hit ENTER TO SEARCH
May 2021
6 MIN READ

CEO Ginny Brown on wellbeing

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. We’ve spoken to our CEO Ginny Brown to find out how she incorporates good mental health and wellbeing into her work with the Society.

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, and to celebrate the publication of our new Wellbeing issue of Dance Magazine, we’ve spoken to our CEO Ginny Brown to find out how she incorporates good mental health and wellbeing into her life and work.


What does a (working) day in the life of Ginny Brown look like?

At the moment, the Society continues to follow Government guidance by working from home. So, I like to start my day with some yoga to get my body moving before a long day of sitting at my computer.  Every working day is different, but the week starts with a Leadership Team meeting where we discuss plans for the coming week and issues that need to be resolved.   Most days I then have a series of project meetings which focus on new plans in development. When possible, I try to keep the afternoons free to take forward actions from the morning’s meetings and to keep abreast of new developments in the arts and education.

How do you incorporate wellness into your day? 

Whilst working from home, I think it is particularly important to have a clear divide between work time and family life. I must admit that I’m not very good at taking a proper break at lunchtime (although I know that is important!) but I finish my working day with a walk. I find getting some exercise and fresh air really helps me unwind and leave the challenges of the working day behind.

What are three things that you do to look after your general wellbeing, or that you find beneficial to your wellbeing? 

I really enjoy yoga and have been attending the same weekly class now for years.  I also love getting out in nature by going for long walks in the countryside at the weekend. I’m fortunate to live on the outskirts of London so have fairly easy access to the beautiful Surrey Hills.

But the thing that has had the greatest impact on my ability to cope with the stresses and strains of leading an organisation (particularly through a pandemic) is mindfulness practice. This is a form of mediation that draws on a combination of ancient Buddhist knowledge and modern psychology. I first learnt mindfulness through a structured 8-week course and have done several follow-on courses which have been immensely supportive. Strange as it may sound (given that mindfulness is essentially meditation) but one of the joys of practicing mindfulness has been connecting with a group of likeminded people, who all come from completely different walks of life.

How important and why is good mental health and wellbeing for Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing staff, and what is in place to ensure this?

I hope it goes without saying that staff wellbeing is our number one priority at the Society. Without our staff we are unable to deliver our services and we are very aware of the impact that the last year has had on everyone. Whether we have too many people at home, or too few, working and living in the same space has been challenging for many of us. And I’m sure we all miss the camaraderie of working together in the office.

We support staff welfare in several ways. The Society offers a free, confidential helpline and the support of our HR Business Partner. We also have brilliant staff Social Committee which has helped keep moral up with regular social events (like online quizzes) and free online monthly yoga and mindfulness sessions. Keeping everyone connected whilst working remotely is essential, so we also produce a bi-weekly staff newsletter packed with updates and wellbeing tips and we host a monthly all staff meeting, where staff are encouraged to contribute news and updates from their departments.


You used to be a dance teacher. Do you have any advice on how teachers can look after their mental health and wellbeing in their practice?

Many of our members work alone, or are responsible for other teachers in their schools, so I’m conscious that they may not have the network of support that employees of larger companies enjoy.  So, connecting with the broader dance community is an essential source of support.

At the Society we provide this network through regular member meetings, talks and CPD courses and regular updates (many of which are a free member-benefits). I hope this has helped our members to feel supported and connected during an incredibly challenging year.

And I’m sure that as teachers return to teaching in the studio, seeing their students light up with the joy of dancing will make all the struggles of the last year feel worthwhile.

My advice to dance teachers is the same as for our staff – pace yourself, because unfortunately this pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint!

