Pauline Mayers: culture is ours, how to use culture to reimagine what art is: performance at home brings the news…

‘We impact and influence people in ways we don’t realise’. Pauline Mayers

Take an ordinary girl and make her a

Darcy Bussell

Darcy bussell 1

Photo: Arthur Elgort

or a Pauline Mayers:


Pauline Mayers

Pauline Mayers 2

photo Lizzie Coombs

Darcy was a  principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, Pauline Mayers was trained at Ballet Rambert. Pauline has worked across the UK and internationally, last year bringing her autobiography ‘What if I told you’ to the West Yorkshire Playhouse. It’s a story that she tells with the audience so every performance is different. Tender loving care through performance.

This is something that all artists strive to do but we don’t communicate that well enough.

Darcy, too, recently, looks back on the career of Margot Fonteyn to find her own story in the story of the ballet dancer Margot Fonteyn.

In different ways the two dancers are seeking answers and truth and they want to share those truths. Darcy is an ambassador for the ability of the older woman dancer to continue a career and a journey in the arts for television audiences and her new company Diverse Dance Mix

Darcy with an audience


Pupils at Redmaids’ High School in Bristol enjoyed a taster of DDMIX in October with Darcy Bussell

Pauline, too, is passionate about challenging outdated notions of artists, communities and performance, shows and audience. Working with people as a choreographer, she shows groups of people how they can make original work about their lives, interests and aspirations.

And this is a new way of seeing a show: it’s a paid for way of bringing new work to new audiences. Pauline’s skilled and empathic approach to performance and dance  reinvents purpose for society as coming out of an almost innocent view of resources which gives the product to the audience.  I find  this very exciting!

Pauline runs contemporary choreography workshops where she’ll come into your group and enable you to begin your own projects: whether it’s a local history that touches other people much further afield or whether you want to feel more connected to movement, activity and expertise. Email:

Pauline is fascinated by science and creativity and cites Ryoji Ikeda’s 2014 Cern Project Ikeda works with the idea of translating data and information into light and then experiments with it as if he is a scientist. She believes that art/science collaboration and continuing communication is central to the life of towns, cities and villages.

It is this educated playfulness that Pauline creates: an emotional logic in her work that connects her audiences to the river of a long life well lived. Emotions aren’t the problem they’re part of the solution. Performance helps life become less  of a ‘problem’ to be solved.

In her work too,  Pauline is promoting a new way of seeing social mobility. Not the  Golden Ticket theory of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where one child is chosen to be the special one but a sense that we are all socially mobile, everybody has aspirations, a story and a purpose. Culture enables everyone to understand what art means to them, enables them to learn throughout their lives.

She challenges the idea of ‘success‘ and ‘arrival‘  and feels that performance should create a new handshake for new conversations with old friends and ever developing audiences:

‘I’ve come from a council estate… there is sometimes a negativity against success that somehow your success makes you different or other. Some performers bring their success with them, coming back and becoming  ambassadors…that’s always the way the apprenticeship system has worked but it wasn’t until I spoke about my work to a group of secondary school pupils and they asked me when I was going to publish my book that I understood how important we all are to each other….if I was Darcy Bussell…but I’m not, I’m Pauline Mayers…there are levels of success and presence.

What we need to understand is how alive we all are to each other and how much we can change things





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