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Step into Battle 2018
When I was asked to be a judge at Step into Battle back in November, I felt very honoured to be part of the annual street dance day organised by Step into Dance. I was involved with the event last year as workshop leader and videographer so I knew what to expect: a thrilling day filled with battles, workshops and showcases.
And I can frankly say that this year’s event exceeded all my expectations.
I was really impressed with how smoothly the event ran and with the quality of the dancing. The participants demonstrated a real sense of maturity in their dancing, applying the rights grooves and using their technique creatively. At such a young age this is a great feat! Judging, when the standards are so high is challenging. In my eyes all dancers were winners, they all took the courage to step on stage, some for the first time ever. Two dancers really caught my attention on the day: Bernice from Friern Barnet School who shows genuine love for dance and Seyi from Uxbridge College who is a versatile dancer and very light on his feet.
I have two highlights from the day: Jonzi D’s presentation, he has great stage presence and his knowledge of Hip-hop theatre really delighted the audience. I was also pleased to be part of the Hip-hop History Showcase. This provided the audience with an insight into the evolution of Hip-hop dance and I demonstrated the original steps of Locking dressed in my funkiest outfit.
I am very grateful to have been part of Step into Battle. The event was a fantastic way to start the New Year. I now feel very motivated to train more, because these kids are catching up!
Bismark Anobah, Step into Dance teacher and judge at Step into Battle 2018
The winners of Step into Battle 2018 are:
- 1 on 1 All Style: Seyi from Uxbridge College
- Breaking Crew Battle: Hendon School
- Mixed Crew Battle: St Matthew Academy
Individual prizes were also awarded to specific dancers:
- Most Promising Dancer: Garry from the Jack Petchey Academy
- Best Move of the Day: Dijon from St Matthew Academy
- Best Dancer: Bernice from Friern Barnet School
Review of the Step Together between St Matthew Academy and Parkwood Hall School
Fourteen dancers from St Matthew Academy enjoyed the opportunity to dance alongside students from Parkwood Hall School on Tuesday 5 December as part of the 2017 Step Together workshops.
This amazing integrated dance experience brought together dancers to share in their love of dance and to work collaboratively to produce some exceptional and highly creative dance pieces. The atmosphere was one of care and respect with students working compassionately to create and share their vibrant and dynamic dance ideas. Year 10 student Leonardo Walter Dabo said "we learnt so much from the dancers at Parkwood Hall, their happiness was infectious. I loved the way that they moved and felt so inspired by their passion for dance.'' Working collaboratively, the young people twisted, turned and spiralled in, out and through beautiful sculptural connected dance shapes. They explored some extremely exciting and challenging movements as they travelled through the dance space.
St Matthew Academy would like to say thank you to Parkwood School for hosting the Step Together, to Maria and Lisa - the wonderful workshop leaders and to the Step into Dance team for offering our young people such rich and inspiring dance opportunities.
Catherine Smith, teacher at St Matthew Academy
You can see the pictures of the workshop in our galley.
Step Company - Christmas Sharing 2017
I’ve worked with the Contemporary Company for three years after I became a Step Teacher. December is always a great time at Step into Dance and every year I look forward to the Christmas Sharing, an informal event where families of the company dancers are invited to the Royal Academy of Dance to get an insight into what the dancers have been working in their weekly rehearsals.
It’s been great to prepare for the sharing. The dancers have been on a high since their performance at the Lord Mayor’s Show in November and they have learnt new material very quickly and with enthusiasm. The plan for the Christmas Sharing was to show different exercises that we’ve worked on: improvisation exercises to increase movement vocabulary, traveling sequences and dancing on polyrhythms.
The Christmas Sharing went really well and I am delighted that a few parents came to me after the showcase and told me they really enjoyed our session.
I’m looking forward to 2018. The rehearsals for the Contemporary Company will focus more on creative tasks and we will start teaching complex material that we’ll use for our upcoming performances. I can’t wait!
Hayleigh, Contemporary Company Assistant
You can watch the pictures of the events in our gallery.
A fantastic day for The Step Companies at the Lord Mayor's Show
Early Saturday morning on a cold grey day, I along with a group of 60 dancers from the Step Companies gathered near St Paul’s Cathedral dressed in our warmest clothes. After two weekends of intensive rehearsal the dancers were ready to perform their new processional piece Fall in – Fall out created especially for the days event, the Lord Mayor’s Show. In spite of wet and cold weather conditions, spirits were high and excitement was building. After a thorough warm up the company dancers took their place in front of the Donkey Breed Society and set off for the first leg of their performance. Dancers placed behind and on the bus, performed continually to an audience of around 7000 people lined up along the route moving artistically around the droppings left on the road by the processional horses. After a well-deserved and slightly frosty lunch, the Step dancers re-joined the procession for its second and final leg, this time with even more energy and professionalism, performing their new piece beautifully all the way to the last yard!
Thank you to all the dancers, Step Company team and the Jack Petchey Foundation for inviting us to be part of their float and making it such a memorable day. The dancers deserve even more praise knowing that they attended their usual Sunday rehearsals the day after… there must have been some pretty sore legs. It’s no rest for the wicked at Step into Dance!
Relieve the day by watching a short clip of the procession and checking out the pictures of the event.
Flo, Step into Dance Marketing & Events Officer
The Hornsey School for Girls will perform their Step piece in Texas
One of our teacher's choreography has been selected for an international tour!
Jo Leahy created ‘Mugzy's Move’ in her 2017 Step into Dance classes at the Hornsey School for Girls. The Theatre Jazz piece was performed last year at the Spring Sharings and also at Step LIVE! 2017 in Southbank Centre, where it won a prize for best group.
The dance group has now been invited to perform the piece at the National SSAT Conference (Manchester) in December and will be jetting off to Texas alongside Haringey Young Musicians in January. The dancers will stay with American families, whilst touring the piece to local schools and will finish the tour with a performance in a prestigious performing arts centre. This is a fantastic opportunity for the aspiring dancers to get an insight to tour life as a performer and to make new friends across the pond. We wish them all the best with this exciting project.
The Step Companies to perform at The Lord Mayor's Show
Dancers from the Step Companies will perform their new creative piece at the Lord Mayor's Show in the City on Saturday 11 November 2017. The annual parade is one of the longest-standing and most established event in London. It dates back to the 16th century and celebrates the appointment of the New Mayor of the City of London. Thousands of people line up along the route to watch the colourful parade.
The Company Dancers will be in the procession as part of the Jack Petchey Foundation's carriage. Make sure you check out the running order and the timetable of the procession and come cheer on the new mayor and our performers!
A productive first day of rehearsal for the Step Companies
On Sunday, 86 dancers from various schools on the programme made their way to the Royal Academy of Dance for their first company rehearsal of the year. After going through an audition stage, they have joined one of the four Step Companies and will train, rehearse and work on a new piece until Step LIVE 2018. We were very happy to see the returning dancers and to welcome the new recruits.
The four groups (Jazz, Contemporary, Street and Inclusive) will be working on technique for the first couple of weeks to improve the foundation of their dance styles. All the dancers also get the chance to take ballet workshops, led by our teacher Ruth Mair.
Our teacher Brian taught both the Street and Contemporary companies and said that there was fantastic talent in the room and that all the dancers were very open and wonderful! You can watch one the sequences he taught the Contemporary Company here:
Ps: you might soon see some of our company members perform in the City in one of the biggest processions in London. More info will be revealed soon…
130 young dancers attend the Step Companies' audition
The Royal Academy of Dance was buzzing last Sunday as 130 young aspiring dancers auditioned to join the Step Companies. Although the dancers were nervous, they gave it their all and we loved to see their big smiles when they came out of the dance studio. The judge panel, composed of Step teachers and the Step office team, was very impressed with the high standard and really struggled to whittle down the candidates.
We’re excited to welcome 86 selected dancers to join one of the four Step Companies for the 2017/18 year. Their first day of rehearsal is this Sunday at the RAD and they will be jumping in ready to start working with their Company Leader and assistants to train and create new work.
Dancers and staff also had a chance to say goodbye to Nathalie. She has looked after the Companies for two and a half years and she is now leaving her role to return to her home town of Montreal. Everyone wished her well and sent her off with kind words, countless hugs and lovely cards.
Our company alumni feature on BBC News
We’re delighted to hear that two of our Inclusive Company alumni have been featured on BBC News. Jhonattan and Zack, both pupils at the Vale school in Haringey are part of a school’s music band called Backdrop (you might remember them from their performance at our birthday celebration at Step LIVE! 2017). After doing some research on World War I, the group wrote a song titled ‘My Mate George’: the story of a soldier from North London who died in a battle in Belgium. The song has also been adapted into a dance, drama and musical show choreographed by our teacher Jo Meredith and performed in Ypres and Ostend (Belgium).
Watch the BBC News video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/education-40745503/students-make-a-song-in-memory-of-a-world-war-i-soldier
Our ambassadors receive their Arts Award
Our 26 ambassadors have received their Bronze and Silver Arts Award certificates in front of their parents and friends in the Genée Studio at the Royal Academy of Dance last Sunday. The project enabled them to develop their communication, creative and critical skills and will help them to grow as arts leaders in their schools and in their future careers.
