Arts & Culture

FEATURE: Step into Dance gears up for Step LIVE! 2015

Step into Dance groups audition to be part of Step LIVE!, a prestigious end of year event, which offers the chance for the most dedicated and hard-working dancers to perform on a professional stage. Step LIVE! is the culmination of the Step into Dance year and is always an exhilarating and exciting evening of youth dance. Step LIVE! 2015 will take place at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 12 July. There will be free foyer events from 16.30 with Levantes Dance Theatre and a street dance demonstration and freestyle circle, before the show starts at 18.30.

This year Step into Dance has run two very special projects that celebrate the calibre of Step teachers, the power that inclusive dance can bring and to inspire students across the schools that they work with. From the 26 – 30 May a five day intensive was delivered by James Wilton and Natasha Gilmore, culminating in two pieces that will be performed at Step LIVE! 2015.

Natasha Gilmore, Artistic Director of international touring company Barrowland Ballet, which is based in Glasgow, has worked with an SEN group (all of whom have come from different schools) plus 4 Step teachers. This is hopefully the core of Step’s new Integrated company which they are planning to start in the next academic year.

Natasha Gilmore, in rehearsal for the Integrated Dance Project Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

Natasha Gilmore, in rehearsal for the Integrated Dance Project Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

James Wilton, international Contemporary Dance choreographer, based in Cornwall, has worked with 8 Step teachers, who all specialise in different dance styles. They are ‘putting them in the spotlight’ to both reward them for all their hard work and to rejoice in the fact that the Jack Petchey Foundation is 15 years old and Jack Petchey is also 90 years old this year!

James Wilton, in rehearsal for the Teachers’ Project Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

James Wilton, in rehearsal for the Teachers’ Project Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou

On day three of the week intensive I was able to speak to both Natasha and James about their experiences so far and learn about the different processes that these renowned choreographers use when creating new work.

Natasha approached the project with an open mind, similar to James – uncertain with what their different groups could achieve, ready to pull out their potential and challenge their minds and bodies. When working with an inclusive group of dancers, with different learning

and physical needs Natasha finds it best to come along with a rough sketch of the proposed piece so that it can be quickly structured and the dancers know what to expect. She has found the process so far very much a collaborative experience, ideas bouncing between her, the teachers and students.

Natasha says:

‘The group is incredibly groovy, I am impressed by how they have risen to my challenges and have been amazing and enthusiastic. It has been great to call on the teachers’ skills for support.’

Natasha’s piece with the group is going to be a celebration of summer, which is very fitting considering Step LIVE! will be hitting the Sadler’s Wells stage just before the Summer Holidays begin. The piece looks at how the dancers all meet on a journey and revel in dancing together.

James met the 8 Step teachers with the intention of allowing the piece to evolve naturally, which has led to the teachers’ specialisms enhancing the overall picture. Fluid phrases of seamless full-bodied movement contrasts with isolated, jolty actions.

Young people seeing some of their teachers dancing will surely ignite their aspirations of what is achievable and the endless possibilities of how different dance styles can influence a piece.

Book your tickets now for Step LIVE! 2015 and join over 350 young people as they take to the stages of one of the biggest dance venues in the UK.

Date: Sunday 12 July
Who can attend: Open to people of all ages
Fee: Tickets from £8 – £15
Venue: Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R

Follow Step into Dance on twitter and like their Facebook page now for a low down on the groups hitting the Sadler’s Wells stage!

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