We are very pleased to announce that Boys Dancing has been chosen as a finalist for the National Lottery Awards 2014!
The awards recognise the difference that Lottery-funded projects make to people, places and communities across the UK, and Boys Dancing is in the running for the Best Arts Project award.
You only need to look at the Stories section and the testimonials that pop up across this site to see the impact the project has made in the lives of the boys and men, teachers, parents and communities involved, so we truly believe that Boys Dancing is worthy of winning this prestigious award.
Help us win
In order to win, we need your votes! The project with the most votes will be announced as the winner in September, so please click the voting button below, which will take you through to the Awards website where you can vote and help us win:
The moment you've all been waiting for…
All films from Boys Dancing 2013-2014 projects are now online and available to view in the Gallery section of this site, along with images.
Shropshire's Manitou legacy >>
Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire's Artful Dodgers performance >>
Sandwell's Boys Dancing performance >>
Dudley's I performance >>
Worcestershire's Our Brave Sons performance >>
Staffordshire's White Feathers performance >>
We hope you enjoy this amazing record of the fantastic achievements of all the boys, artists, teachers and everyone involved.
Well done, Boys Dancing class of 2013-2014!
If you enjoyed your time with Boys Dancing, we'd love it if you would take a moment to vote for us in the National Lottery Awards. Boys Dancing is up for Best Arts Project. Click on the vote button above or go to www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/project/boys-dancing to vote for Boys Dancing.
I’ve missed the last couple of weeks blogging for Boys Dancing, but with all the activity going on, I hope I can be forgiven! Since my last update, I’ve spent several days in all three schools and had the opportunity to go into Holly Hall Academy to run the lads through their final rehearsals.
I was really pleased with arrangements and rehearsals in all the schools. With groups finalised, we were able to spend time running the pieces and making final tweaks to each piece making sure the performances ran without any hitch. All the groups were well rehearsed and looking forward to the performance on the 27th. My last day in schools was split between Coseley and Holly Hall. Coseley were quietly confident and had really worked to smooth out any snags in their piece. With all the boys fighting fit (some of the lads had been carrying injuries meaning they could only mark certain parts), we ensured that the lads were happy with all the contact work we had put in. I was particularly pleased to be able to go into Holly Hall, who, up to their last rehearsal with myself, had been working with my colleague Ben Morley. Their piece was at a really high standard – unison was tight and together, intention was clear and the piece as a whole had a great flow.
And so came the 27th. Arriving at Dudley Town Hall at 9am, we began preparing the space for the boys’ rehearsals. We were not without snags however. One school had seen works taking place in their school hall since my last visit, meaning they had only had minimal rehearsal opportunity and another had been informed that they would be visited by Ofsted on the day of the performance, limiting their day at the venue to the afternoon only. Fortunately, the groups were all ready to work and the majority had rehearsed to the point where their stage time requirements were minimal, freeing up the space for groups who needed that extra bit of time. When Coseley (who were receiving their Ofsted visit) arrived, they jumped straight into the dress run and, admirably, performed to the high standard I had come to expect from them. We just had time to run through their section of the work in time to run the whole performance a second time.
In what seemed like no time at all, the entire day had passed and the groups and their supporters started to arrive for the final performance. With everyone in their seats, the evening began with performances from two other groups involved in the Black Country Dance Hub, setting the atmosphere for the Boys Dancing groups. And what a performance! The boys really excelled themselves. I always find, even in my professional work, that you can try to give full performance quality to the best of your ability in rehearsal and can still be left wanting, but once that audience arrives and the lights go on, nothing compares with the energy and commitment that becomes apparent. All the hard work, all the commitment, all the rehearsal really paid off – the show was spectacular and both Ben and I agreed that the boys should be incredibly proud of themselves.
All that remains to say from myself and from Ben is a massive thank you to all the boys, their teachers, their families and everyone who supported Dudley Boys Dancing 2014. The whole process has been absolutely fantastic and I look forward to seeing the video footage from the performance and to the next outing for Boys Dancing! Until next time!
St Margaret's at Hasbury, 11 March 2014
Day two. Following straight on from our last meeting, the boys arrived full of beans and eager to get started. We warmed up (it’s terribly important!) and then began recapping the work we had made the last time I visited.
What was very interesting today was that all the sections we had created at our last meeting just seemed to fall into place together. By lunchtime we had pieced nearly two minutes of material together from our first session. The lads were incredibly keen to work and it really reflects in their movement. Their patience and commitment to the project meant that as well as working with the whole group, I was able to take smaller groups aside and focus in on their choreography.
I really don’t want to give too much away (because I want you to come and see the work – 27th March, Dudley Town Hall by the way) but the boys also seem able to carry story and narrative alongside the movement. I threw lots of concepts at them, in terms of dance theatre – use of expression, character, mime – and they absorbed each and every one, putting them immediately into action.
Great day. Great group.
Well. What can I say? Another brilliant day at Coseley. The boys needed minimal recap time and the work looked fresh and well rehearsed, meaning we could set straight to continuing to create our section.
One of the creative tasks I set the boys today was to create a phrase of solo movement. This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually a fairly difficult task, especially when the majority of work these guys have experienced has been collaborative. What also made the task difficult was that I asked the lads to create movement that told us something about themselves, particularly, what makes each of them an individual. An interesting part of the task was that some of the lads had no idea what set them apart. They were unable to see their interests and talents as individuals and it took a bit of discussion before we could identify these qualities. It made me wonder about whether or not their environment affected them – surrounded daily by peers they perceive as hostile means that blending in becomes second nature. And, if that is the case, at what point do we begin to celebrate and demonstrate our individuality? The fact is, these boys are definitely individuals, in terms of personality and talent to name but two things – could they not see this?
Suffice to say, we finished our piece with time to spare and were able to indulge the boys in an improvisation, which they led. Creating a circle and then taking it in turns to move into the centre and perform movement of their own or from the piece. It was a really pleasure to watch – the whole group was incredibly enthusiastic.
“The choreographer's approach as a man to teaching the boys dance was completely different. He let them be boys. I saw boys in a different light. He showed me how different a creative man can be with boys: what an importantly different approach that is.”
Primary School Headteacher
Great second day rehearsal at Holly Hall secondary ..Lads working very hard for @BoysDancing #creative #dance