Caitlin from the Grey Coat Hospital testified in her portfolio: “not only did this project help improve my organisation, it also indirectly helped my confidence. Speaking in front of others and taking charge of things were unimaginable to me before this project. Confidence is one of, if not the most important characteristics of being a leader. Without even knowing it, I have become a more confident and sociable person, as a result of taking this role".
We wish them good luck and hope they continue developing the skills they learnt on this project. We will recruit new ambassadors for the 2017/18 year in January.
Watch the Step LIVE! video recap
The promo video for Step LIVE! 2017 is here. We love how the clip portrays the atmosphere of the festival. It was truly a great way to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!
Teacher Training Week 2017
The new academic year is off to a flying start at Step into Dance!
This week, our new and veteran teachers were invited to the Royal Academy of Dance to attend our annual teacher training project. The participants took the opportunity to develop their professional skills and attended various workshops led by our most experienced teachers. Our new teachers got to learn more about Step into Dance and the partnership between the Royal Academy of Dance and the Jack Petchey Foundation. The other workshops focused on creative dance sessions, inclusive practice and behaviour management. Of course, the highlight of the week was our annual teacher battle, a great way for all to break the ice and show off their skills on the dance floor.
You can view the pictures of the mixed style battle in our gallery.
We'll miss you Sue
Our much-loved Programme and Artisitic Director, Sue, is retiring after 8 years of loyal and fantastic service.
An important leaf is being turned and we will all miss her amazing energy, infectious enthusiasm and deep passion for dance. We wish Sue all the best and look forward to hearing about her new adventures.
Please join us in welcoming Rachel Attfield, our new Head of Artistic Programme and Development.
STEP LIVE! 2017 WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!
We celebrated our 10 year anniversary at Step LIVE! on Monday 17 July at Southbank Centre. Over 1000 pupils from 70 London and Essex schools took over the multi-venue arts centre to celebrate the occasion. The afternoon activities included a very popular inclusive streetdance workshop, beautiful performances and thrilling streetdance battles. In the evening, the four Step into Dance youth companies and selected school companies performed tremendous pieces in the Royal Festival hall in front of over 2000 audience members.
Step LIVE! was also a great opportunity to say goodbye to Sue, our beloved Programme and Artistic Director, who is retiring after 8 years of loyal and fantastic service.
Results of the competitions are:
Step LIVE! battles:
- Breaking Crew battle winners: Hendon School
- Mixed Crew battle winners: St Matthew Academy
- Best group: Coloma Convent Girls' School company
- Best choreography: the dancers of Park View School
- Best dancer: Fatoumatta from Queens Park Community College
- Best group: The Colne Community School and College
- Best choreography: Kevin Young (Harris Academy Bromley)
- Best dancer: Rhianna from Harris Academy Bromley
- Best group: Hornsey School for Girls
- Best choreography: Kevin Young (Acland Burghley School)
- Best dancer: Berenice from Friern Barnet School
- Best group: Woodside High School
- Best choreography: Bismark Anobah (the Grey Coat Hospital)
- Best dancer: Sultana from Walthamstow School for Girls
We would like to thank all the volunteers, staff and the special guests that attended the youth dance festival. A massive thank you is also due to all dancers, school teachers, Step teachers, parents, family and friends that came out to support the event. Step LIVE! was a great success thanks to all of you!
Watch a summary of the event from London LIVE here.
All the pictures of the day are available in our gallery, click on the links below to view:
- Clore Ballroom performances and workshops
- Streetdance battles and performances on the Festival Terrace
- VIP reception
- Evening show in the Royal Festival Hall
- Birthday party on The Clore Ballroom
Hendon dancers shine at “Speak Out” Challenge! Final
Our dancers from Hendon School rocked the stage yesterday at Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! The group was invited to perform a special performance at the event dedicated to improve the skills, confidence and desire of young people to speak in public.
Hendon School has been with Step into Dance for over five years and has been heavily involved in the programme. This year, they performed at the Spring Sharings and also won two categories of Step into Battle: breaking 2on2 and breaking crew battle. Their next appearance will be at Step LIVE! at Southbank Centre on Monday 17 July. They will battle in the breaking competition at 12pm on the Festival Terrace and showcase their piece at 4.30pm on the Clore Ballroom.
We have to give a massive thank you to the Hendon teachers, Ms Choolun and Ms Goodman, for being so supportive. And also to our teacher Mahdi who does such a great job in his dance classes and in our Inclusive Youth Company projects.
Over 70 schools to perform at Step LIVE!
Brace yourselves! The line-up for Step LIVE! is here.
After 11 Spring Sharings and two fantastic weeks of auditions, we are proud to announce that over 70 schools from our programme will be performing at Step LIVE! As we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year, we are delighted that so many schools will be involved in our annual end-of-year show. We really look forward to the jamboree and would like to invite you all to come support the performers and join us for a great day of youth dance.
The following school groups have been selected for Step LIVE! and will be performing at the Southbank Centre on Monday 17 July (please click here or on the image to download the pdf file):
LAST DAY OF TRAINING FOR OUR AMBASSADORS
On Sunday our ambassadors attended their last training day of the year at the Royal Academy of Dance. The 22 enthusiastic pupils from 11 schools taught dance workshops to develop leadership and communication skills and presented their research on dance artists that inspire their practice. This is the last step on their journey towards completing their Bronze Art Awards.
They also learnt all about their roles at our end-of-year show and 10 year anniversary celebration Step LIVE! As well as performing at the event, some will welcome VIP guests and others will bear the heavy responsibility of handing out programmes in their ‘fat suit’.
This year we've had a record number of ambassadors and we're really proud of how much they've grown in this process. We hope they have learnt a lot and we look forward to seeing this great bunch at Step LIVE!
Audition week for Step LIVE!
Our auditions for Step LIVE! are in full swing. It's lovely to see the groups have worked so hard to be part of our end-of-year event and 10 year anniversary celebration. We feel very excited about the level and enthusiasm of the dancers and we can't wait for you to witness their hard work at Step LIVE! All the successful groups will be performing at the youth dance festival in the afternoon either on the Clore Ballroom or on the Festival Terrace. We will post the full lineup and schedule of the performances next week when our auditions end.
Half-term project fun!
Step into Dance is making the most of the summer half-term break!
The Inclusive Company is creating a brand new piece with Sarah Blanc, renowned choreographer and artist at Candoco Dance Company. They are closely working with World Heart Beat and globally acclaimed jazz musician Julian Joseph who composed the music for the performance. Besides, a selected group of Contemporary Company members are developing a piece which they started last year with talented choreographer and movement director Jessica Williams. Finally, a couple of Step into Dance alumni have made a comeback to the programme to create a duet to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.
All these pieces will be premiered at the evening show of Step LIVE! in the Royal Festival Hall on Monday 17 July.
BONUS: here's a little extract of Julian Joseph, World Heart Beat and our inclusive company at rehearsal this week:
Essex schools get ready for Step LIVE!
Yesterday our Programme and Artistic Director, Sue Goodman, made her way to Essex to rehearse two schools for Step LIVE! Clacton Coastal Academy and Colne Community School & College each practised for one hour and got their pieces reworked for their performance in the Clore Ballroom. Sue said about both groups, “they were a delight to work with. Their enthusiasm and that of their school teachers was a joy”. The dancers, as well as their Step into Dance teacher Sarah Lloyd, were very excited and are very much looking forward to performing at Step LIVE!
The ambassadors show leadership skills on their third training day
The Step into Dance ambassadors are now more than halfway through completion of their Silver Arts Awards. Yesterday they shared their experience of being audience members at dance events, including the Spring Sharings. They participated in the warm up of the street company before leading their own workshops in which they taught their dance skills to each other.
Their next task is to research and learn more about a dance artist that inspires them. Some of them will use this opportunity to do a presentation of their work on their last ambassador’s day in June.
We’d like to take this opportunity to give them a big thank you for their fantastic work at the Spring Sharings. They were a beam of light at the events and we look forward to seeing them again at Step LIVE!
THE SPRING SHARINGS COME TO AN END
We had our last Spring Springs of the year yesterday at Friern Barnet Secondary School. Twelve shows took place in 12 different boroughs in London and Essex for the last three weeks. A total of 97 schools participated in the events, 113 groups performed and around 1,500 dancers hit the stage.
We've been really impressed with the standard of the pieces. The energy of the events has been incredible and it’s been amazing to watch young dancers perform alongside more experienced groups.
We would like to thank the school teachers, the Step into Dance teachers, audience members and the hosting schools for their involvement in the shows. Without them, the Spring Sharings wouldn't be such successful events.
Selected groups from the Spring Sharings will get an invite to the Step LIVE! auditions. This will be their chance to perform at our end-of-year show, and 10 year anniversary celebration, at Southbank Centre in The Clore Ballroom.
Relive the best moment of the Spring Sharings by checking out the pictures in our gallery!
WE'RE HALFWAY THROUGH OUR 2017 SPRING SHARINGS!
Our 2017 Spring Sharings are well under way and we are overwhelmed by the high standard of the dancing. We’re really proud of all the dancers and the Step into Dance teachers for creating such wonderful dance pieces.
If you have missed any of the Spring Sharings, you can join us next week for some great evenings of youth dance. You can also relieve the past events by checking out the pictures in our gallery.
