My Paragon Journey first started when I was 15. I was a young teenager who felt very isolated and didn’t want to take part in anything that was being offered to me at that time. However my mum wanted me to mix with young people my age and continued to offer me support and encouragement. She saw a poster on my former school wall advertising a Paragon project inviting disabled young people to dance with able bodied dancers to music composed by musical director Ninian Perry. This was a summer workshop, Monday – Friday and on the Friday there would be a performance. This was held at the Tramway Theatre, Glasgow. I love performing at all these venues in front of an audience as it makes me feel happy and I feel like a sense of achievement when I come of stage knowing that I have performed to the best of my ability.

I want to create the piece because I want to show other people the journey I have had with Paragon and I want to show them through dance, not just tell them verbally. I want to share this with an audience through dance because dance gave me a new way of expressing myself. Before I discovered dance I could only express myself verbally but sometimes it didn’t come across as being very nice. I felt frustrated that when I was trying to communicate how I was feeling it would come out wrong and I would end up taking the feet from underneath the person I was speaking to. Once dance came into my life I have been able to express my feelings through performing. For instance I was having trouble coming to terms with the breakdown of the relationship between me and my dad. I showed an essay called Incident with Dad to Ninian who suggested it might make the basis of a good piece. I was reluctant at first because I was worried about how people would react and if I would be able to cope with the subject matter. When I realised I had Ninian’s and my fellow dancer’s support I agreed to workshop the piece. It helped me because I was with people I trusted and I was able to share a difficult experience with them. Dance enabled me to express my feelings of frustration and anger in a way that I couldn’t verbally or through writing. During the workshop other dancers came forward to say that they had similar experiences of difficult relationships in their own families. It made me feel good that I wasn’t the only person that was experiencing this situation and it also made me realise that some people had moved on from their difficulties. It made me think that one day I will be able to move on too.

Now that dance is part of my life it has opened up so many doors for me, for instance I have performed at venues across Scotland, I have given talks at Universities, I have attended dance retreats and I have met creative, interesting  people  I would not have met if I wasn’t involved in dance. Overall dance has provided me with an anchor, it has given me a new form of expression and it has made me more engaged with the world around me.