”Summer time, a period of contradiction between feeling bad about doing nothing, and feeling bad about doing too much.
As a former dancer, those periods of doing nothing are often very confusing. The younger version of myself always found a way to participate in some kind of workshops or summer intensives despite not having much money. My parents couldn’t afford it, so I always had to find either a scholarship, funding from a private donor (which in southern Europe is easier than in Finland) or simply work. I actually worked in the summers as soon as I turned 16 (legal age to work in France). Guess what my job was: cleaning toilets and changing sheets (on top on washing them). Nothing degrading about it, I joke about it all the time, but this seriously gave me the time to get a cute package to use whenever I needed it: audition time, workshops, summer intensives… there you go. So get your hands dirty if you ain’t got the household behind you.
Yet, the older you get, the more you feel like doing something different during your summer time and especially if your works were lined up throughout the season. Well, there are a few alternatives which you should, consider:
Find a job with artists you wouldn’t usually get the chance to work.
That’s where company members often get restricted, whether your former company does not allow you, or whether you think it will not give you the time to recover. True fact is that your body will recover as soon as you do something different from your daily routine: ballet, work on a contemporary piece; modern dance, work on a theatre/conceptual based piece… And so forth. There is a true misconception which often carries the image of fully stopping any kind of activity in order to get a proper recovery: well that’s just booger, you’re hurting your body instead. Yet working on something else will first of all challenge you mentally, therefore renew your interest, reshape your creativity, but also give your muscles a break from the way they are used throughout the year, and minimise the risks of getting injured when you get back to work.
Go for something you would have never done, get out of your comfort zone.
Now, some of us do not have the financial ressources to take a holiday, as in H.O.L.I.D.A.Y., not the one week thingy which leaves you penny-less, ready to save for another 11,5 months.
Instead, know that everywhere in the world, there are places ready to welcome you for seasonal work which will pay for your food, your housing (and sometimes your trip), and you will get the chance to be on the other side of the world. I won’t quote any one since that post wasn’t sponsored (HAHA), but you can even get 1 week work with some organisms and repeat it throughout the summer… How cool is that? Go work on the French Riviera, the Canary Islands, Bali, Finland!
Ok, now I hear the ’when do I rest’? Well, most of those summer jobs will actually need you awake and ready to go for about 5-6 hours of your day, in the mornings and or evenings (tourist season, everybody sleeps in the afternoon). And unless you are a farniente type of holiday-er, trust me, it will me an experience you will remember forever and might even take you on a road you would have never expected!
That said, it can remain in the artistic field. A former teacher of mine used to become a producer during the summer, he was touring with the big production companies for festivals, concerts, private events… And that it is freaking amazing as well: discovering new people, getting to know other people’s job, and most of all, gaining awareness on the rest of the artistic world you live in (side note: this one really will open new doors as for when you want to retire if you see what I mean).
Organise your own project.
This one is slightly harder as you will require funding (unless you work with people willing to do free work, based on education of artistic project). However, you will find that the summer is a plentiful platform for creativity. The first reason is that many youngsters are on holidays, and whether they are getting bored, or their parents want them out of the house, you will get the chance to work with passionate, active and resourceful creative minds.
You can also try and get your own festival performances which is hell of hard, yet once you have squeezed in one, you will see that a few others come along the way.
There is a thousand other ways to spend your summer, really, trust in the fact that you will get back to work even more passionate and ready to tackle the coming season after doing something completely different.
Now let’s address the financial aspect of being on a lay-off from your company. A thing that no one ever explained to me, for a really long time, though my former colleagues were benefiting from it: you can get unemployment money. Ok, I have come across people who were very scornful about the idea of getting unemployment benefits. Whether it was because they were getting their summer compensation from their former employer, or just because they thought it would make them better not to get back a part of the taxes they pay anyway. Well, there is no shame in such, it will actually allow you to take off on an other experience, even if you don’t have any financial issue, if you don’t need it, save it for later, or give part of it to a local artistic project you’d like to help.
As a freelancer it is a bit harder to get such depending on where you find yourself living at the moment, some states will just not give you money on the basis that you are an entrepreneur (not pointing at any country – FINLAND). Well, tough sh*t, but then you need to figure out how to make it work for you and remain financially safe if you haven’t found any paid work, whether you think about teaching, performing or closing down your company. Know that your network will always be ready to support you (at least I am here to support you), and if really you can’t find a way to make it, then re-read those words higher in the text, and go for something else, what do you have to lose anyway? Nothing, you will just get richer from another experience.
As a side note, I just would like to add that I feel those charging at me saying that holiday is needed for your body to recover by doing nothing, staying inactive, enjoying doing nothing. Well, part of it is true, perhaps for a few days at least, definitely. But it depends how every single one of us works, scientifically and spiritually speaking though, going for something else is the most nurturing experience for your body and mind to recover once again, but I don’t hold the heavenly truth, I am neither a doctor, nor a priest (but maybe some kind of shaman who knows). It is all a matter of finding balance, get a holiday, get good rest, sleep and eat what’s necessary, but remember that your body wants to remain ready to fly again.”
With all my love,
Blogi ja nettisivut: www.thibaultmonnier.com