Nominated by Joanna, Helen, Claire, Elaine, Sara P., partner Tony, Penny, and many colleagues!
Sara is a 53 year old mum, wife, community arts practitioner, choreographer, artistic director, yoga loving, part-time university lecturer, with a passion for gardening!
Sara started horse riding lessons on her 30th birthday, she’d wanted to ride for many years, and she found an immediate affinity for it – shortly after which she discovered that she was pregnant with Ella and Callum – and the riding had to stop.
2019 was going to be a big year for Sara. Her twins Callam and Ella were reaching their 18th birthdays and her other baby, her company, Bodies in Flight (with long standing collaborator Simon Jones) would celebrate 30 years of making and performing new works of art on the British Theatre scene. The company had received Arts Council England funding along with significant other commissions, to make a new piece of work with professional actors and a cast of older adults. Life Class was inspired by watching sequence dancers in Battersea Arts Centre and Sara spoke of ‘their sheer joy of dancing reminded me of why I love dancing’.
In December 2018 Sara discovered a lump and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer on Christmas Eve. The cancer spread to 8 lymph nodes, making it Stage 3. She began a course of chemotherapy treatment. Sara made the decision to continue making the show remotely via video from her bed through conversations with Simon. Creativity has been essential to Sara throughout her illness.
During this period, Sara’s father’s health deteriorated rapidly, and he sadly died. Throughout her husband, Tony, and the twins have been as amazing as her.
Sara has the determination and the sass of a cowgirl; the date for the show was between her fourth and fifth chemo, she decided to delay treatment for 2 weeks to get it through to performance – please follow this link for details of the show and what the performers say. The elderly members of the community speak so warmly about Sara. Her commitment to them is because she knows the importance of doing things whilst we can and with the people we love, and of marking events which celebrate what is healthy in us even if there is illness and pain.
We are Sara’s colleagues, working with her at the University of Central Lancashire in the north of England. Sara is positive, supportive and committed to the power of us working together as a team. But we want Sara to get something back for HER and for herself only. We want her to ride again. Yoga has always been her weekly companion and a huge love of hers, and her PhD was on the power of stillness. This retreat would allow her to take time for herself, reach forward into new possibilities and be inspired by the other astounding women taking part.