Dance Performance & Teaching graduate Rachel Aldred tells us about her experience
BA (Hons) Dance Performance and Teaching, 2016
UCLan Dance Performance and Teaching graduate, Rachel Aldred, has reaped the opportunities from her degree to become a Performing Arts and Music Teacher in the Middle East.
Initially, Rachel wanted to develop her dance technique in the contemporary field and use the degree to help her become a performing artist. However, she found that the course opened doors to further opportunities and networks in performance and teaching.
Following graduation in 2016, Rachel auditioned for jobs, which enabled her to perform at many dance events around the UK. She then began freelance teaching, which included dance lessons for toddlers through to the elderly and after school clubs. Rachel was then successful in achieving an international dance teaching job for a British company in Portugal over a summer season and then in Greece the following summer.
Between her seasonal work, Rachel completed a PGCE in Further Education exploring teaching practices in Dance and Performing Arts. This led her to obtaining her current job in Dubai, which was her first full-time role.
At present, Rachel works as a Performing Arts and Music Teacher at Mirdif American School in Dubai. Her role includes teaching performing arts to lower primary students with a focus on integrating other core subjects into the curriculum, such as Science and English. She also teaches music with a focus on movement exploration using different dance styles. Additionally, Rachel leads extra-curricular activities such as a ballet club and a cheerleading team, who perform at many national holiday celebrations in the United Arab Emirates.
Looking back on her time at University, Rachel expressed: “UCLan will always hold special memories for me as a student and for progressing as a dance artist. From the genuine care and support from the lecturers to the sincere friendships of classmates. I always loved technique and fitness classes, which were offered in a supportive and comfortable environment. External artists who visited were also helpful to gain dance industry advice and perspectives from. I was very grateful to experience the opportunity of working with film and production students in creating a music video in Marrakech, which is an experience I will never forget.”
Rachel further added: “My whole experience at UCLan prepared me for further studies on a PGCE course. The Dance Performance and Teaching course enabled me to gain the required hours of placement within schools to apply for further study and familiarise with the challenges and rewards of being a teacher. The dance content also allowed me to keep up to date with current professional practice and performance professionals and utilise this with theory-based lessons whilst teaching. Furthermore, the hidden skills of being a university student have helped tremendously with life skills required to lead a career.”
When asked what advice she would give to graduates wanting to pursue a similar career, Rachel said: “See every opportunity as an opportunity, for networking, assisting or learning one thing about yourself. Trial new roles in order to figure out your path.”