart of the R&D and work in a professional environment was an encouraging insight into professional choreography, applying for funding, performing to potential funders and working as a professional dancer. I was super grateful to have this opportunity and work with Ascension in all its capacity and in all that they do. Again, this was a really supportive process for post-student life as I was able to look into all of the important sectors that make up a dance company like Ascension. Working with like-minded artists was exactly what I needed at this stage in my training and gave me the opportunity to network, be a part of a professional process and be worked hard. By no surprise, Ben and AJ carried the same fun ethos that makes the youth groups so enjoyable throughout this R&D process too, which makes me a lot more excited and a little less nervous for about career of a freelance dancer, especially if it is alongside Ascension.

As a newbie to the company, Ben and AJ have been really great at going above and beyond by offering extra opportunities and support for my personal development, setting me up for post-graduate life. They have a great team growing and it is clear to see how valued they are by all of the youngsters and surrounding supporters!

Working for Ascension is that much fun that it doesn’t ever feel like work! I look forward to seeing what my future holds with Ascension Dance Company…

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