There are few people who have made such a significant mark on a city’s art scene than Alexandra Hare.
The dance manager for Leisure and Culture Dundee has played a fundamental role in shaping the art form and defining its role within the city, for the past 12 years.
There was never any question about the career path that she was going to follow, having been inspired to slip on her dancing shoes by her late grandfather who performed as a dame.
As a student, the 36-year-old attended the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, which kick-started her working life.
“I’ve always wanted a career in the arts, but I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going to end up within that profession. Being in a theatre is such a positive experience and allows for a total release of yourself,” Alexandra said.
She hadn’t planned on returning to her hometown but a “pit-stop” after completing her studies soon turned into a permanent stay.
“I got a feel for community engagement.
“Assisting in the development of people, of all ages, and seeing what they get from dancing is absolutely what I love doing. Once I started in this role it was contagious so I just wanted to do more and more of it.
“The development in this city, especially in the arts sector, is phenomenal. Dundee is my home but I’m also fortunate that I get to do my career here.
“It is a city full of varying art forms and I feel dance is very well represented, I love being a part of it’s development and growth.”
Before joining the Leisure and Culture Dundee team, Alexandra had spent three years working as a dance development officer for local charity, Showcase the Street.
She now leads the Urban Moves dance programme, which provides dance sessions for primary and secondary aged pupils around the city.
“I could be doing a wide variety of tasks on any given day at work, from ensuring classes are manned, to dealing with parent queries,” she said.
“I have to be reactive to daily dance class session priorities and changes but also look at moving forward; developing dance and potential projects where were can engage with more people and get the word out that it is a brilliant activity.”
For Alexandra, there are no limits to what dance can do for an individual – and it is exactly for this reason that she has been in the job for so many years.
“The skills dancing gives you are so important; spatial awareness, coordination, resilience and fun, confidence and self-esteem. Dance can help entice your personality and character out of you.
“And, in this day and age, it’s needed even more so because it is incredibly beneficial for your mental wellbeing.”
But Alexandra is keen to stress that her team of coaches are essential in ensuring the success of the ever popular dance programme.
“I have a fantastic team of coaches; they’re my bread and butter.
“We notice in some of the physical activities that we run that transience is a thing but I have a really robust team
“For so many of them to stay on a part-time basis speaks volumes, that they love what they do.
“And I also have to give thanks to our students and parents/guardians from past and present, as without their enthusiasm and commitment to us there wouldn’t be Urban Moves.”