The Spring Sharings are here!
The next three weeks will see the return of the Spring Sharings! Over 100 schools from the programme will perform across London, and showcase their hard work in front of fellow students, family, friends and VIPs. The performances will take place in eleven boroughs, starting in Westminster tomorrow and finishing in Barnet on Monday 8 May. Check out the dates and come along to support the dancers!
The tickets for Step LIVE! 2017 are on sale
Over 200 young dancers from the four Step into Dance Companies and selected school groups from the programme will take over the Royal Festival Hall in the evening of Step LIVE! The dancers will premiere specially commissioned pieces from renowned choreographers including Sarah Blanc, Jessica Williams, Kevin Young, Sonny Ward and Lee Griffiths. Buy your tickets now and choose the best seats!
Everyone can take part in the free activities taking place in the afternoon in and around Southbank Centre. Join us for a great day of performances, workshops and street dance battles.
Company member Mollie performs her new solo at Honeycomb Dance Festival
We’re very proud of Mollie from the Contemporary and Jazz companies who represented Step into Dance yesterday at the newly-branded Honeycomb Dance Festival. She performed her new solo “Freedom is a State of Mind”, which she created for her Silver Arts Award during the February half-term project.
Run by Deborah Stevens, Honeycomb Dance Festival featured different groups from all over Buckinghamshire showcasing a host of dance styles. The purpose of the festival is to provide performing opportunities for all young dancers in a wonderful professional theatre setting. It was a great experience for all!
Essex groups shine at Springblast!
Essex came out in force yesterday to celebrate dance in the county at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford. Over 300 dancers, aged 9 to 90, strutted their stuff on stage. The community rejoiced in the unifying power of dance. Step into Dance was represented by eight groups, totalling over 150 performers. A variety of genres were performed, there was something for everybody! This event was part of the partnership between Step into Dance and the Dance Network Association. You will be able to watch some of the Essex groups at Step LIVE! 2017 where the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Royal Academy of Dance will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Step into Dance, their partnership project.
A rewarding second day of training for our ambassadors
As part of their Bronze Arts Award, the ambassadors came back to the RAD on Sunday to continue their training.
The day started with a class from Blue. The veteran member from the street company gave the ambassadors tips on how to lead a dance workshop. They then worked on their front of house and hosting skills in preparation for our upcoming Spring Sharings. In the afternoon, the ambassadors joined in with the inclusive company rehearsal for a lively dance to break the ice. They finished the day with a lesson from Nathalie on how to review a dance show.
All ambassadors got given shiny new Step into Dance t-shirts which we hope they will wear proudly.
A productive weekend for our dancers
Last weekend was very busy for some! Dancers from various Step into Dance groups performed at two different events in London.
Under the direction of our teacher Ruth Mair Howard-Jones, three of our company members competed as a trio at the MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships. Ruth said they did a brillant job! You can check out the pictures of of their show here (all pictures by Drew Tommons/Virtuoso Imaging).
The U.Dance 2017 London Regional Platform at Trinity Laban also saw many of our dancers take it to the stage! Four of our youth company members performed as part of the Avant Garde Youth Company and our dance groups from Woolwich Polytechnic School also participated in the event. They made our teacher Roxy Bryant really proud!
If your Step into Dance group is performing at extra-curricular events, please contact us. We'd love to hear about your adventures!
First Spring Sharings at the Camden School for Girls
The Camden School for Girls held its annual Spring Sharings last week on Thursday the 2nd of March. A packed audience of parents and friends had the chance to watch seven dance pieces performed by solos, duets and dance groups from the school. The event displayed a wide range of dance styles: from ballet to street dance via musical theatre, contemporary and salsa. The Step into Dance Year 7’s and the school’s own dance company, both led by our teacher Amy Morris, were part of the show. They delighted the audience with a funky flash mob and their brand new street jazz piece. You will be able to watch their performance at Step LIVE! 2017 in the Clore Ballroom.
First Ambassador's Day of 2017
Yesterday our new ambassadors attended their first training day of the year at the Royal Academy of Dance. 23 enthusiastic pupils from 11 schools learnt all about their role as ambassadors and received presentations about the Step into Dance programme, the Royal Academy of Dance and the Jack Petchey Foundation. They also had the chance to take a commercial jazz workshop with our patron Kirsty Swain, which was followed by a Q&A session on how to develop their dance practice, career options and opportunities in the dance world. Moreover the ambassadors gained leaderships skills and new ideas about how to promote dance in their schools.
This is the first step on their journey towards completing their Bronze Art Awards.
Half-term project with Sue Goodman
Some of our company members are keeping busy during this half-term holiday. The group includes eight dancers from our youth companies as well as two guest pupils from our Step into Dance group at Evelyn Grace Academy. All dancers are working with our Programme and Artistic Director, Sue Goodman, to develop their creative skills and devise solos, duets and trios. This week, Sue will teach the young dancers how to use choreographic tools to expand their creative process and to present, perform and reflect upon their new pieces. Four of the dancers will be using this project towards their silver Arts Awards and some of the pieces will get performed at our 2017 Spring Sharings.
We hope they all learn a lot this week and enjoy the experience.
Great news from our former pupil
Our teacher Roxy Bryant has received some great news: one of her past pupils contacted her to tell her how much the Step into Dance classes helped turn her life around. Autumn Sharif attended Roxy's classes at Newhaven School PRU a few years ago. These sessions had a positive impact on Autumn’s behavior and helped her improve her confidence and belief in her special talent: singing. Autumn has since appeared on BBC One's The Voice and is now working on her first her first EP which will be released soon.
We are delighted to hear our classes make a positive contribution to our student's lives. Roxy is one of our long-standing teachers and her hard work continues to pay off. We’re very proud of her.
Watch Autumn Sharif singing ‘Smoke And Mirrors’ live:
Charles Darwin School qualifies for the London Youth Games final
X-Tol, the Step into Dance group from Charles Darwin School, has been selected to represent Bromley at the final of the London Youth Games. As explained in this article, the contemporary piece "The River Returns with the Rains", choreographed by our teacher Amy Robinson, was judged overall winner at the borough qualifier. The final will take place on 8 March at the former Olympic Park in Stratford and will see selected groups from the 33 London boroughs compete against each other in over 30 different sports.
We wish Amy and her dancers the best of luck for the competition finals. X-Tol will also perform the piece at our Bromley Spring Sharings alongside 11 other schools from the borough at Ravens Wood on 24 April.
Congratulations Trudy on your MBE!
We are delighted that Trudy Kilcullen, Chief Executive Officer of the Jack Petchey Foundation, received her MBE last Friday. She was recognised in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to Young People in London and Essex through Children's Organisations and for voluntary service. Trudy joined the Jack Petchey Foundation in 2008 and has since been a pillar in the organisation supporting numerous youth programmes, including Step into Dance.
We would like to congratulate her on this achievement and the much-deserved recognition of the work she does.
Videos of the Step into Battle crew finals
The crew finals of Step into Battle 2017 are now online! As you can see in the videos, the competition was tough and the judges really struggled to pick a winner. Year after year, the standard of Step into Battle increases dramatically!
Evelyn Grace Academy and Woolwich Polytechnic School went head to head in the final of the Mixed Crew battle:
Here is the final of the Breaking Crew battle between Hendon School and Forest Hill School:
We had a little surprise from the Step into Dance teachers who also got down to business (just for fun):
Also check out the trailer of the event made by our teacher Bismark Anobah:
Spring Sharings and Step LIVE! training day
We held a day of training last Sunday at the Royal Academy of Dance for our Step into Dance teachers. The sessions were upbeat and were a great way for all attendees to learn the requirements for the Spring Sharings and Step LIVE!
2017 is a very exciting year for us as we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary at the Southbank Centre. The afternoon performances will be in the Clore Ballroom. Choreographers will be required to make pieces in a different format. As a result, all the pieces for the Spring Sharings will also be in the round, since they serve as the first auditions for Step LIVE!
Teachers received all the information about our upcoming events and had the opportunity to get accustomed to the new performance space. They also received tips from Sue on how to improve their choreographic skills. The day ended with a workshop in non-verbal communication.
Now that our teachers are ready for the Spring Sharings and Step LIVE! 2017, we look forward to seeing the dance pieces they create with their school groups!
Kimberly Wyatt becomes patron of Step into Dance
We are delighted to announce that Kimberly Wyatt has become our newest patron. Kimberly is a world-renowned American singer, dancer, choreographer and television personality. She was a member of the Pussycat Dolls from 2003 until 2010 and has demonstrated her commitment to nurturing the talent of young dancers by appearing as a judge on Sky’s Got To Dance and CBBC’s Taking The Next Step. She is a fantastic addition to passionate cohort of patrons: dancer Kirsty Swain and choreographer and dancer Kenrick “H2O” Sandy.
We look forward to building a healthy and fruitful relationship with Kimberly. She will soon meet our four Youth Dance Companies at their weekly rehearsals and will be involved with the programme all throughout the year!
