I have been working with Exim Dance as an Assistant Dance Practitioner for their newly formed youth project ‘Making Waves’. This project is designed for young people in years 9 and above to discover a safe place to develop creative work which pushes their boundaries, develop their technical skills and allows them to collaborate with different dance practitioners and art forms in the City.
As part of my role as Assistant Dance Practitioner and Student Ambassador, I have been running the weekly warm-up sessions, working with the young dancers to improve their strength and stamina but also working towards developing their skills in contact work, improvisation and focus to start working as a collective towards performances. The young dancers have a very open mind and a working attitude, which has allowed myself to throw new and challenging ideas at them which will develop their artistic and creative visions while learning in a new space.
Alongside the running of the warm-up I have been assisting in the rest of the class, which has involved; shadowing the lead practitioners through a technique phrase and while creating their newest pieces of work.
This term’s objective has been based around creating a piece of work, for a performance at Infinity Dance platform at the Goshen Centre, Plymouth. As part of this performance we have been working with the young dancers to explore contact work and encourage them to push their creative boundaries, to find new and exciting movements instead of using moves which they usually use but in a different order.
When working in duets, we were issued with an odd number of dancers, therefore I was asked to partake in the creation of a duet. I worked alongside one the young dancers, where I made sure I was questioning their creativity in order to create work which breaks their original movement vocabulary and makes their work more exciting for themselves. All the dancers have worked very well to make sure they weren’t always choosing the first move they decided on.
As part of the project, Exim Dance are also giving the young dancers opportunities to collaborate with different artists in the City. This term we have worked with a filming company who created a promo video for the project in order to promote Making Waves, and a way for people in the city to see how the project is helping young dancers to develop and choose a better path for themselves. Next term they will be working with a costume designer for a new piece of work. By working with different collaborators in the city, it is helping the young dancers to see different paths and careers which go alongside performance and dancing.
By working with the young dancers, it has given me more confidence when teaching new students and young dancers, in order to pass on my skills and as well as developing my own teaching techniques. From having this experience of assisting and teaching with Exim Dance, it has not only assisted my growth as a teacher, but also started my career in the dance industry, as I have recently been asked to take on some teaching opportunities with South Hams Dance Academy at local primary schools and also future assistance opportunities with Far Flung Dance Theatre, based in Plymouth. I am also looking forward to any future out-reach projects with Exim Dance in order to carry on networking and teaching within Plymouth and the surroundings areas.
Assistant Dance Practitioner, Making Waves