Superbia Spotlights: The Mindfulness and Tranquillity of Lockdown Experience

We speak to Finley Letchford-Dobbs; creator of 'Seize & Hold'...

Superbia is Manchester Pride’s year-round programme of arts and culture, designed to support, curate, fund and promote LGBTQ+ events throughout Greater Manchester.

As one of the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ charities, it campaigns for LGBTQ+ equality, celebrates LGBTQ+ life and creates opportunities that engage LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester so that they can thrive.

Superbia supports LGBTQ+ artists by promoting events through its events page and social media, funds LGBTQ+ events with Superbia Grants and by curating original events through collaboration with partners, venues, groups, curators, community members, artists and creatives.

Manchester’s Finest is delighted to collaborate with Superbia on this new series, Superbia Spotlights. For the next ten weeks, we will shine a light on some of the incredible Superbia-supported arts and culture talent across Greater Manchester.

Earlier this year, Superbia brought together five LGBTQ+ dancers to create a new work about their relationship with dance. The resulting show, ’Nobody’s Watching’, premiered at at Hope Mill Theatre to an incredible reception.

For the first in this exciting series, Finley Letchford-Dobbs – one of the five Nobody’s Watching creators – presents a brand new piece of work commissioned by Superbia, ‘Seize & Hold’. In conversation with Superbia Project Manager Greg Thorpe, Finley, 24, talks us through the creative process behind ‘Seize & Hold’, the importance of staying connected with friends during lockdown, and why dance means so much to him.

Finley Letchford-Dobbs

I’m originally from Hull, now living in and around Manchester in a canal boat. I work as a promoter and door host in Manchester’s Gay Village, alongside my dance practice. I’ve been spending lockdown on my canal boat which is currently moored in Dunham Massey near Altrincham, with my partner.

I perform contemporary, commercial, tap, ballet and jazz/musical theatre, but my favourites have to be contemporary and tap. I just love the way it makes me feel.

I can share my stories, experiences and release my emotions in a powerful, creative way and let my body and performance do the talking where often my confidence and words fail me.

My advice for the LGBTQ+ community during lockdown is to be creative. We’re all having mixed feelings and finding a way to configure and express them creatively has really helped my mental health and being productive has helped me find positives in a bad situation.

I’d also like to say it’s important to support and check up on members of your community. A lot of us don’t have an easy ride as it is, we struggle with mental health and often staying home is the last thing someone may want to do because, for whatever reason, it’s not safe or they are not comfortable in being themselves there. Stay connected with friends and others who are vulnerable whether that be a message or video call.

This new piece of work I have created for Superbia Spotlights is called ‘Seize and Hold’. The work aims to show the mindfulness and tranquillity of my lockdown experience and my environment because of the focus and time it’s given me to work on my dance ability and to indulge in dance.

But also jolting into moments of anxiety due to the uncertainty of the situation, the lack of financial security and feelings of being lost or without aim or purpose.

‘Seize & Hold’ by Finley Letchford-Dobbs

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The collaboration has been made possible with thanks to the Arts Council England Emergency Response Funding, from whom Superbia has received a grant. Almost 90% of which is made up of funding from The National Lottery through National Lottery players.

Through this funding, Superbia will support artists in the creation of work to connect communities during this period of isolation.

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