2019 is our 50th anniversary and we are championing some of the people who help make Scottish Ballet a great place to work. Each week we will introduce you to a different career at Scottish Ballet and the person behind it.
Catherine Cassidy’s journey started with Scottish Ballet in 2010 following a career as a contemporary dancer, choreographer and director. She now works closely with our CEO and Artistic Director Christopher Hampson to grow Scottish Ballet's Engagement programmes and align them with our company values.
We caught up with Catherine to find out more about her journey and why she loves being involved in pioneering projects with Dance Health.
Tell us about your journey with the company
I joined Scottish Ballet in May 2010. Originally, I trained as a contemporary dancer; choreography was my passion. Following graduation, I started my own dance company which was funded by the Arts Council of England and the Scottish Arts Council. During that period, I developed many of the skills I use today. A large part of my role requires me to support the Engagement management team as they develop and deliver major projects such as Scottish Ballet’s Youth Exchange programme, Safe to be Me and our Scottish Ballet Health programme. I enjoy working with our partnering organisations both nationally and internationally and communicating Scottish Ballet’s vision and values at conferences and events.
Scottish Ballet recently announced a new pioneering programme for people living with Multiple Sclerosis, can you tell us more about how this is developing?
We are excited to be broadening our Dance Health programme, inviting people to benefit from the power of dance, through specialist classes delivered by our Engagement Team and collaborating with a range of arts and medical specialists from The University of Florida Center for Arts and Medicine and Georgetown University Medical Center, MS Society Scotland and MS Revive.
As with all our Dance Health activity, classes will be delivered by specialist dance artists and musicians in the Scottish Ballet studios at Tramway.
Can you tell us more about the 'Safe to be Me' initiative?
The initiative uses dance to tackle topics such as racism, homophobia, bigotry, ableism and transphobia. Delivered in line with the key Scottish Government targets to address these areas, the project engages with Primary 6 pupils to explore themes that include identity, tolerance, acceptance, respect, ethnic and family diversity and LGBTQ communities.
Pupils are initially introduced to these themes by our qualified team in the weeks leading up to watching a performance, which is choreographed by Scottish Ballet’s Engagement Creative Director. Working with Scotland’s most experienced dance and music practitioners, the pupils then take part in a full-day workshop where they have the opportunity to create their own ‘Safe to Be Me’ performance; supporting them to be comfortable with who they are.