Instep Dance Company

Saltwood, Hythe

Your story

Instep - The Dance Company who create opportunities for anyone to come and enjoy dance and to feel a sense of belonging to a group with a family ethos which prides itself on valuing all its members , who range in age form 1 year old to 82 years old. We really do offer dance for all

Group introduction

The group has a main aim of offering dance opportunities to our local community, ranging from weekly classes, to intensive projects with professional artists and to high quality performance experiences .
Jackie Mortimer who is the Artistic Director runs instep. She has spent a life time developing dance in a school setting and also in the local community . A team of 15 freelance dance teachers and volunteer parents who organise weekly administration and front of house activity supports her in this
Although the main activity is dance, Jackie is aware that the group fulfills another important function in allowing members to feel valued and appreciated in a group setting which allows them to mix with peers from a range of local schools and also to work across the generations in mixed age companies
The Company has undertaken research of their work over the last 11 years to track the impact of their activity on the dancers they have worked with as follows :
2 went on to be the first members of the Balletboyz "The Talent" one straight out of school without any higher (conservatoire or university) training; he is in his 9th year with the Balletboyz.
2 have freelance careers as professional dancers.
1 was the winning contestant in BBC talent show "Let it Shine" (2017) and is now a cast member of Gary Barlow's touring show “The Band”.
3 are qualified dance teachers
2 work as theatre technicians
4 have established their own companies (2 professional and 2 community)
16 have worked or are working as dance practitioners in the community. 
4 have completed an MA in performance
19 have gone onto study dance in higher education with BA (hons)
6 have gained a first class degree.
9 are currently studying dance in higher education training
6 are due to begin in September 2017
We are also particularly pleased to have included a host of children with special needs including those with downs syndrome, aspergers , autism and mental health issues. It is less easy to measure the impact the work has had on this group, but we have developed a reputation for doing well with this group and are pleased to include them at all levels of our work.
Our tots class offers movement opportunities to those just beginning to walk and at the other end of the scale is our Elders company . the Vivekamayas , the oldest of whom is 82. IN between these two “ poles” we offer 11 other classes which cater for all ages and all needs .
We recognise that our classes offer a learning pathways for our members some of whom stay with this “ family “ for 16 years as they move through primary and secondary school.
In recent years 7 Instep members , recent graduates have returned to the area and have re joined the team as practitioner / teachers

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

We would like to use any funding towards an inter generational dance theatre project called the iiisanmaayas ( little magic power)
The working structure of the Iisanmaayas is to have several core older members and to develop new and very young talent through exposing them to mentorship and a level of expectation and excellence which cannot be offered in regular classes.
We would involve up to 25 dancers in this project
This structure fosters community links bringing together as it does students from different schools and different ages which reaches across primary and seocondary age and also includes adult dancers over 18
It gives the participants opportunities to work on a project which will allow them to be creative and to enjoy physical activity and expression , resulting in a “professional “ standard of work in an extended piece of dance theatre .
We always work to support our dance work with the highesrt possible standard of costume and lighting and sound. We recognise how important it is to work on projects which have end results worthy of celbrayion by friends and family.
To that end the project is focused on the process being rich and engaging and in an end product which all participants and the local community who make up the audience can feel proud of

We would work with a company of 25 dancers

The Impact for the participants would be :
A developed sense of belonging
And feeling of value and having a part to play
A chance for Creative exploration and developing a creative voice
Development of physical skill and fitness
Developing soft skill soft of time keeping, listening, hearing feedback, positive communication .working to improve. Working across ages and learning tolerance and support for one another
Being involved in projects such as this is transformative, giving young people a sense of worth and something to be proud of

The impact for the community is
In our geographical area we know that young people of Year 6 / 7 and 8 have been identified as at risk of making poor decisions about their futures .
Belonging to a project like this involves families in supporting their children , siblings, etc to make a commitment . This engenders life long learning about the value of participation.
The intergenerational nature of this work develops understanding and tolerance and an opportunity to bring different ages together in a context which is safe for the development of meaningful relationships which can develop mentors in the older students and friendship and aspiration in the younger students.
We know that aspiration plays a large part in supporting students to develop healthy and positive attitudes to making decisions which will support them at this stage of their lives and as they move through teenage years into adulthood.

"‘It’s so important to give young dancers a total experience to open their eyes to the world of dance. This funding gives us access to support dancers who may not be in a financial position to attend extra curricular activities and this broadens horizons developing aspiration”. Jackie Mortimer, Artistic Director"

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