Step into Battle 2017 winners
On Saturday 14 January over 150 street dancers took over Stratford Circus for Step into Battle. This event was dedicated to street dance and included three competitions, four workshops and showcases from teachers and SEN school groups. The atmosphere was uplifting all throughout the day and it was great to see young battlers going against experienced dancers, some of whom had been competing at this event for the last four years. Highlights of the day included the showcase battle between the dancers from Haringey Sixth Form and the Step into Dance inclusive company.
A special mention goes to the competition winners:
- 2 on 2 Breaking Battle: Hendon School
- Breaking Crew Battle: Hendon School
- Mixed Crew Battle: Woolwich Polytechnic School
Individual prizes were also awarded to specific dancers:
- Best Dancer: Shantell from the Step into Dance Street Company
- Most Promising Dancer: Gabriel from Forest Hill School
- Best Move of the Day: Jasmine from Hendon School
You can view and download the pictures of the event in our gallery.
Step into Battle is almost here!
Step into Battle 2017 is around the corner and it's all set to go. We've had a record number of schools registered, trophies and prizes are ready and the judges, hosts and DJ are hype for it!
Our new patron Kenrick "H2O" Sandy has plenty of experience and gave some advice for the competitors, he says "As a Dancer, battles are a great way to grow and to learn about yourself. That leap of faith is scary, but once achieved, it brings confidence and motivation to another level. Share your skills against your peers on the dance floor and be a part of your community!"
This family-friendly event is open to all: spectators are encouraged to support their favorite crews, and can take part in open circles and free workshops. We look forward to welcoming you all at Stratford Circus on 14 January.
Kenrick “H2O” Sandy becomes patron of Step into Dance
We are happy and excited to announce Kenrick Sandy as a patron of Step into Dance. Born and raised in East London, Kenrick is one of the top choreographers and performers in the UK underground, commercial and theatrical scenes. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of Boy Blue Entertainment (Associate Artist at The Barbican Centre) and was awarded an MBE for his services to dance and the community in this year’s Honours list. His extensive credits include theatre, TV and film, both nationally and internationally. He notably choreographed the ‘Frankie and June say… thanks Tim’ section for London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, alongside director Danny Boyle.
Sue Goodman, Step into Dance programme and artistic director is very excited about this news. She says: “We feel very privileged to have Kenrick on board as our patron. His inspirational work with young people covering many street dance genres is something we hope to emulate. With Kenrick as role model and supporter, the sky is the limit!”
Watch Kenrick’s performance at Breakin’ Convention:
Some exciting news for our teacher Maria Ghoumrassi
Our teacher Maria Ghoumrassi has been very busy recently. Last week she performed for 2016 Turner Prize nominee in a new series of immersive shows named ‘The Magazine Sessions 2016: Anthea Hamilton’. She has also received funding from the Arts Council to develop her new project ‘A Tree Without Leaves’. The dance piece will include other art forms (such as text, film, music and photography) and will address the themes of female infertility and identity. Maria will also run movement-based workshops for a local infertility group to promote mental well-being, increase self-esteem and reduce their sense of isolation, anxiety and stress.
Maria is one of our long-standing teachers and has taught on our programme since its inception. We're very proud of her accomplishements and we wish her the best of luck for her upcoming projects.
Watch our youth dance companies rehearse this Sunday!
Our Youth Dance Companies will have their first ever Watching Day on Sunday 11 December. The informal setting will allow parents and friends to sit in the rehearsal studio and witness how the dancers have progressed and what they’ve been working on this year. We will live stream parts of the sessions on our Facebook page this Sunday so you can see what goes on behind the scenes! Make sure you log in from 11am until 5pm.
The end of Step Together... In pictures!
Our Step Together sessions are coming to an end and we’re really happy with the way the project has unfolded. The ten one-off classes have been a great way to encourage our teachers and schools to work inclusively. We’ve brought together 300 students from mainstream and special educational needs schools to dance and explore their creativity. We believe these workshops really reflect what Step into Dance is about: using the art form so that young dancers meet different people, share a unique experience and learn from each other.
Our lovely photographer, Foteini Christofilopoulou, attended our latest Step Together yesterday at Greenvale School with St Matthew Academy. As you can see in the picture gallery, the participants as well as the dance teachers (and Sue!) really enjoyed the session. We’d like to thank both teachers at Greenvale School and St Matthew Academy for being so supportive of the programme.
The last two Step Together for this year will be held next week. The sessions will be back in the 2017 Autumn term.
Coloma Convent School dancers perform their debut at the Royal Albert Hall
The Step into Dance group from Coloma Convent School performed their debut yesterday at the Music For Youth proms in the Royal Albert Hall. The pupils danced to the music of the Coloma Trust Mass Ensemble, a choir involving 200 pupils. The singers performed the work written by award-winning composer Howard Goodall called The Pearl.
The Music For Youth proms is a prestigious event which include some of the best young musicians in the country. Congratulations to the Coloma dancers and their Step into Dance teacher Faye Rettie for such an accomplishment! We look forward to seeing the group perform another piece at the 2017 Spring Sharings.
Ex-company member swings into singing career
We love to see our dancers following their dreams and reaching for the stars! Jhonattan Goncalves is part of The Disfunkshunalz, a band whose aim is to enable young disabled people to perform and create inspirational music. He was an inclusive company member last year and had been a dancer on the programme at the Vale School. Jhonattan sings and features in a beautiful video clip for the band’s new song: Mainstream Girl. Our relationship with the Vale School has been wonderful: our teacher Jo Meredith has done fantastic work there and Richard Tharp, our school representative, is very supportive of the Step into Dance programme.
Watch the Mainstream Girl video clip from The Disfunkshunalz here:
Spring Sharings 2017 - dates and venues announced!
We are happy to announce the Spring Sharings will be back in April and May 2017! These events are hosted by schools on the programme and are a great chance for our dancers to share what they've been working on with friends and family. All the schools on our programme can now register their group to one of the below events:
- Thursday 20 April - The Grey Coat Hospital (Westminster)
- Friday 21 April - Burntwood School (Wandsworth)
- Monday 24 April - Ravens Wood School (Bromley)
- Tuesday 25 April - Queens Park Community School (Brent)
- Wednesday 26 April - St Angela’s Ursuline School (Newham)
- Thursday 27 April - Acland Burghley School (Camden)
- Tuesday 2 May - Bacon’s College (Southwark)
- Wednesday 3 May - The Quest Academy (Croydon)
- Thursday 4 May - Park View School (Haringey)
- Friday 5 May - St Paul’s Academy (Greenwich)
- Monday 8 May - Friern Barnet Secondary School (Barnet)
The standard of the Spring Sharings gets better very year and we really look forward to seeing what our teachers and their dancers have been working on!
A brillant start to our Step Together workshops
Our Step Together season went off to a flying start yesterday with a great first workshop. The session gathered two schools from South London: Woodcote High School and Carshalton High School for Girls. Both groups quickly got into the swing of things and worked very productively. The sharing at the end of the class was a great success and we hope both parties enjoyed working together and learnt a lot from the experience.
The session was the first one out of a series of 10 dance workshops, which will bring together 19 London schools, involving over 300 students. The free workshops gather two neighbouring schools on the programme, to work on a specific theme or project in any style, including contemporary dance, inclusive dance (bringing together a mainstream and SEN school), capoeira, street and jazz dance.
The Inclusive Company receives grant from Capital Group
The Step into Dance Inclusive Company has secured a £9,000 grant from investment firm Capital Group. The funds will provide continued support to the dance company’s training and development but will also enable them to commission an original dance piece to be performed at the Royal Festival Hall at its 10th anniversary celebration on Monday 17 July 2017.
Melanie Murphy, RAD Director of Communications & Marketing was delighted at the news and said, “The Inclusive Company is such a worthwhile element of the wider programme and it is great that it is attracting this level of support.”
Step into Dance has a passionate commitment to including young people with Special Educational Needs across all aspects of the programme and Capital Group has generously been supporting this strand of work since 2013. Last year, part of their contribution went towards making this documentary about the company and their journey to Step LIVE! 2016.
The contribution comes in addition to the £580,000 grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation. The Jack Petchey Foundation and the Royal Academy of Dance have worked in partnership to develop and deliver Step into Dance since its creation in 2007.
Zach to perform in Jérôme Bel’s Gala at Sadler's Wells!
Huge congratulations to 17-year old Step into Dance Inclusive Company member Zach for being part of Jérôme Bel’s latest project: Gala. Gala is a captivating showcase of dance featuring 20 Londoners from various ages, backgrounds and abilities. Zach already performed the piece at Tate Modern on 15 October and will perform it again at Sadler’s Wells as part of Dance Umbrella on 18 and 19 October. Zach, who has cerebral palsy, has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of dancing for Jérôme Bel, performing group pieces as well as a solo on and off a wheelchair. He says the world-renowned French choreographer has really pushed him to be the best dancer he can be. This is Zach's first professional contract and we are very proud of him!
The 2017 Spring Sharings will be back in April and May!
We are currently finalising the last details of the 2017 Spring Sharings. The events will be a great way for our dancers to demonstrate what they've worked on this year and the shows will act as the first stage of the audition process to our 10th anniversary celebration: Step LIVE! 2017. The standard of dancing increases every year and the 2017 editions should be even more impressive! We will post more information about dates and venues as soon as they're all confirmed. In the meantime you can catch up with the pictures from last year in our gallery.
