I am currently nearing the end of my second year at Plymouth University, studying BA Dance Theatre. I started my role as an assistant practitioner and ambassador back in June 2016 when the Making Waves project was set up. I have recently finished a term of assisting the Practitioners at the Monday evening classes, which run weekly for young people in the Plymouth area.
They have been working on a piece named ‘Over Cast’ which they performed, for a second time, as the curtain raiser for Exim’s own Company Tour at the Barbican Theatre. I was lucky enough to perform with them and it was a great experience to be able to share my knowledge with them of how a professional show runs.
Being part of the dance and rehearsing with them allowed me to suggest notes which may not have been as noticeable from an outside eye. For example, using all of the space so that some of the dancers weren’t hidden at the back and being careful not to rush; to take their time and be aware of each other’s timings.
I created a warm up to begin each session; starting with cardio to raise their heart rate and warm up their muscles, this also brought their attention to the space and focus to the group. I followed this with some travelling across the floor, expanding their floor-work vocabulary (something which a always felt I lacked in my early dance training) I changed parts of each exercise a little each week to keep it fresh, so that they wouldn’t get bored of doing the same thing. However, I finished each of my warm-up sessions with the same travelling movement phrase from the corner; it was rewarding watching them grow and improve on this week by week and hearing that they were really enjoying it.
During my last session we brainstormed new ideas for their next piece of work, including themes, solo and duet work, music and set as well as costume, for which they will be working with costume designer Meier Williams. I was overwhelmed by the creativity of these young people and wish I could continue working with them to develop this piece; however I am excited to see what they create when they perform this summer.
I think Making Waves it a wonderful project, not only for promoting dance to young people and encouraging more of it in Devon and the South West, but also for providing the opportunity for people like myself to kick-start our careers within the industry. An addition, I have gained teaching and leadership skills and my confidence in this area has grown massively. I look forward to continuing my work with Exim and the Making Waves project.
Assistant Dance Practitioner – Making Waves