‘If my parents could see me now were my thoughts while studying at the Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. I was working with some of the biggest names in Contemporary dance while going home to live on my Gypsy and Traveller site. The two worlds seemed unimaginably different. I am a passionate advocate for the Romani, Gypsy and Traveller Culture, not just because I am from that background and am proud of where I come from, but because the culture is so rich in many ways. My Gypsy, Roma and Traveller brothers and sisters may not sometimes hold a ‘traditional’ education, but their intelligence is unquestionable. ‘Gypsies are real people too’ is a quote I hold dear.
My aunt Jessie was a great inspiration in my early life. She was a Matriarch figure in our community with tremendous energy and full of enthusiasm, I could always confide in her for sound advice. She may have been small in stature but she was large in other ways. Growing up in a Gypsy, Roma and Traveller environment you are encouraged to take on an adult role from an early age, find your path and stand on your own two feet. It is important to have faith and belief in yourself. Sometimes things happen in life that can knock your confidence, always maintain hope in the power of the human psyche to overcome problems. If something in one area of your life is not working, it is probably not right for you at that moment, just look for another area.’
Born a Romani Gypsy, Isaac Blake is a professional choreographer and Artistic Director of the Romani Cultural and Arts Company, which is currently funded by the BBC Children in Need, Big Lottery, Cardiff City Council and Newport City Council. In 2000 he received a scholarship to attend a 3 year undergraduate Dance Theatre Course at Laban in London. While at LABAN, Isaac worked with numerous artists and companies including Adventures in Motions Pictures (AMP), DV8 and Rambert. Since graduating from LABAN, Isaac has furthered his studies in New York and has choreographed performances at the Wales Millennium Centre and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Utilising the skills as an Artistic Director Isaac Blake has raised the necessary funds to take arts development onto both Gypsy / Traveller sites and gadjo (non-Gypsy) communities across Wales. This project is close to his heart knowing how artistically barren these sites can be. But using arts Isaac has found a way to engage with children and young people.
Between The Lines is a dynamic art project in which each subject nominates the next subject based on the principles and ideals of the project.
Nominated by: Christine Lee
Nominated in turn: Considering.