Stratford Circus is ready to welcome Step into Battle
We had our first meeting at Stratford Circus yesterday and all is set for our day of street dance, Step into Battle, on 14 January 2017. The studio for the workshops is looking very spacious and the theatre will be an amazing space for the battles and the circles! Last year we were really impressed with the overall standard and we now hope that all the street dance groups are training hard for the upcoming edition. As we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year, we've got some exciting surprises in the pipeline including special guest performances. All will be revealed soon!
Our Youth Dance Companies are off to a flying start!
Our Youth Dance Companies have only been rehearsing on 3 occasions this year and they're already showing great potential! Here is a short clip of our jazz company reviving an old piece that was performed at Step LIVE! 2014. An updated and improved version will be shown at Step LIVE! 2017, our 10 year anniversary celebration held at the Southbank Centre. The piece should look amazing then!
First day of rehearsal for the youth dance companies
Sunday was back to work for our Youth Dance Companies! 85 dancers, including 35 new ones, made their way to the Royal Academy of Dance to attend their first day of this year’s rehearsals with their respective company. The four groups (Jazz, Contemporary, Street and Inclusive) will be working on technique for the first few weeks to improve the foundation of their dance styles. The dancers' initial shyness shouldn’t last long as they will have to build team spirit to support each other, focus on creativity and prepare for upcoming performance opportunities. The Youth Dance Companies will present their new work across London throughout the year and will take centre stage at our end-of-year show, Step LIVE!
Step LIVE! preparations at the Southbank Centre
We had our first meeting at the Southbank Centre yesterday to plan Step LIVE! 2017. Ideas were bouncing off the wall and we found the talks with the Southbank team very fruitful! We will celebrate our 10 year anniversary next year and we are already working hard to make Step LIVE! 2017 a fantastic edition. These are the early stages but we are really excited and we can’t wait to tell you more about our plans for the event! In the meantime, you can put the date in your diary, Step LIVE! 2017 will be on Monday 17 July 2017 in the afternoon and the evening.
Our youth dance companies' auditions are coming up!
The auditions to join our youth companies are this Sunday and we can't wait to see what the dancers bring to the table! 2017 will be a very exciting year to be part of our youth companies as it will mark our 10 year anniversary! It promises to be full of high-quality training and exciting projects that will culminate with performances at Step LIVE! at the Royal Festival Hall stage in the Southbank Centre on 17 July 2017.
If you wish to join our youth companies, you only have one day left to send us your application form.
Teacher Training Week
It’s back to school for everyone at Step into Dance. This week, our new and veteran teachers are invited to the Royal Academy of Dance headquarters to attend our yearly teacher training week. All participants have the opportunity to take free workshops to gain inspiration and develop their professional skills. The classes include encouraging creativity in class, practice in Special Educational Needs schools, behaviour management, effective year planning and more. The week will end with our anticipated mixed styles battle on Friday!
Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter for photos and videos of the week!
Step into Dance is on Wikipedia
We are proud to announce that Step into Dance now has its own page on the popular online encyclopedia: Wikipedia. Check out the article for a brief history and presentation of our organisation. We hope the page will keep on growing as the programme expands.
A pleasure to see Step into Dance teachers at the RAD Summer Schools
The Royal Academy of Dance Summer School classes are in full swing, with hundreds of students participating from all over the world. The Summer Schools last for three weeks and focus on a range of dance styles, including jazz, contemporary and ballet. We’re delighted that some of the Step into Dance teachers have been invited to teach this year, among them Nina and Sonny (pictured). We hope they enjoy their Summer School classes, they sure look like a lot of fun.
Step into Dance featured in award winning film!
We are delighted that the Royal Academy of Dance Patron's Organisations in Focus film has won an Videographer Award. The film focuses on Step into Dance and features our Youth Companies and also the Step into Dance students from Townley Grammar School for Girls. The film is beautifully put together by Amelie Exton and Georgina Rees.You can watch the whole film here.
A successful teacher audition week!
As new schools are joining the programme, we have been auditioning new dancers to join our pool of teachers. Sue and Miranda have been really impressed with the general standard and loved the broad range of styles available: from contemporary to Afrobeat, breakin' and house. The successful candidates will be contacted soon and will start their new classes for the 2016/17 academic year.
We look forward to welcoming new faces to the Step into Dance family!
Step LIVE! 2016 - An evening full of "life, excitement and joy!"
Step into Dance took over Sadler's Wells on Saturday 9th July with an exciting evening of youth dance! More than 1,300 audience members attended Step LIVE! to watch over 400 dancers perform on the prestigious stage. The thrilling performances showcased the diversity of the programme and included an array of dance styles ranging from breaking to contemporary and Indian dance. The evening ended with a beautiful tribute to Sir Jack Petchey from our guest performers, the young dancers from Lyons Hall School.
We would like to thank all the volunteers, staff and the special guests that attended the event, among them the eight Mayors from London Boroughs. A big thank you is also due to the parents, family and friends that came out to support the dancers.
Sue Goodman, Programme and Artistic Director says about the event: ‘Something very special happened on that stage this year at Step LIVE! Our dancers transported the audience into another world. It was magic! I am so proud of them and of our choreographers and of course, our schools for their dedication and hard work. All this would not have happened without the generosity of Sir Jack Petchey in partnership with the Royal Academy of Dance.'
You can view and download the photos from the event in our gallery.
Step LIVE! is fast approaching. Only two days left!
The final countdown to Step LIVE! has begun! After months of preparation we can't believe our end-of-year show is just around the corner. The 14 selected schools groups and our four youth companies will blow your mind with amazing performances. They have worked very hard and have undoubtedly earned the privilege to perform on such a prestigious stage.
Remember the event will kick off at 5pm with workshops, shows and entertainment in the Sadler's Wells foyer. The main show starts at 7pm. Book your tickets now before the event sells out!
Sadler's Wells ready to welcome Step LIVE!
We had our final meeting at Sadler's Wells Theatre yesterday and we can reveal that all is set for Step LIVE! Backstage preparations have been completed and the foyer activities are looking exciting! All the dance groups are looking forward to performing on such a prestigious stage and spectators are in for a treat! Everyone at Sadler's Wells Theatre is ready to welcome an evening of thrilling youth dance! Book your tickets now before it's too late!
Foyer entertainment at Step LIVE! 2016
Last week we announced the line-up for Step LIVE! and the evening promises to be amazing. But Step LIVE! is not your average dance show, we make a point of involving audience members in our freestyle circle! We will have some great surprises this year in the Sadler's Wells foyer from 5pm. Expect to catch Step into Dance teachers, school groups and fun workshops in the mezzanine. You might also bump into Molly Orange, who will be floating around the space with their comedy dance pop up!
Step LIVE! 2016 - Line-up announced!
After a fantastic week of auditions from 30 school groups, the Step team and the panel has reached a decision. It was really hard to whittle down this number to the 14 that are performing on the Sadler’s Wells stage on Saturday 9 July.
The following school groups have been selected for Step LIVE! and will be performing along with the fours Step into Dance Youth Companies:
- Acland Burghley
- Boswells School
- Forest Hill School
- Harris Academy Bromley
- Heartlands High School
- Highams Park School
- Lambeth Academy
- Lea Valley High School
- Ravens Wood School
- Saffron Walden County High School
- St Paul's Academy
- St Thomas More Catholic School
- Townley Grammar School
- Woolwich Polytechnic School
Step LIVE! auditions update!
What a week we're having! We're right in the middle of the Step LIVE! auditions and we're loving it. All the selected dance groups have put a lot of effort into their pieces which makes the whole process really tough: the final decision will be hard to take! We feel very excited about the level and enthusiasm of the dancers and we can't wait for you to witness their hard work at Step LIVE!
An exciting week for the Step into Dance Youth Companies!
Members of our Contemporary and Inclusive Youth Company are making the most of their half-term holiday by devising two new pieces for future performance opportunities. They have the privilege to work under the direction of talented choreographers Sarah Blanc and Jessica Williams. The whole process is filmed by an up-and-coming film crew from Eastside Educational Trust. Saturday will mark the end of the project with a sharing in front of friends and family.
Well done to Gavin and Milo for performing on Britain's Got Talent!
After excellent runs at the quarter-finals, this is the end of the Britain's Got Talent adventure for our Step into Dance teacher Gavin Vincent and for our ex-company member Milo Aylward. Both dancers performed with different groups at the semi-finals of the national TV competition. In spite of positive feedback from the judges and original concepts, they didn't reach the final stage of the talent show.
We are very proud of them both! You can watch Gavin's performance here and Milo's piece here.
Step into Dance is looking for new teachers!
We are currently recruiting teachers specialising in African dance, bollywood, cheerleading, contemporary dance, inclusive dance, jazz, musical theatre, and all street dance styles.
If you are passionate about teaching, available in London or Essex and interested in developing your professional practice, this is the perfect opportunity for you!
All the information can be found on our job page.
Our teacher on Britain's Got Talent!
You might have heard that one of the highly skilled Step into Dance teachers has been on TV recently. Gavin Vincent, who has taught breakin’ for us for 5 years, has been featured on Britain’s Got Talent and has got through to the semi-finals of the competition. He is performing as a dancer for Flying Bebop, mixing breakin’ and drones. If you’ve missed it, you can watch his performance here.
