“Get On Board” appeal to support dance for children and young people

Not long now until the performance on 10 May, where the five young “Get On Board” dancers get to show off the routine they have been learning to help us fundraise for our work with children and young people. Here’s how they are getting on with their rehearsals.

The morning starts with Jack and Jayden practising their solos with teacher Rachel King and Shake crew member Richard, who is working with Jack on his b-boying choreography.

Rachel takes Jayden through the robotic arm movements of his waving solo. “Just keep watching that your thumbs don’t stick out”, she warns before instructing Jack, “Make sure that your poses are clear. Think ‘arms’!”

Although the atmosphere is relaxed, everybody is determined and focussed. After the solos Rachel goes on to perfecting some of the group choreography elements with the two boys: “Why don’t you do a freeze here? Take eight counts to get to the floor – and then you have to hold it for about two counts of eight, is that ok?” Both dancers seem unfazed by the prospect while practising different freeze positions, all of them requiring considerable upper arm and core strength, not to mention an excellent sense of balance. The one-hour lunch break seems well deserved after that.

In the afternoon, Jayden and Jack are joined by Chloe, Kyle and Sameer to practise the full choreography, which is (after only two days of rehearsals!) nearly finished. The piece starts with a lyrical, contemporary solo by Chloe, but do not be fooled, she later switches to krumping, a dance style characterised by considerably more aggressive, exaggerated movement – no gender stereotyping here!

“We want to add the last bit today, so that we have the last rehearsal day to polish the piece”, explains Rachel. For her, the choreography is about showcasing the five different personalities and styles, but also to challenge people to try something different.

“Everybody has been putting ideas in, and because everyone is coming from such a different background it’s been really surprising sometimes; I really enjoyed that. It brings a new perspective.”

Jayden, for example, specifically wanted to work on waving, because it’s slower and a lot more controlled than what he usually does. Jack, on the other hand, has had the exact opposite challenge: “I normally dance a lot more slowly, so it was a challenge to learn a faster style.”

For Chloe, the best bit has been learning contemporary, a style she didn’t really know she could do.

Moving to music is also not new to Kyle and Sameer, who are both gymnasts and used to performing routines together, but both agree that dance is more fluid than gymnastics. “But”, says Kyle, “you can use the gymnastics to your advantage”, and seeing them do handstands and back flips with an almost nonchalant ease, I have to agree.

After a short break, everybody’s back on their feet. “That was good, guys, but I need 10 times more energy!” shouts Rachel, and duly the energy levels are cranked up a few notches.

“I really enjoy how enthusiastic everyone is and all the ideas people are bringing to the table”, she explains. “Normally it takes a bit longer for everyone to have that confidence, but here it took only a few hours. It’s great what these guys have achieved in such a short time.”

Having seen the routine I have to agree. It’s an amazing achievement with only one more day of rehearsals to go before the big day.

The performance will take place as part of the Youth Crew Showcase during hip hop festival B-Town Throwdown on Sunday 10 May, 1-2pm. If you would like to find out more visit www.pdsw.org.uk/getonboard or email Joanne Howard.

To donate to our work for children and young people visit www.pdsw.org.uk/donate


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