Here's an update from our man (well, one of them!) in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, Dave McKenna:
So far, we've had 2 days of planning and problem solving with the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire artist team. Orchestrating the 20 groups to be able to come together on one day and rehearse an hour long dance show where they all dance together throughout is just an incredible logistical nightmare! We have a plan though, and classes have now begun to take place.
So far my groups have taken well to the tasks, Wyken Croft Primary School and Nuneaton College are eager to throw themselves around. Now we just need to try the more focused, intimate improvisations on them next to see how that goes. That’s my next task for next week, so far so good!
The composed music is also started to come in and I am very excited about that, very atmospheric, very digital sounding and contemporary. During the weeks to come it will be nice to actually create the pieces with the music, so thank you, Ashley Brown! Great work again.
A great first session in one of our new @BoysDancing schools this year in CSW. A really energetic, daring group @NuneatonAcademy #adrenalin
We're off! The boys of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire are just out of the starting blocks and undergoing their first workshops. It's very early stages at the moment, but our dancers Dave, Adam, Mark and Luke are busy in local schools as we speak; carving out performances for the February 2014 show.
As it's early days we can't tell you much about what they're creating yet, other than it'll be on the theme of 'avoidance' and the art of dancing around the truth... We can also tell you that somehow all 20 groups of boys from different schools and youth groups will come together for the final performance - although they're currently rehearsing separately. This, apparently, will happen by the power of magic. (Or maybe clever choreography...) Our bloggers will keep you posted as the masterpiece takes shape over the coming months, so watch this space...
We have recently appointed two apprentices for the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire branch of Boys Dancing activity, so we'd like to introduce one of them, for the time being - Thato Malebye.
Thato is originally from South Africa, but has now lived in the UK for many years. He first came into contact with Boys Dancing as a participant, when a team came to his local youth centre and performed a taster session. Thato remembers being really impressed by the male dancers:
"Up until that point, dance was never really a masculine thing to me. At my school, most people that did dance were girls. So that was the first time I saw guys my age, being masculine, doing incredible stuff. It was a new thing that I hadn’t seen before: normal guys who just did things like I did, like listening to hip hop, into the whole skateboarding thing, playing a bit of guitar, so I was like 'OK... Guys do this! Maybe this is my opportunity to give it a go?'"
And give it a go he certainly did! Thato now trains in ballet, tap, modern jazz and lyrical - and a bit of capoeira! We're really pleased to have him back on board with the project this year as an apprentice. His relationship with Boys Dancing is a long-running one. To find out more about Thato's story, have a look here.
The fact that you're reading this suggests that you have, in fact, discovered the latest bit of Boys Dancing news. Which is that we have a new website! We wanted to really be able to show off all the fantastic images and videos that have come out of the project over the past few years, so we've added the visuals to almost every page. We hope you agree, it really showcases the brilliant work done by the boys and the professional dancers over the last six years.
There's also the Gallery. Here we've started to collate pictures and videos from Boys Dancing activity past and present. It's not 100% complete at the moment, but we'll be adding more pictures and videos as we go along.
There's also the exciting 'Just Dance' section, which is specifically for boys: those who have and who are taking part in the project. Or are maybe just interested in dance. Here you'll find some videos of male dancers if you're after a bit of inspiration, or some Spotify playlists to get you in the mood for shaking your funky stuff.
We hope you enjoy the new site. Have a look round, make yourself at home.
“I know how difficult it is to set up projects like this in schools but the standard of what the boys were able to produce with the incredibly skilled teaching in short concentrated time was exceptional.”