Although Gavin got off to a flying start, we wish him the very best for the next stage of the competition!
The Spring Sharings come to an end
After three weeks of Spring Sharings in 13 boroughs in London and Essex, we counted a total of 98 schools participating, 129 groups performing and almost 1,500 dancers hitting the stage. The energy and commitment of all the dancers involved was incredible! We would like to thank the school teachers, the Step into Dance teachers, the audience and the hosting schools without whom the Spring Sharings wouldn't be such successful platforms.
Selected groups from the Spring Sharings will get an invite to the Step LIVE! auditions soon. This will be their chance to perform at our end-of-year show at Sadler's Wells on 9 July in front of thousands of people.
You can view all our pictures and short videos of all the Spring Sharings in our gallery!
Only three Spring Sharings left!
After eight amazing Spring Sharings, the Step into Dance participants only have three events to show us what they've got! We've been really impressed with the standard of the dancing. Years after years, the pieces get better and better! We hope the dance groups performing at our next three events will bring their A-game and keep up the high standard! The dates and places of our three remaining Spring Sharings are here and you can view pictures and videos from our past events in our gallery!
We're halfway through our Spring Sharings!
We have been overwhelmed by the high standard of work and the commitment of our teachers, reps and dancers. Hooray for Step into Dance! Check all the pictures from our 2016 Spring Sharings here!
Spring Sharings 2016
Our 2016 Spring Sharings are well under way and so far the work has been of an extremely high standard. Our teachers have worked hard and are really showing their students off to advantage. We are so proud of them all! You can view all the pictures from the events in our gallery!
Step into Dance features in the Patron’s Lunch video
Sue Goodman, our Programme and Artistic Director has been featured in the Patron’s Heroes series. The video is part of the celebrations around The Patron’s Lunch, held in London on 12 June. We love the video as it reflects our philosophy perfectly. We are proud to be part of the Royal Academy of Dance and to have Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as our Patron.
We hope you’ll like the video too!
A tribute to Step into Dance teachers
Sue Goodman (Step into Dance Programme and Artistic Director) wrote an article as part of my Dance, the new campaign from the Royal Academy of Dance. Her words reinforce the idea that the Step into Dance teachers are a great asset to the programme. We’re very grateful that so many brilliant dancers have been working with us for the past nine years. Without them, Step into Dance wouldn’t be where it is today! You can read the full article on page 14 of the my Dance brochure.
Step into Dance features in the new RAD campaign: myDance
The Royal Academy of Dance has produced a great campaign called my Dance. We're proud and honoured to be part of this exciting new project. The brochure includes an interview of Sue Goodman, our Programme and Artistic Director as well as pictures and quotes from Jamie from the Street Company and Caseley from the Inclusive Company. Dancers from Contemporary and Street Companies are also featured in the myDance video along with Step into Dance teacher Mahdi. You too can get involved by sharing your #myDance story on social media.
Performances at Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Award
On 8th and 10th March 2016 at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford (Essex), Mollie, Jade and Ryan from our Contemporary Dance Company got the privilege to perform at the Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Award.
Mollie and Jade performed a duet they had devised during the half term choreography development sessions led by our Programme & Artistic Director Sue Goodman. Their short piece entitled 'I’m Still Breathing' explores the value of friendship, especially during difficult times.
Ryan and Sophia, who both attend the Lambeth Academy, performed a duet entitled 'Siblings'. Choreographed by Step into Dance teacher Kevin Young, the piece reflects upon the complex relationship between a brother and a sister.
HALF TERM PROJECTS WERE A SUCCESS!
Some of our Youth Company dancers have dedicated their half term week (15–19 February 2016) to learning new skills.
Mahdi Ghali – who teaches, choreographs, performs and competes internationally at the top level in the world of break dance – showed them some impressive footwork and freeze moves, which they then had the chance to demonstrate to a camera crew filming a RAD promo video. The Jazz Company dancers learned a new colourful routine with a Latin feel, choreographed by Robbie O’Reilly – Artistic Director of the Jazz Dance Company at London Studio Centre – that really challenged them technically and musically. Others explored choreographic techniques with Sue Goodman, who mentored them in the creation of solos and duets, which were filmed and shared with their peers at the end of the week.
For three of the young dancers, last week also marked the start of their journey towards their Silver Arts Award, as they successfully completed their Arts Challenge, by taking part in a choreography workshop and devising their own dance piece that they presented, performed and reflected upon. Their experience was recorded in their digital portfolio, which will be assessed by Trinity College London at the end of the academic year. They will now spend the rest of the term researching a choreographer of their choice to find out more about this career path.
Spring Sharings 2016
You may have noticed that the Borough Events have had a bit of a face lift for 2016 and are now called the Spring Sharings! But don't worry, the events are essentially the same - all schools on the programme are welcome to participate and we hope to see as many of you there as possible. The events are a great chance for the dancers to share their hard work with friends and family and to meet other young people on the programme.
Don't forget that the Spring Sharings are the first step in the selection process for our end of year event Step LIVE! (Saturday 9 July, Sadler's Wells). Groups are chosen from the Spring Sharing performances to audition at the start of June. Schools are already signing up, so make sure you don't miss out. Contact Miranda Peake to book a place for your group email@example.com
Have a look at the Spring Sharing dates here
Step into Dance Companies prepare for Ignite 2016
On Wednesday 20th January, the Step into Dance Jazz and Contemporary Youth Companies will join talented performers from dance schools across Richmond-Upon-Thames at the Edmund Kean Theatre, for Ignite 2016.
Ignite includes performances from both the Step into Dance Jazz and Contemporary Companies. The Contemporary Company is performing a piece that will take you on a spiralling journey, which makes you look at things downside up! The work has been choreographed by company leader, Lee Griffiths, who is also Artistic Director of hip hop collective, The Company.
The Jazz Company will get your feet tapping with an energetic Footloose number, choreographed by professional dancer Bethany Hague.
Tickets for Ignite 2016 are available at rutc.ticketsource.co.uk or you can call the box office on 0208 607 8225.
Photo: © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Sir Jack Petchey receives knighthood
What better way to begin the New Year than with the news that Jack Petchey has received a knighthood. We are delighted that Jack has been recognised in this way and we are incredibly proud of him and of the Jack Petchey Foundation. Jack’s story is an inspiration to us at Step into Dance and to our students and teachers. If you think you can, you can!
The Jack Petchey Foundation has contributed over £100m to programmes and incentives for young people, including the Step into Dance programme. Sir Jack has year after year funded the high-quality, inclusive, extra-curricular dance classes that we deliver to 200 mainstream and SEN schools in London and Essex. The Foundation also supports such programmes as Anthony Nolan, raising awareness of blood cancer, and the Speak Out Challenge, the largest public speaking competition for young people in the world.
We would like to congratulate Sir Jack on this achievement and the much-deserved recognition of the work he does to raise the aspirations of thousands of young people every year, 30,000 of which have taken part in the Step into Dance programme since its creation in 2007.
Photo: Mark Lees
The end of 2015 is nigh and what a year it has been! We have had some great events with over 2,000 dancers taking part. In this academic year alone we have had five spectacular Step Togethers, involving eleven schools. Twelve crews took part in Step into Battle and we had a sold out audience for the Youth Companies' Christmas Sharing.
We are now winding down for the holidays and our office will be closed from 6pm on Monday 21 December until 9am on Monday 4 January.
We have much to look forward to next term so make sure you have downloaded our year plan so that you can get ahead of the game with our 2016 dates.
From all at Step into Dance we wish you a happy holiday, a terrific start to the new year and we will see you in 2016 for even more fun!
Youth Companies' Christmas Sharing
This Sunday we will be hosting our annual Youth Companies' Christmas Sharing at the Royal Academy of Dance, in the Genée Studio.
85 dancers from our Jazz, Contemporary, Street and Inclusive Dance companies will perform in front of an audience of over 130 parents and friends. Dancers will share some of their classwork, this will include jazz and contemporary technique, hip hop, house, poppin’, lockin’, krump and playing with bowler hats! Each company will also perform a piece that they have been working on.
There will be a short ballet sequence using music from 'The Dance of the Knights', Romeo and Juliet, a contemporary dance piece inspired by the game Twister and an energetic Footloose number that will make everyone’s feet tap!
Photo: © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step into Battle 2015 winners
Step into Battle 2015 was a huge success. On Saturday 28 November over 120 street dancers arrived at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells. Some crews were battling for the very first time, alongside others who were competing for the 3rd or 4th year running. Everyone who took part was a winner showing utter commitment and bravery when entering the cypher.
A special mention for the prize winners: Alex and Prerak from Odin Crew, Hendon School (winners of the 2-on-2 Battle), XI Crew, Step into Dance Street Company (winners of the Mixed Crew Battle) and Odin Crew (winners of the Breakin' Battle).
Individual awards were also given to: Dre Lee (Wansteady Crew, Wanstead High School) for Sickest Skill, Darren Panda (Dynamics, Step into Dance Street Company) for Freshest Flava and Gary Clarke (Dynamics) and Ajoke Lokiki (XI Crew) for King and Queen of Swagga.
Step into Battle is due to return in January 2017 with plans to make it the biggest day of battles yet!
