Exploring Dance: Youth Arts Learning Journey

Emma Louise Barrass is delighted to be mentoring Kelly Whiteside for an exciting Youth Art Learning Journey through Fresh Start for the Arts and Dumfries & Galloway Arts Partnership. Over the next three months Kelly will be working on this inspirational project to develop her dance skills and experience the wider world of dance.

As part of the project Kelly will be recording her experiences in this blog. We hope you enjoy reading about Kelly's Learning Journey. 

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  1. PDK Blog

    Me, Popdancer Sarah & Emma Louise

    Thursday was an early morning, went to Wigtown with Emma to help with the first Popdance Summer camp session! It was really hot but lots of fun and looking forward to next week's session in Newton Stewart.
    We then went back to Emma's to watch some dancing videos. This week, we chose Contemporary dance. It's a style of dance that I'm not really familiar with so I was interested to find out more. We watched Cross Channel by Lea Anderson which I thought was very unusual as it was very gesture based and not something I would usually think of when choreographing. We then watched a documentary called Dance USA which mentioned a lot of famous choreographers like Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown and Merce Cunningham. It went into the history of Contemporary dance and how it evolved which is exactly what I needed because I have never really looked at the history of dance. We then watched a documentary on Richard Alston and I discovered that I really liked his work. He is very creative and I also think he thinks outside the box - his work is unique.
    Emma also gave me a couple of books to flick through - Fifty Contemporary Choreographers and The Rough Guide to Choreography. So I am looking forward to having a read of those.
    I am really enjoying my Youth Arts Learning Journey so far... :)
  2. On Wednesday, I met with Emma to start working on our project. We went over how to plan a session and the things you must consider when doing so. This included health and safety and all the things you need to make a dance session successful. I found this very helpful and learned some new things. We then went on to planning the warm up for our taster session - which will take place on Thursday 22nd August at Douglas Ewart High School from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm. We talked about mobilisation, cardio and stretches which I must think about when choreographing my warm up routine!
    We then watched a dance DVD - Pineapple Commercial Jazz - to get some ideas for the performance in October. I found that the moves in the DVD were quite similar to some of the moves that I have used in my own choreography. I really like this style of dance as it is very energetic and strong with lots of expression. I will definitely take some inspiration from this DVD when choreographing for the performance.
    That night, we had rehearsals for ELDC girls' performance at Relay for Life. I helped the girls with their dances and saw a huge improvement by the end of rehearsals. As long as they smile and dance with lots of the energy, they will do great!
    On Thursday, myself and Emma went to a course at Castle Douglas High School. It was ran by Scottish Disability Sports and was an introduction to the game Boccia - a game especially created for those with a disability. I wasn't really sure what the course was about beforehand except from knowing that it was to do with disability training. So when we arrived, we discovered that it was specifically for Boccia and I had no idea what it was. We did some warm ups and eventually learned how to play Boccia itself. I thought that there were a few things I could incorporate in dance and the course was also helpful in how to approach people with disabilities.
    It was a busy week but I enjoyed it and learned lots of new things. I'm excited to see what next week brings!
  3. My name is Kelly Whiteside and I am a 16 year old from Newton Stewart. I began dancing at the age of six, when I joined a local dance class. It was here that I discovered my passion for dance. I love to dance because it is a great way of expressing myself or when I'm having a bad day, the minute I put the music on and start dancing, I forget all my problems. The only word to describe the feeling when I dance is euphoric.

    I began helping at Emma Louise Dance Club in September 2012 and I thoroughly enjoy it. It is a fun way of socialising and meeting new people. I have definitely gained confidence in helping Emma and I am much more comfortable when leading a class. Also, my knowledge in dancing has increased and I am more creative when it comes to choreographing my own dances.

    The Youth Arts Learning Journey is a great opportunity to develop my dancing skills and learn from world class choreographers. I am very excited to take part in this as it is a dream come to true meet people who share the same the love for dance that I do. I hope this will be greatly beneficial to not only me but others in my community. In the future, I hope that I would be able to share and pass on my knowledge and passion for dance to as many people as possible because in my opinion, it is important to get young people to discover their talents. I'm looking forward to blogging about my YALJ and working with lots of young people. It will sure be a exciting experience for me!