The story behind Join The Circle - Part 1: Where on earth did the idea of JTC come from?!

When I first started running sessions I was singing full time as part of an acoustic duo. My weekends were completely dominated by gigs - weddings, garden parties, birthdays, corporate dos - sometimes gigging up to 3 times a day! I'd been doing bits of volunteering on and off - working for a local charity in Southend called HARP, which does fantastic work with the homeless community. But I found that I could never stick to anything substantial because I had to keep taking paid jobs to live!

My acoustic duo, Herbie Duo, playing weddings and events across the UK!

My acoustic duo, Herbie Duo, playing weddings and events across the UK!

I got in a bit of a spiral, caught between needing to earn money and feeling that I was being selfish in not making the time to volunteer. It was something I felt quite bad about.

I realise now that I was being quite hard on myself. I was just doing what I had to do to survive but at the time it felt like I was being selfish to persue the singing career I wanted as it meant I couldn't give anything back.

It was Rachel, my friend and manager at the care home I had previously worked in as an activity coordinator, that suggested the dance sessions. We were on a night out, there was wine, and we were putting the world to rights. "Why don't you run a few of those Circle Dance sessions? You can do them at Brambles, they'd love it. And you could charge!"

The next day, with a mild hangover and saw muscles from all the dancing that had followed that conversation, I began to mull over the idea of running dance sessions. The logistics, the overheads, possible problems. I realised that actually I had a lot of the vital components already - I had a car to get me to sessions, I had something to play music on, I knew roughly how much care homes would pay for a dance session and what times of the day would work for them... I just needed to actually put the sessions together.

I'd run out of reasons NOT to do it!

Next - Part Two: Circle Dancing isn't my idea. How I learnt about it and how I've made it better.