To take a look and download pictures from Step into Battle 2015 click here.
Photo: © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step into Battle ready to raise the roof
Tomorrow over 120 street dancers are gearing up for Step into Battle 2015, at the renowned Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells. This is Step into Dance’s day of street dance where crews battle it out in the cypher, with a live DJ and MC.
Top judges from the UK street dance scene, including member of B-Supreme (all female dance crew), Ana Borges will decide the winners of the 2-on-2, Mixed Crew and Breakin’ Crew battles. This is always an energetic event bringing together experienced battlers and those trying it out for the first time. The day will also include specialist workshops in breakin’, poppin’ and krump.
Step into Battle is very popular this year with 12 crews attending, including the Step into Dance Street Dance Company and plans are already in the pipeline for the event to be even bigger next year!
Photo: © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step into Dance Inclusive Dance Company receive funding
We launched our fourth youth company in September 2015. The Inclusive Dance Company is a creative company made up of 20 dancers from SEN schools on the programme. The group train on Sundays at the RAD, led by Step into Dance teacher Nina Soutsou and assisted by Mahdi Ghali and Zoe Elliott.
We are delighted that the Capital Group have agreed to fund a half term project, enabling the Inclusive Company dancers to work with London-based choreographer and Candoco artist Sarah Blanc on the creation of a new piece. This is the second project of this kind that the Capital Group have funded and we are extremely grateful for their support. We very much look forward to seeing the final piece at Step LIVE! on Saturday 9 July 2016, at Sadler’s Wells.
Photo: © Foteini Christofilopoulou
Focus on... Camden School for Girls
Camden School for Girls in North London have been on the Step into Dance programme right from the start. Dance in the school has gone from strength to strength, with over 100 year 7 students taking part each year and the development of a hugely popular Dance Company who train each week with their teacher Rebecca Carter. The school have hosted the Camden Borough Event on numerous occasions and have been regulars at Step LIVE! Last year, due to popular demand they held their very own Spring Sharing and this year they will do the same.
Ruby Reich, year 8 student says, “When I first came to CSG in year 7, I was most excited about the possibility of performing for the Lord Mayor’s Show and with the Camden Dance Company. I auditioned for both and got in. Rehearsing for the Lord Mayor’s Show was quite difficult at first, but performing was AMAZING! Dancing along the streets with everybody watching us, wearing the Jack Petchey hoodies was an incredible experience and I hope that I get to do it again!"
"The first dance I took part in with Camden Dance Company was to ‘Shake it off’ by Taylor Swift, and we performed it at our school’s Christmas assembly. Then we started to learn another dance to ‘Salute’ by Little Mix to audition for Step LIVE! 2015, at Sadler’s Wells. Meanwhile, in P.E. we were preparing a dance to ‘Revolting Children’ from Matilda, also to audition for the Sadler’s Wells show. Practicing both of these dances was really fun, and when we got into Step LIVE!, with both pieces we were all really excited to perform in front of so many people!"
"I am in my second year of being involved with the dance company, and I love the weekly rehearsals! I think that the Step into Dance programme has boosted my confidence when performing in front of others and made me feel like I can put myself forward for things such as solos."
Photo: Mark Lees
Focus on... Central Foundation Girls' School
Central Foundation Girls’ School, in Tower Hamlets, are now in their fifth year on the Step into Dance programme. The school have an after-school club and have been involved in many of our events. Recently they hosted a Step Together contemporary dance workshop with Mulberry School for Girls and Haggerston School. They also regularly perform in the Spring Sharings.
Tammy Seager, dance teacher at Central Foundation, says, “It has been almost 5 years of working with Step into Dance and I am never disappointed, always impressed.”
Speaking to some of the girls involved in the weekly, contemporary dance classes, one student says, “Taking part in Ellie’s dance classes I have the chance to improve my technique and create complex phrases. I find this beneficial in creating my own choreography and think it will help me with my GCSE Dance course.”
Photo: Foteni Christofilopoulou
Step into Dance becomes an Arts Award Supporter
Step into Dance are proud to announce that we are now an Arts Award Supporter! This means that taking part in our classes, projects and events could contribute towards your Arts Award, for example, taking part in the Ambassador Scheme and Youth Companies.
The Arts Award Scheme is a range of unique and nationally recognised qualifications that support anyone up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders, enabling them to progress into further education and employment. Arts Award has five levels, four of which (Explore, Bronze, Silver, Gold) are on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and the Arts Award Discover is an introductory award.
Visit www.artsaward.org.uk to learn more about completing an Arts Award and contact the Step into Dance team to discover how we can support you by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Alicia Clarke
Focus on... Kingsdale Foundation School
Kingsdale Foundation School are now in their fourth year on the programme. During this time, they have hosted a Spring Sharing and performed at Step LIVE!
A member of the after-school street dance club says, "I was shy when I first started secondary school, but then I saw a poster for Step into Dance classes. At first I was very nervous and not sure if this was for me, then I met my teacher who has helped me a lot. When we came second in the London Youth Games Dance Competition it was a great feeling!"
It is so exciting to hear from schools about their experiences and to spread the joy that Step into Dance can bring through its diverse classes! There are still spaces for SEN and mainstream secondary schools across London and Essex to sign up for 2015/16.
Photo: Foteini Christofiloupoulou
Step into Dance work with over 6,000 young people a year and we have started to track where previous members go onto after their time on the programme. Most recently the programme heard from ex-Youth Company member and Priory School student, Emma Williams.
Emma joined the Youth Companies in 2012 as part of the Street Company and then the Jazz Company up until July 2015. Emma is now studying Musical Theatre at Millennium Performing Arts. She says that being a part of the Youth Companies was what made her want to become a professional dancer. Emma says her time at Step into Dance was inspiring, being taught by a range of teachers and being exposed to various styles. She says, “without the classes I don’t think that I would be going into the career that I am.”
Keep up-to-date with alumni news to see what you can aspire to with the programme.
If you have a story to tell about what Step into Dance has enabled you to do then please contact us at email@example.com
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step into Dance proudly presents the Spring Sharings
We are pleased to announce the new name for our Borough Events.
Step into Dance proudly presents Spring Sharings, a great chance for schools to share their hard work with family, friends and fellow students – same idea, different name! The Spring Sharings are informal performance opportunities open to all the schools on the programme. The final dates and venues are also now confirmed!
There will be 11 events across London, plus additional invite only performances for larger groups on the programme that may not be able to attend a Spring Sharing. Although we consider performing at the Spring Sharings an achievement in itself, groups are selected from these events to audition for our end of year celebration of youth dance, Step LIVE!
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step Together to involve 11 schools
This year, we have offered our free Step Together workshops to all schools on the programme. These joyous workshops bring together two or more schools, to work on a specific theme or project in any style, including contemporary dance, inclusive dance (bringing together a mainstream and SEN school), capoeira, social dance, street and jazz dance.
Five workshops across London have been planned in the autumn term, involving 11 schools. This week the Jack Petchey Academy hosted a Step Together contemporary dance workshop with Stormont House School, both in Hackney. 28 pupils attended and learnt how movement can come from just looking at the London skyline.
Eleanor Collinge, teacher at the Jack Petchey Academy says, ‘it’s a great opportunity to bring together young people of all abilities!’
The next Step Together workshop is on 13 October at St Thomas More RC Comprehensive School with St Matthew Academy, in South East London.
Photo: Alicia Clarke
Step into Dance Street Youth Company – Insight with Darren Panda-Makonda
14 year old, Darren Panda-Makonda, from Highams Park School in East London, is one of the youngest in the Step into Dance Street Youth Company. In the latest and final part of the Youth Company short film series, he tells us how he has been dancing since he was two years old and already has high ambitions, influenced by Michael Jackson’s talent and success! Although Darren’s passion is for street dance he understands how also attending ballet classes pushes him to ‘become a better dancer’.
Take a look at Darren’s story, created by Patricja Cygan and Daniella Rice.
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Step into Dance Contemporary Youth Company – Insight with Ronnie Jellye
Ronnie Jellye, from Sutton, has been dancing with the Step into Dance programme for three years now part of the Contemporary and Jazz Youth Companies. She is ‘so grateful’ for all the opportunities that the programme has given her and says ‘without Step into Dance I would never be the dancer that I am today’.
Take a look at Ronnie’s story as part of the Step into Dance Youth Company film series created by Patricja Cygan and Daniella Rice.
Photo: Mark Lees
Step into Dance Jazz Youth Company – Insight with Katie Howard
Following the release of our first film, as part of the Youth Company series by Patrycja and Daniella, you are now able to take a look at Katie Howard’s story.
You are able to see what it’s like to be part of the Step into Dance Jazz Youth Company. Katie is a student at Highlands School in Enfield and has been on the Step into Dance programme for five years. She says that dance ‘gives you the opportunity to express yourself’ and being part of the Step into Dance programme she has been able to really develop, as the team is ‘so motivating’.
Photo: Mark Lees
An insight into the Step into Dance Youth Companies
Over the past year, in partnership with Eastside Educational Trust two very talented young people: Daniella Rice and Patrycja Cygan have been following three Youth Company members, as they progress through the year.
