Having the chance to watch Joss performing the phrases repeatedly on film helped me realise what I am trying to do. It’s good to have someone so technically accurate demonstrating to try and copy”

Callum yr 3 Kick-Start

Principal Lecturer, Fiona Smith, was awarded an ECHO grant of £1000 to engage a professional choreographer to create an instructional and illustrative DVD that introduces the key principles of dance technique to boys in an accessible and ‘boy friendly’ way.

The filmed material includes a 10-minute ‘set technical warm up sequence’ and a series of centre, floor and travelling exercises/ phrases with instructional commentary.

The funding also allowed for a series of intensive workshops led by choreographer, Joss Arnott to familiarise Kick-Start Dance Company with the content, so that they can perform and teach it with confidence and competence within their own rehearsals and during school based workshops.

“learning the new exercises has given me some really good content to use when  get in to school”

Alex Kick-Start 2

To date the material has been embedded in to the warm up part of many Kick-Start rehearsals and students have in turn gone on to teach similar content as part of school based workshops and during their placements. Fiona said “the benefit of the content for company members has been increased knowledge, understanding and greater confidence and competence in the technical aspects of their performance. The exercises stretch and challenge them to attend to the detail of their movement; they facilitate mastery of fundamental skills related to alignment, foot placement, plies and moving safely and efficiently in and out of the floor at speed.  Having the material ‘modelled’ by a male of similar age proved both accessible and inspirational. The content provided by Joss was well-pitched, highly suitable for boys and delivered in an accessible way.

Working alongside these students on school based workshops and the production of new dances ready for performance, it is pleasing to see the improvement which results from learning the resource content and working hard to refine it”.

Learning the exercises was so hard at the start, you have to be really precise about everything, there are so many things to think about…but I enjoyed the challenge and I definitely think it has helped improve my technique; it’s really helped my flexibility”.

James yr 3 Kick- Start

The material will continue to be disseminated through each new Kick-Start group and will be used to support non-contact work for all students on the DS500 Learning & Teaching Dance and DS601 Examinations in Dance modules and staff CPD for practicing non specialist teachers where appropriate.