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Into Dance Making
15 Step Company dancers took part in Into Dance Making, a one-week choreographic residency running in February half term. Zosia Jo led the project as guest choreographer, here is her account of the week:
The project started off a few months ago. I had some great planning sessions with Rachel (Step into Dance Head of Artistic Programme and Development) and the objectives were clear from the start: the aim of the week was for the Company members to learn how broad choreography can be, develop work and ultimately create a unique and personal dance piece.
The young choreographers and dancers were asked to answer a specific question in each of the five days of the project: what is choreography? What is the relationship between dancers, music and audience? What is rhythm? What is space? And what is performance? Dedicating a day to a certain aspect of creating dance work really made the whole learning process smoother. We got to discuss, explore and deepen our understanding of how to put ideas into movement, and movement into a dance piece.
It was fantastic to see the solos and duets come alive. The choreographers started with creating their own unique phrase and then taught it to their dancer. They developed their piece by altering density, dynamics, use of space and connection to the music. They ended the week by performing their work in front of friends and family. Although the sharing was not an essential part of the project, it was very interesting to see how all performers pulled their socks up and it was great to hear the choreographers say a few words about how personal their piece is to them.
My favourite part of the project was that we managed to bring all the participants together. The dancers from the Contemporary, Street and Inclusive Companies came with different background, styles, needs and ideas but they all bonded towards the same goal. Integration I thought would be the biggest challenge but ending up being the biggest reward.
Zosia Jo, choreographer for Into Dance Making
The participants of Into Dance Making were supported by Zosia Jo (choreographer), Emma Houston (choreography project assistant) and Mahdi Ghali (dance support worker).
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.