Ginny enjoying a walk in the fresh air in local woodland

Related News

View all

Our new brand and vision for the future

We shared our new vision for the future in an exciting ceremony at Milton Court, London

Learn More

Digital dance

Latin American Faculty committee member Richard Still reflects on dance going digital during lockdown

Learn More

Live dance during summer lockdown

Gemma Davis shares her experiences of dance rehearsals via Zoom and performing in an outdoor pantomime

Learn More

Port de bras faculty surgery

Imperial Classical Ballet faculty committee member Ben Tribe looks back on one of our many online surgeries through the lens of the lecturer

Learn More

Ballet goes digital

Registered teacher Jamie Lee Mason looks at how online teaching enabled students to improve and develop in an entirely new way

Learn More

Lecturing online

Tap Faculty committee member Helen Green enjoyed connecting online with happy teachers from Italy, Ireland, South Africa and the UK

Learn More

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion

A statement from our Chief Executive Ginny Brown

Learn More

Journalism Matters

Journalism Matters week runs to 11 October. This year the focus is on the vital importance of trusted news media journalism during the Coronavirus pandemic

Learn More

Reimagining dance

Juliet Diener, Founder and CEO of icandance shares their process for developing inclusive dance practice online

Learn More

The Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists 2020

The Queen’s Birthday Honours Lists 2020 recognise the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom.

Learn More

Q&A: Tarisha Rommick

We speak to Dancer, Singer and Performer Tarisha Rommick about her journey from young dancer to Musical Theatre performer

Learn More

Online Teaching & Remote Exams Providing Inspiration to Students

We’ve heard about some inspiring stories from teachers who have been working with students across the world to keep dancing online and take exams

Learn More

Diversity and equality in arts education

Registered teacher Katie Levett gives her perspective from The Deborah Day Theatre School Trust on diverse training environments

Learn More

We're making changes to membership

A new year brings with it some changes to your Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing membership

Learn More

Life as a female leader in dance

Tereza Theodoulou talks 'being a female leader in dance'. With advice, top tips and stories on the women she considers inspirational

Learn More

Remembering Miss Joan P. Hardy

We say goodbye to Miss Joan P. Hardy, a member of the organisation for almost 70 years

Learn More

Street dance in the community

Ernestine Ndzi reflects on her experience of coming to the UK from Cameroon and integrating into local dancesport classes

Learn More

Dr Ross McKim remembers Sir Robert Cohan CBE (1925 - 2021)

Modern dance legend and pioneer of contemporary dance in Britain is remembered by a friend

Learn More

Q&A: Layton Williams

From role models and experiences on stage to attending the Society's exam classes, we catch up with the actor, singer and dancer

Learn More

Box Dance is back

Our creative Box Dance initiative is here to keep you dancing at home

Learn More

Dance at home: What to watch

Lacking inspiration? Browse a range of free dance performances to watch at home

Learn More

An interview with company founder Cassa Pancho MBE

For Women's History Month 2021, we re-visited our conversation with the founder of Ballet Black

Learn More

Dance and Motherhood with Dance Mama

Lucy McCrudden, Dance Mama Founder and Mother of two, spoke to Society members who have each had different experiences with dance careers and motherhood

Learn More

Remembering Alan Grassby

Julie Earnshaw reflects on the life of Alan Grassby, devoted husband, father, teacher, choreographer and promoter.

Learn More

Sharing Success: A Student-Teacher Journey

To mark the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, we speak to Delia Sainsbury and her student of six years, Joshua Fowler.

Learn More

Cecchetti Ballet Faculty: Spring Programme

Shirley-Anne Osborne reflects on the Society's Spring Programme.

Learn More

The Digital Leap

Rachel Mills, Head of Dance at Ålesund Cultural School, tells us about her experience of teaching and learning from a secluded Norway town.

Learn More

9th HKBDFI Cup Ballroom Dance Championships

Lawrence Chan, Society Fellow and Examiner, has held the first DanceSport Championships since Hong Kong 'shut down for business' in March 2020. Read more on how the event went on.

Learn More

Introducing our LGBTQIA+ Think Tank

We introduce a number of our LGBTQIA+ Think Tank Members by asking them for their thoughts on LGBTQIA+ inclusion in dance.

Learn More

World Music Day 2021

It's World Music Day. What's your favourite piece of music to dance to and do you think music is important to dance?

Learn More

A Saturday to Remember

Carole Ann Watson talks socially-distanced-performances in Italy and navigating students back to 'some sort of normal'.

Learn More