Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire

We've been working with boys and young men in schools and youth centres since 2006, creating live performances and dance films. In February 2014, 20 groups of dancers will be joining together to make one giant performance in our concert hall at Warwick Arts Centre. There will be over 200 boys dancing to a live DJ plus music composed for the show.

Project Updates:

  • Wyken Croft heroes!

    I had a great session at Wyken Croft this week! I haven’t seen them since the first session 5 weeks ago and I imagined that I would have to start the process all over again.

    How wrong I was!!!!

    Not only had they been practising all the material but they had also created a 3 minute structure using all the ideas!!!! The session was only 1 hour 15 minutes, but it felt like 30 mins the time went so fast. On the other hand could have been 3 hours considering the amount of rehearsing we managed to achieve. Such a great school, with brilliant support from the teacher and a really talented, enthusiastic, hard working group of lads. I’ve posted some little snippets here of what they've done for the other groups in CSW to watch. They are really great positive role models - and only year 5+6! BRILLlANT!

  • Frederick Bird newbies

    Frederick Bird Primary School in Coventry are new to Boys Dancing, but all the lads seem pretty enthusiastic about their very first session with dance artist Dave McKenna, if the shouts of "Yeah man!" are anything to go by!

  • First Sessions

    Over in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, lead artist Dave McKenna has plenty to ponder on, following the first few sessions. Here's an update from Dave:

    "So it has been a couple of weeks of facilitation for me now on the Boys Dancing project in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire (CSW) and I have a list of issues to mull over regarding our ambitious performance in the Butterworth Hall at Warwick Arts Centre and each school's creative time of only 7 sessions:

    • How do the schools that only have 1 hour rehearsal sessions instead of the normal 2 hours explore all the choreographic ideas thoroughly when there is so much pressure to move on quickly and make choreography for the performance?
    • How can the choreographers that are working with the new recruited schools for 2013 work on the more sensitive choreography required in the ambitious performance plan for CSW when at least 2 or 3 of the sessions are spent gaining their trust and meeting their initial expectations?

    To gain the trust of the new groups my approach has been to go back to old, tried-and-tested tasks, just to get them inspired and empowered in creating their own dances. This material really should find its way into the end structure of the show. As I continue to rehearse and structure this material in the sessions it has diluted the time that I have available to spend exploring the more challenging, sensitive, improvisational material we had planned to create. Therefore what is the impact going to be on the final rehearsals all together - and the end performance?

    Each school that I have visited so far has also brought their own challenges.

    Start times in some places are later than I have anticipated as some of the rooms are not ready because the dinner ladies are still cleaning up and also some of the lads take ages to get changed. When you are running an hour session and you start 10 minutes late that is a massive loss of rehearsal time!

    Some schools have 2 week gaps in between sessions, so if there are no support rehearsals in that gap then again a lot of rehearsal time is lost as dances get remade because the boys can’t remember what they created.

    Some of the groups did not even know that it was a dance project so gaining their trust has been a longer process.

    What is common though is the boys' positive attitude when challenged to create their own choreography and they have all been really eager to fly, slide, roll and flip around the room.

    This is going to be such an incredibly challenging project! I’m sure others involved in this ambitious project are feeling the same - so let us know how you are all getting on!"

  • Nuneaton lads get creative: video

    Here at Boys Dancing, when our dance artists start to work with a group of lads who have perhaps never danced before, they don't just tell them what to do. Part of the fun of the project is that the lads themselves get involved with devising moves and they work together with the professional dance artists to choreograph their final performance.

    In Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, the Nuneaton lads have proved themselves keen to throw themselves into the project and have already come up with their own bits of choreography. Dance artist Dave McKenna, who is working with the group, captured a lift that the lads devised at their last session:

    If you're coming to their performance at Warwick Arts Centre, see if you can spot this lift!