Posted: Wed 5th Oct 2011
"My granny used to teach home economics and throughout my childhood we always remade and rehashed things from scratch," Rosie Heafford reveals. "So Second Hand Dance is about my philosophy of remaking dance and retailoring it for the individual." The 23-year-old dancer and choreographer graduated from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Deptford in 2009 and has since combined freelance work for arts organisations with running her own company and community classes in her home town of Epsom. "The company I run is split in two," she explains. "I run intergenerational and adult dance classes as well as developing artistic work with professional dancers. I make place-specific dance - for example, I took over an empty shop in Dorking and put on performances for six weeks, and I've worked in Bourne Hall Library in Epsom as well. "The Â£500 from Fund101 is for marketing my classes locally. I'd like printed material and leaflets, and I want to be able to put up big banners in the town and outside the venues to be a bit more visible, too." Going freelance was more or less inevitable for the novice business-owner, but actually turning her work into a business has required a step up from working as a contracted teacher/choreographer. "In my line of work you need to make your own business," Rosie stresses. "You go for the funding, get freelance contracts and you make your own way. I've been running classes since 2010 and people started asking me to do other things. The artistic side grew as well, so I thought it would be good to name it so that people can recognise me." "I then went on a week-long course on setting up and developing a creative business run by CIDA (the Cultural Industries Development Agency) in Tower Hamlets and that was really good." Though she doesn't come from entrepreneurial roots, there may well be something in the Heafford family genes - Rosie's older sister is a past winner of a high-profile small business award from Barclays Bank. "Something I'm looking for lately, though, is a mentor to help me understand the different avenues that are available locally. Local knowledge is really valuable and it can be difficult to find out about these things." Any offers?
"It was quite hard," she laughs. "I used Facebook and Twitter mainly, and then went through the different organisations I work for. Friends' companies, too, and I sent emails. It was pestering people really! But asking people for votes gives you a reason to talk to people about your business. It's an opportunity to profile yourself."
"I'd like to build up the classes," Rosie says emphatically. "But also to build up the artistic side as well. I've got a lot of support through Surrey County Arts and we've started the Surrey Dance Collective to be a support for each other. I'd like the name of Second Hand Dance to be known more widely and to build it so I don't have to work part-time and it can be my full-time job."