Over the next few months, join us looking back on all the wonderful projects Plymouth Dance has delivered over the years. Next let’s throw it back to the projects we have delivered within schools all across Plymouth…


Project: The World At Your Feet                                2012

The World at Your Feet celebrated the richness and diversity of cultural migration in Plymouth.  It aimed to raise awareness of the positive impacts of migration in the City, to challenge racism and encourage community cohesion, especially in relation to cultural integration.

The tour of original dance was created by 7 high quality young people’s dance companies based in the city working with 7 professional artists and 4 young composers. The work focussed on issues of migration and demonstrated a variety of dance styles, this was performed to audiences from 17 schools at 10 venues across the city, reaching over 700 young people and their families.

A brand new partnership was formed for this project; dance organisations, (Plymouth Dance + Attik Dance) music organisation (Plymouth Music Zone) and theatre organisations (TRP + Barbican Theatre) worked together for the first time in collaboration with Plymouth City Council to drive the project forward. Also in partnership with Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council.


Project: Ignite, Engage, Inspire                                  2011-2014

The project, led by Andi Higginson, was focused on implementing dance into every special school across the district of Plymouth City Council. We provided training and development to improve the skills and ensure quality of practice for participants and practitioners and those already working with the target groups (volunteers, Teaching Assistants, Teachers, Families and Carers). Through the provision of dance, the aims were to improve social interaction, physical fitness, positive behaviour, communication and physical awareness.

Over the 3 years of this project:
> 3,022 workshops took place across 6 special schools
> 16,000 dance opportunities experienced by 1,500 children
> 7 Student Researchers were placed on the I.E.I. project
> £160,145 was brought into the local economy through the schools project

“I feel good about myself, makes me want to do more” (Child participant, Brook Green School)

“Dance helps with rhythm and with the semantics of literacy and numeracy and counting, it helps with pattern. It also helps […] with the spatial awareness because a lot of our children […] haven’t got this body awareness. Dance feeds into that and it’s a part of a reasonably big jigsaw that is a vital element” (Teacher, Courtlands)


Project: Help! I Can’t Teach Dance                            2014

The project was created in 2014 to expand teachers’ physical and verbal vocabulary within dance and through practice and observation, enable teachers to teach dance using a balance of physical and verbal communication skills, including the use of appropriate dance terminology within lessons. The success of the project led to a second round of delivery at another primary school the following year.

“There is a snowball effect with boys when getting them engaged and clearly this clearly progressed throughout the project. There was a mental attitude/fear of dancing in front of people, but once in the session they’ve been really brilliant but in the first session they were really sluggish and reluctant but ended up really achieving.” (participating Teacher)

“I feel confident with planning and structuring classes. My original concept/understanding of how you can develop dance material has changed – you don’t have to create a set dance yourself and just teach the movement on” (participating Teacher)

“Stereotypes have been banished through the sessions – the children were allowed to laugh- have fun-want to join in- enabled them to show real effort- the children really adapt at giving constructive feedback- attention as an audience has developed.” (participating Teacher)


Project: Engaging Schools                                         2014 – 2015

Engaging Schools was a pilot project for a Secondary School cultural engagement graduate  programme. Two dance graduates supported school dance teachers delivering the dance curriculum at the two participating schools: Stoke Damerel Community College and Marine Academy Plymouth.

The dance graduates helped develop new dance activities and inspired the dance teachers enabling them to reflect on and developing their own teaching methods and creative dance practice. At the same time, the graduates improved their confidence and experience working with secondary school students from range of backgrounds.

As a result of the project, many of the school students said their aspirations had been raised and approximately 80% of the students then participated in dance activity and/or watched dance performances outside of school. The project also developed and consolidated invaluable links between the schools and citywide dance providers and dance opportunities.

“The Engaging Schools project has made me realise where dance sits within schools and how it is often devalued and deprioritised. As an outside practitioner this has inspired me to teach and create more opportunities in the community and in schools as after school classes to engage more students.” (Dance Graduate)


Project: U.Dance Schools Tour                                  2015

Plymouth Dance was chosen to host U.Dance 2015 and as a part of this national festival delivered a series of wrap around community events to help support the engagement of local people; this included our schools tour. Plymouth based youth companies were commissioned to create performance pieces themed around World War One. The youth companies were Adapt, Company B, Company J, Street Factory, South and WheelFever, and they toured to Plymouth schools throughout the summer term. The works were also performed at MegaReach charity presentation for visiting students at Plymouth School of Creative Arts which resulted in a successful event for all those involved. Additionally, outdoor performances were showcased within some other Plymouth Dance projects: Dance in the City and Dance PLYMOUTH Dance, which were also greeted with enthusiasm and respect by the public.

During the tour, PD invited groups from the schools to perform, resulting in additional pieces from City College, Tor Bridge, Stoke Damerel and Plymouth School of Creative Arts, as well as Bharata Natayam performances from Space Shot, a Barefoot project in Ernesettle.

> 114 training sessions / rehearsals
> 68 performers
> 10 performances
> 763 audience members

“It was a real eye-opener for our students and it showcased the potential of dance as an equalizer -everybody can dance!” (Stoke Damerel School)

“Students were in awe at the quality of the performances and the professionalism of the performers.” (Stoke Damerel School)