Daniella and Patrycja have created four fantastic films that we are very excited to now share with you. We will be releasing the films over the next few weeks. The first film – an overview of the companies – is available to view now!
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Eastside Educational Trust project
Over the last year, young filmmakers Daniella Rice and Patrycja Cygan have been working on three short films focussing on three of our Step into Dance Youth Company dancers. The films follow their progress throughout the year and document their experience as Company Dancers. This project is the result of a partnership with Eastside Educational Trust, who support young people through creative projects http://www.eastside.org.uk/
We are absolutely delighted with the films and will be sharing them soon on the website. We would like to say a huge thank you to Daniela and Patrycja for all their hard work and also to Eastside for facilitating the project.
Over 6,000 involved in Step into Dance 14/15
The Step into Dance team have been hard at work looking at what has been achieved this year on the Step into Dance programme and reminiscing about all the great experiences that we've had in schools and on stage.
We have been doing some sums and over 6,000 young dancers have taken part in the programme during 2014/15 and as we all begin to enjoy the summer holidays why don't you tell us your favourite moments from this year on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine using the hashtag - #stepmoments
Photo: Mark Lees
Heartlands dancer goes from strength to strength
Heartlands School were one of four SEN groups to perform at Step LIVE! 2015. After the event, one of the young dancer’s parents got in touch to tell us what an impact the performance and the classes which led up to it have had on his son.
“Llewellyn usually finds crowds and performing in front of people very difficult to manage. At events like birthday parties and weddings he usually asks to leave early and has never managed to stay for a whole event. Since joining the Step into Dance programme he is gaining so much confidence when performing and interacting with others.”
After taking part in the Enfield Borough Event in April this year, Llewellyn’s Dad was amazed by his performance and participation:
"It’s the first time Llewellyn has ever taken part in an event with so many people where he didn't have to leave early and looked like he had the best time of his life. He is a changed boy!"
Soon after the Borough Event, the family attended a wedding. They were expecting to have to leave early as usual; however Llewellyn surprised them by asking if he could stay and dance. Llewellyn had a great time, interacting with others on the dance floor and performing his routine from the Borough Event. His Dad was ecstatic!
“Llewellyn was very proud to take part in Step LIVE! 2015 at Sadler’s Wells, and we can’t believe how much he has achieved as a result of his dance classes. ”
Photo: Mark Lees
Step LIVE! 2015 - A huge success!
Sunday 12th July saw the biggest Step LIVE! yet, watched by over 1,200 people. The event was particularly special this year, coinciding with the Jack Petchey Foundation’s 15th Anniversary and Jack's 90th birthday. Over 400 dancers took to the stage, thrilling the audience with everything from breaking to contemporary dance. The evening ended with a rousing rendition of 'Happy Birthday' to Jack and the auditorium filled with 300 balloons!
Many special guests attended, among them were the President of the RAD, Darcey Bussell CBE, as well as ten Mayors from across the London Boroughs.
Sue Goodman, Programme and Artistic Director says, ‘Every single one of the 406 dancers who danced on that prestigious stage for Step LIVE! really deserved to be there. Their energy, zest and joy were uplifting. There is something very special about so many young people from different backgrounds and with different abilities all having the time of their lives together and in harmony.’
Step LIVE! Excitement
The Step into Dance team are raring to go for Sunday. The flight cases and programmes have been packed and sent to Sadler's Wells and now it's just matter of a few final bits and bobs.
There is still time to buy your ticket if you haven't already, so what are you waiting for?
Jack Petchey Foundation - Speak Out Challenge Final
Last night Jamie Flatters, Street and Contemporary Youth Company member, came second in the Jack Petchey Foundation Speak Out Challenge Grand Final.
The evening consisted of young people speaking about different topics including depression, middle-child syndrome and the age old question of how to get a girl!
Jamie spoke about redefining what success is and what it means. He pointed out that it means different things to different people.
All 15 of the finalists delivered their speeches with passion and conviction. It was a great evening at London’s prestigious Piccadilly Theatre.
Step into Dance group Lambeth Academy also made an appearance in the evening, ahead of their performance at Step LIVE! on Sunday.
Step LIVE! 2015 to involve over 400 dancers
Step LIVE! is taking over Sadler’s Wells next Sunday 12 July. Preparations are well underway to make this Step into Dance’s biggest end of year celebration yet! The number of dancers taking part has been tallied and a whopping 405 performers will be jiving, jumping and even flipping on the stage.
Be sure to grab your ticket soon, starting from £8. Sadler’s Wells foyer will come alive from 4.30pm with street demonstrations from Step into Dance teachers Gavin Vincent and Roxy Bryant, accompanied by the Wansteady Crew and Royal Rebelz. Mahdi Ghali will then be leading a freestyle circle with Roxy – giving you the opportunity to get involved. Look out for Levantes Dance Theatre who will be offering interactive activities. You also have the chance to win an iPod shuffle, a range of luxurious toiletries and dinner for two at the extravagant Queenswood Restaurant in Battersea.
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Mulberry School for Girls perform for Michelle Obama
Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama visited the UK as part of the ‘Let Girls Learn’ campaign, visiting Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, as part of this visit. Dancers from the Step into Dance programme at Mulberry School had the opportunity to perform for Mrs Obama in what was a truly unforgettable experience.
In a speech, Mrs Obama said: "With an education from this amazing school you all have everything, everything you need to rise above all of the noise and fulfill every last one of your dreams. And it is so important that you do that, not just for yourselves but for all of us. Because you all have a unique perspective, you have a unique voice to add to the conversation."
Step LIVE! 2015 Line-Up Announced
After a fantastic week of auditions from 38 school groups the Step team and audition panel made some difficult decisions to whittle down this number to the 17 that are performing on the Sadler’s Wells stage on Sunday 12 July.
The following school groups have been selected for Step LIVE! along with the three Step into Dance Youth Companies, the Teachers' Project and Integrated Project:
Acland Burghley School
Camden School for Girls
Harris Academy Bromley
Heartlands High School
Notre Dame RC Girls' School
Raynes Park High School
St Matthew Academy
St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School
Sydenham High School
Swiss Cottage School
The Grey Coat Hospital School
Townley Grammar School
West Lea School
Step LIVE! auditions take over Rambert Studios
Last week was jammed packed with fantastic Step LIVE! auditions. After a brilliant start to the week at Ravens Wood School in Bromley, we spent two days at the renowned Rambert Studios overlooking the South Bank and finished the week at St Angela's Ursuline and Regent High School. The standard was incredibly high and the panel have some very difficult decisions to make!
Dancers from the Grey Coat Hospital school having a last minute rehearsal before their audition.
Lady Margaret dancers make full use of the forecourt at Rambert before their Step LIVE! audition.
38 schools audition for Step LIVE! this week
Today auditions for Step LIVE! 2015 will be kicking off at Ravens Wood School in Bromley.
This week 38 schools will be auditioning for a chance to perform on the Sadler's Wells stage next month.
Auditions will be held in venues across London including at the home of Rambert Dance Company, on the South Bank.
The audition panel will include the Step team and also SEN Step into Dance Patron, Kirsty Swain.
The Step team are looking forward to revisiting the wonderful work that each group presented at the Borough Events.
Results from this week's auditions will be announced next week, so keep an eye out!
Photo: Mark Lees
Half term projects with James Wilton and Natasha Gilmore
It was half term last week but we were busy here at Step into Dance with two exciting projects running side by side. Eight of our Step into Dance teachers were lucky enough to work with dancer and choreographer James Wilton on a piece which will be showcased at Step LIVE! 2015. Knees and elbows were bruised, but the results were fantastic! Read more about James's work here:
Choreographer Natasha Gilmore was also with us for the week, working with eleven dancers from SEN schools on the programme and their Step into Dance teachers. The piece, also to be performed at Step LIVE! focussed on the strengths and personalities of all the dancers involved. This project marks the start of our first Integrated Company, with many of the dancers involved set to be part of a regular group who will train weekly at the RAD from September, alongside the other Youth Companies. Find out more about Natasha's work here:
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Milo Aylward, youth company member, to join the BRIT School
We are very proud of our Youth Company member, Milo Aylward who has been offered a place at the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology in September, to study dance. Milo has performed twice at Step LIVE! as part of the Youth Companies, as well as with his Step into Dance group from Lambeth Academy. He will again perform this year with the Street and Contemporary Companies. Congratulations Milo!
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Welcome to our new website! We’re still the same Step into Dance on the inside but we’ve had a makeover to bring us up to date with how the programme has evolved over the years.
You’ll notice a lot more photos and videos on the site now, and it’s much easier for you to share these with your own friends or colleagues through Twitter and Facebook. We’re also linked up to Instagram so be sure to tag @stepintodance or use the hashtag #stepintodance and your photo could be featured on our home page.
We hope you’ll find our new website clear and easy to use and enjoy exploring the photos and videos in our Gallery, looking at our list of amazing teachers, or seeing what schools in your area are also on the programme. So dive in, have a look around and let us know what you think on Twitter, Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Our fabulous end of year event Step LIVE! will take place at Sadler's Wells on Sunday 12 July. The event showcases the most exciting work from the programme, including performances from all of our Youth Companies.
The show starts at 18.30 with free foyer events beforehand from 16.30. To book, please visit the Sadler's Wells box office here.
Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou