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. It has been a few weeks since I last wrote a blog post but I have just been so busy putting my show together! We are just over a week away from the first performance in Stranraer and I'm starting to get nervous but excited at the same time.

    Over the past few weeks, I have been choreographing and teaching my Michael Jackson dance routine. I have had 7 people come to my class overall, it's a good number although I would've preferred it if I had few more so I could do more things. However, it has worked out it really well with the amount of people I've got. My team of dancers are - Jamie Kiltie, Katherine McCarthy, Rachel Barr, Siobhan Williams, Lydia Taylor, Axl Manson and Adam Fry.

    We had a four hour rehearsal on Sunday. My dancers mostly know the choreography but it's just a case of sharpening up the movements, making sure everyone is in sync. I really want this to be as perfect as possible - it must be full of energy and expression like the King of Pop himself.
     
    I'm adding the finishing touches to my Britney routine as well which I'm very excited to perform. I've grew up watching her videos and learning her choreography so I'm really looking forward to finally doing it on a stage!
     
    I really hope we get a good audience on the nights of the performances because me and my dancers have put a lot of time and effort into this show! I am so proud of my dancers and I hope they have enjoyed themselves. Roll on performance time!
  2. Last Wednesday, I started my first ballet class with Emma. I decided to take the class because I was advised to by a couple of the teachers at Pineapple Dance studios. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would - it involves a lot more thought than the dancing that I'm used to. I did find some of the movements a little difficult and my muscles hurt too afterwards.

    Thursday was week two of dance rehearsals for my show. I only had 8 but 3 of them were boys which is good because I was worried in case I wasn't going to get any boys at all. I finished teaching them the Thriller section of the Michael Jackson mix and I must say, they did really well considering it is quite a complex dance. This Thursday I hope to move onto Billie Jean!

    As I want more people to be involved in my show, I performed a demonstration at the first year assembly at school. The headteacher told them all about it and I performed 'Pop' - a dance I choreographed almost a year ago now. I had a few come up to me and ask about it so hopefully I'll have a few more this Thursday.

    On Sunday, there was a Dumfries and Galloway Dance and Movement Practitioners Network meeting. There was a ballroom dancing workshop afterwards with David and Lynn Walker which I was very excited about! My Granny and Grampa used to do ballroom dancing when they were younger so it is something I have always wanted to do since I was young but I've never had the opportunity. David and Lynn showed us several types of ballroom dances - it was really beautiful to watch. We then had a go at it ourselves and it isn't as easy as it looks! I enjoyed it and it's a shame that David and Lynn don't do classes down here as it is something I'd like to continue with.

    Dancing in the famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

  3. Last Friday, myself and Emma started planning for my first dance session. I finished my warm up to Bruno Mars' Treasure and Emma made me teach it to her as if she was one of my pupils. It was good practice and Emma gave me advice on how to improve my teaching. We then started putting together a megamix of Michael Jackson songs for my show. It is made up of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Pretty Young Thing, Beat It, Billie Jean, Thriller, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel and Smooth Criminal!

    Finally, Thursday came and it was time for my first session! A total of 9 people turned up - I was happy with that number but a few more would've been great. I started teaching my warm up routine, I was nervous but once I got started I was fine. My dancers picked it up quickly so I was pleased! We then played some ice breaker games - the High Five Name Game and the Stage Game which is the same idea as Port and Starboard but using performance and stage terminology.
     
    I then went on to teach a section of the Michael Jackson dance - Thriller! I was looking forward to teaching this because I love the dance so much. I taught the dance up to the famous 'monster' walks and I told the kids the advice that Anthony King told me - you have to perform like a king with lots of power and energy if you want to dance like Michael Jackson. By the end of the session, I thought everyone had picked it up well and they were doing it with great attack!
     
     
    Overall, I thought my first session was great. I felt more comfortable teaching a bigger class than a smaller class which I think is strange! But I thought I was really confident and I really enjoyed it. I just hope that next week more people turn up - the more the merrier! :)