“Where there is a will there’s a way”
Mike King; FRONTLINEdance co-founder and performer.
We asked Mike to share his FRONTLINEdance journey with us and what he did next.
Here it is!
I had a passion for movement that hadn’t been realised in my late teens or early 20’s, wherever I was on the planet I always found myself drifting towards the dance floor. A near death experience in my mid 20’s forced me to re-evaluate my life and realise that you only get one chance so don’t waste it…
I met Rachael on a Candoco Dance workshop and we discussed the idea of creating an inclusive dynamic dance company based further North in the country. Sharing a desire to dance, no money and a mutual sense of humour we decided to create a dance performance from scratch. Begging free rehearsal space – thanks to Bretton Hall College, Wakefield/ Greentop Community Circus, Sheffield/ Candoco, Stanmore. Along the way Rachael diligently completed the relevant paperwork whilst working as a live-in carer with a spinal cord agency, that meant a formal company could be established. Meanwhile I trained to be a primary teacher.
We worked for a number of years in the Midlands, however I still had itchy feet (metaphorically – as I can’t actually feel anything below my knees) and I was given the chance to train with Graeae Theatre. That led to some acting work, which then lead onto teaching Drama in Secondary Schools. Which then morphed into some directing, then back to some dancing with Scottish Dance Theatre and eventually back to teaching. I’m now in my 20th Year of Teaching and am Head of Department at a Secondary School in Kent.
The attitude that Rachael and I started with remains strong where there is a will you can find a way.
In terms of perspective, it’s important to remember that we are all still on a journey.
Inclusion still isn’t a given – 25 Years after the Disability Discrimination Act – we are sitting on the shoulders of giants, but the campaign is not yet over – I recently had to fight for a ramp and a door handle despite being an employee for 10 years. Frontline is a positive advocate for all people at any stage in their life, embracing new and exciting ways of approaching creative movement whilst remaining true to its core values. By consistently opening people’s hearts and minds, wider society is able to appreciate the true wonders that everyone on the planet has to offer, and plus those involved get to bust some moves.
Long may Frontline continue to do so!