“Dance transforms lives in the most incredible way,” said Kenneth Tharp OBE and Chief Executive of the UK’s foremost centre for contemporary dance, The Place, at the celebration of Swindon Dance’s thirty-five years of world class dance training in Swindon’s Town Hall.
“And if I might get political for a moment,” he asked to cheers of ‘yes’, “I urge you all to talk to your local councillors to ask them what they are doing to ensure every young person has an opportunity in the arts.”
If anyone needed convincing of the continued support for Swindon Dance, the quality of dance training at Swindon Dance – and the pride Swindon can feel at such an arts resource for young people in the town – their doubts were quashed at ‘Dancing Pathways’.
After a reception, with food and drink supplied by Swindon car dealership and garage Pebley Beach, the invitees were treated to an hour’s top quality performance from the young people who train at Swindon Dance, interspersed with sound endorsements from Kenneth, Swindon Dance students and local teachers.
“A fantastic evening with great entertainment,” said Tracy Threlfall, attending on behalf of Pebley Beach. “Such a talented group with dedication and passion that shines through in everyone’s performance. Lovely to meet both the performers and the team behind them, who put in so much effort to ensure Swindon Dance continues to nurture and support talented young people.”
Dancing Pathways demonstrated how young people could enjoy dance from a young age – whether as a rewarding pastime or ultimately to go onto professional training – as did all twenty-six graduates this year of Swindon Dance’s Youth Dance Academy, a Centre for Advanced Training for exceptionally talented dancers aged eleven to seventeen.
Young dancers from the Swindon Dance programmes primarySTEPS, Stereotype Boyz Dance Group, Swindon Youth Dance Company, the Youth Dance Academy Contemporary and Urban Programmes alongside former student and professional dancer Thomasin Gulgec, danced pieces which were alternately energetic, thoughtful, reflective and fun.
Swindon is one of only five UK towns to host The Royal Ballet School’s primarySTEPS ballet programme for young children; some of whom go onto further training. Swindon Dance also runs the urban dance academy – the only one of its kind in the UK; a boys-only dance group to encourage more young men into dancing, as well as being recognised as the best dance training provider for young people in the southwest.
The event finished with students from the Young Dance Academy Urban Programme alongside members of Plague, a world champion street dance crew, who’ve been working with Swindon Dance for five years.
For more information about Swindon Dance and the classes offered, visit www.swindondance.org.uk
Pictured, from top:
Kenneth Tharp OBE, CEO of The Place (London) with Maria McCluskey MBE, Artistic Director of Swindon Dance;
Edd Arnold and Jodie Evans, Swindon Dance graduates, with Vicki Bailey (centre), Youth Dance Academy Co-ordinator;
Tracy Threlfall, Lesley Jones and Dee Theobald of Dancing Pathways sponsors, Pebley Beach;
Merville Jones (choreographer), Emma Jones (Dance Education and Development Manager), Lizzie Bond (Development and Communications Manager) Swindon Dance
All images by Secret Agent Marketing