A Weekend with Wayne Sleep

6-8 November 2015

As one of a great number of guest lecturers hosted by the university this year to enhance and enrich the curriculum this was an outstanding opportunity for students (involved in dance or not) to meet a distinguished dancer, choreographer, actor and director: Wayne Sleep OBE. Wayne shared decades of knowledge and experience and delivered an in-depth insight into the culture of British dance from the point of view of one of its primary benefactors.

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Over the two days Wayne entertained students, staff and members of the local community with his lively presentation style and energetic dance workshops at the Eastbourne campus.

Event organiser and principal dance lecturer Fiona Smith said of the visit: “This was a memorable weekend for students; the chance to be taught by the legendary Wayne Sleep was an opportunity not to be missed.

“He led fun and energetic jazz influenced workshops which challenged the students, more familiar with contemporary dance.  They opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and exercise their jazz runs and jazz hands!”

wayne 3Wayne had an astounding story to tell as he delivered a key note presentation based on his autobiography Precious Little Sleep. He described his journey from a five foot two lad from a working-class background to principal dancer at the Royal Ballet, and more recently his appearances on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here and Celebrity Masterchef, which were both thought provoking and charming.

Along with the presentation came lively and enigmatic dance workshops; Wayne passed on years of experience and his knowledge of performance and choreography to the university students, staff and visiting students from local primary schools. The workshops focused on technical skills such as spinning, leaping and footwork and lead to a choreographed piece. Students across all year groups had the opportunity to work alongside Wayne and even assist in the delivery of the workshops offered to children and young people of the local area.

Physical Education with QTS student Timothy Jones who took part in one of the dance workshops said: “I really enjoyed the workshops, Wayne was a great teacher and I learned a lot of things that I will take into my future career.”

All in all it was an inspiring and stimulating weekend for all involved and certainly gave an inspiring insight to the possibilities of a career in dance for aspiring dance students as well as an admirable role model and example for future teachers of dance and physical education.

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