September/October 2020 
The COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 and subsequent period Lockdown has hit the Arts hard and Freelance Artists of all creative disciplines have seen their entire livelihoods and hard work disappear in a matter of weeks, regardless of their previous body of work and evidenced professional accomplishments.

Many of these artists do not qualify for any government furlough scheme currently available, and as a result have already had to move on with their lives and find new jobs in other industries.

I am in support of all social media campaigns, news articles and efforts to raise awareness for this issue, but as a salaried dance artist receiving furlough pay, I am now looking to take this support one step further by finding a way to directly support my fellow artists and do something in my own way to bring attention to this issue.
The Fund Freelance Dance Initiative aims to provide the freelance Dance community and its ancillary services with an opportunity to receive paid work and will seek to establish an exciting new style of creative engagement.
By evolving and exploring new ways of working, this project will give its public supporters and subsequent audience the chance to shape the freelance dance scene that they want to see kept alive by using a new crowdfunding model.
As the Freelance Dance community and services continues to shrink in number as a result of the pandemic, this innovative project will aim to become a regular series across several cities and create:
1. An opportunity to return each Freelance Artist involved to their craft post COVID
2. Find new and innovative ways of working and contributing creatively in the studio setting.
 3. Access to the highest professional standard of hybrid ballet class, pianist accompaniment, dance photography and dance facilities for those dancers involved to then take part in a meaningful creative process using emerging technologies.
The Project
The Fund Freelance Dance Initiative will engage 8 Freelance Dancers, 4 Freelance Ballet/Contemporary Teachers, up to 4 Freelance class Pianists, a Freelance Composer, Up to 4 Freelance Dance Photographers, and receive an already agreed supported studio theatre hire rate at the Lanterns Studio Theatre, London, with non-contract venue staff receiving a standard pay rate.
After the initial funding round, the recruitment process will seek to fill these roles and engage a group of carefully selected artists for 4 session dates consisting of Class and Creative sessions, culminating in a short mobile film, shot on the final date at the same location.
The session dates are 27th September 4th October 11th October and 18th October 2020.
Those who choose to give support for this project are directly supporting the freelance dance community and will receive a regularly updated stream of social media posts and news on the progress of the project, including several Facebook/Instagram live casts and even a dancer led Instagram take over to ensure we are all getting the real version of how the initiative is progressing and evolving as we go.
The resulting Mobile Dance Film will then be shared across every media platform that will host the achieved creative work, but also provide context to its viewership and help raise awareness for what the Fund Freelance Dance Initiative is aiming to achieve.
Contracted/furloughed artists like myself, can also get involved, but will not be receiving a fee as part of the project – Instead using this as a creative opportunity to make new connections and to help sustain and support a healthy creative conversation via dance

8 Freelance Dance Artists – 8 x £150 per day x 4 = £4,800
The backbone of the project, 8 Freelance Dancers will be selected by CV and interview to take part in the unique experience that this 4-day project has to offer. Each dancer will be provided with a professional standard of class, a personally tailored creative process and culminating in a Dance Film Shot on Mobile by Choreographer, Filmmaker and Project Founder Jamiel Laurence.
Freelance Ballet Teacher - £75 x 4 = £300
Class each morning is how a dancer prepares physically, mentally and artistically for the rehearsal and performance day ahead. It is a vital part of a healthy dance artists movement “diet” whether freelance or employed by a company, and providing the dancers of this project with this essential service to their practice will form a key part of the project ethos of keeping freelance dance artists dancing, engaged and paid during these uncertain times.
Four different freelance and independent Ballet Teachers will be engaged for a 75 minute class at the beginning of each rehearsal date, and will provide the dancers with a trained eye on technique as well as support; Preparing the dancers for the creation process that will follow.
Freelance Pianist - £75 x 4 = £300
A pianist for class is a professional dance class staple that this project will ensure is maintained on all four project dates. A Ballet pianist provides unmatched accompaniment and support to the artists taking the class and awakens and engages a dancers physical response to movement beyond that of a recording.
The choice to keep live music in the studio will ensure that freelance class pianists are not left behind as part of the project aim of keeping freelance dance and its associated ecosystems alive during difficult times.
Freelance Dance Photographer – £60 x 4 = £240
Dance photography is an essential part of the studio, rehearsal and performance process in the field of classical & contemporary dance, and without freelance dance photographers we would not have all of the imagery and moments captured in dance that adorn our favourite dance magazines, programmes and literature.
An established or emerging freelance dance photographer will be brought on board to capture still images during all four of the rehearsal days and shoot.
The photographer we engage will benefit from access to the dancers during this unique creation process, will have use of the mutually selected images for their own portfolio, with the option to market the images to press. We will seek to have the photographer’s images used for all paid press imagery associated with the project.
The chosen photographer will be invited to experiment and collaborate directly with dancers to explore and achieve new and exciting perspectives on capturing dance.
Freelance Musician & Composer - £300
A freelance Composer & Musician will be sought to create a new and unique sound for the produced dance work and will play an active role in the creative process by attending rehearsals and engaging with the choreographer and dancers throughout the process. The final track will be between 5 – 10 minutes in length and will seek to find a new sound that is specific to this initiative and its aims and objectives.
Costume, Lighting and Design - £300
As the first outing for the experimental Fund Freelance Dance initiative, a minimal fund will be set aside to provide lighting, costuming and a design language to the final mobile film produced as a result of the project.
Venue - Sponsored rate & Staffing = £980
Where we dance often has an effect on How we dance, and so for this project we are seeking to provide all of the artists involved with a clean, professional and creatively stimulating environment in which to create unique work, a memorable experience and produce a final dance short that could not have been made in any other location.
The Lanterns Studio Theatre, London, will provide the dancers and other artists of the project with a large COVID safe rehearsal and performance space, with over 17m x 17m of harlequin sprung dance floor, changing facilities, access to Green Room Kitchen facilities and a one of a kind large scale studio theatre space. Each dancer will take class in their own space with a full-size free-standing barre each while being accompanied by a freelance ballet pianist playing a Yamaha CIII Concert Grand Piano, kindly donated by Elton John and Yamaha Europe.
Choreographer & Filmmaker
Jamiel Laurence is an award-winning independent choreographer and mobile filmmaker based in Glasgow, U.K. , and currently furloughed professional dancer.
Wanting to do something to help the wider freelance community and as the founder of the project, Jamiel will not be taking a fee for this initiative, but instead is using this opportunity to work with new dancers and through his film raise awareness for why freelance artists play such an essential role in the wider dance community.
The Choreographer & Mobile Filmmaker will be providing the creative sessions for the project; experimenting with several choreographic devices to generate material and collaborating closely with the dancers to create work that is unique to the individuals taking part in the project.
As Manager of the project, Jamiel will be responsible for arranging the various moving parts involved in building the project up from its foundations, making artist selections and see his idea all the way to achieving its end goal of creating a paid freelance engagement for dancers and secondary dance support artists during this period of uncertainty for the wider freelance community.