Dancing through the lockdown

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”
Martha Graham

Here we are again with a stay at home order, inevitable given the situation but difficult for us all especially given the mental health challenges at this time of year. SLiDE will continue our online programme throughout January and February and maybe beyond, hard to know at this stage. But we hope we can bring a little bit of light and laughter to these grey and uncertain times.

January schedule:

Dance for people with Parkinson’s: Mondays, 2-3pm

Creative dance for adults: Tuesdays 11-12pm and Wednesdays 2-3pm £5 suggested donation (per class)

SLiDE youth co: Thursdays 5-6pm termly fee

Disco into your day: Saturday/Tuesday/Thursday £1 suggested donation (per class)

This Girl Can: Wednesdays 11-12pm, booking: emily@slidedance.org FREE class

Our Dance Artists are energising, motivating, patient and kind and are looking forward to seeing you on the living room dance floor!

Happy Christmas!

It was certainly not the year we had all planned for and it was challenging like no other. The beginning of the lockdown heralded a new era and although we took time to consider it we took to Zoom and began our online dance journey. Fortunately the generosity of our funders meant we could refocus our projects and this resulted in some beautiful outcomes such as our dance film ‘Knowing Togetherness’. Despite the various stages of the lockdowns and uncertainty our community galvanised and emerged stronger as a result of our creative exchanges and care for each other. We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us to get through this year with their donations, time, patience, spaces, shout outs and support.

Wising you all a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year,

Much love, Gemma and the SLiDE Team

Covid-19 update

In view of the covid-19 developments and the fact that venues are closed/closing, all our activities (classes and performances) are suspended/postponed until further notice. We are truly going to miss all our dancers and artists over the coming weeks and we hope you stay well.

On the brighter side we will be dipping into the archive and sharing some of our best moments from the last seven years.

We remain hopeful that we can withstand this period of uncertainty and fully intend to come back stronger with renewed energy and vigour.

Thank you to our team of inspirational artists, assistants, producer and trustees for your work so far this year. Also thanks to our network of parents, carers and partner organisations, who support people to access our projects. We are sending virtual hugs to you all during these exceptional circumstances.

Much love
Gemma xxx

Inclusive Dance Practice Course with SLiDE…

Wednesday 9th and 23rd October 10-5pm at Fairfield Halls, Croydon (CR9 1DG)

£60 a day or £100 for both days

Join SLiDE Artistic Director and SLiDE dancers for CPD in inclusive dance practice. SLiDE leads classes and projects in the community with a wide range of ages and abilities and we will be sharing our inclusive dance methodology.

This is suitable for dance students and graduates, dance teachers and artists who want to refresh their skills or are thinking of a new direction. It is also a great chance to meet the company as we start a period of expansion and development.

In the morning you will experience inclusive dance improv games and exercises. In the afternoon we will be joined by some SLiDE dancers, when you will have the opportunity to lead an exercise (if you wish) or work with the dancers in small groups. There will also be time for reflection and a debrief at the end.

More info/to book: gemma@slidedance.org

Boost to dance programme for people with Parkinson’s

Thanks to some generous funding from Croydon Relief in Need we are working with the Croydon Parkinson’s UK local branch to invigorate and develop their dance programme for people living with Parkinson’s.

Mondays 1-2pm Purley United Reformed Church, CR8 2LN, tea and coffee afterwards.

First & third Thursday of the month, 12.45-2.15pm St.Mildred’s, Addiscombe, CR0 7EB

These classes are for people with Parkinson’s and carers are welcome too. The classes use various styles of dance such as contemporary, ballet, creative and ballroom dance. They are accessible to all ages and abilities, with seated and standing options throughout. The relaxed environment offers a sense of freedom to be creative and make mistakes! Laughter guaranteed, all welcome.

Over the past 10 years the research into dance and PD has been significant and shows a strong link between dance and improved health and wellbeing. In April 2015 English National Ballet released a report following a three year research study into the benefits of dance for PD:

‘The main benefits of dancing with Parkinson’s are in the mental activity it provides and in emotional and social health and wellbeing. We can conclude that dancing is a good and challenging mental workout for people with Parkinson’s and allows some participants to cope better with symptoms and disability. It offers a positive environment where there is a community of support through dance, allowing participants to nurture positive attitudes to the future and a sense of independence’.

For more information, an information discussion about the project or to book call Gemma on 07887 781361 or email gemma@slidedance.org

Seeking new trustee: SLiDE Treasurer

Would you like to contribute to a small but vibrant inclusive dance charity? We are currently looking for a new trustee to join our board, which meets 4 times a year in Croydon:

The treasurer is responsible for maintaining the annual accounts, raising and processing invoices. You will need to have bookkeeping experience and an interest in inclusive dance.

A CV, application form and two references will be required for these roles. For more information please get in touch: gemma@slidedance.org

Photo: Vipul Sangoi

Insert Title Here: an invitation to view, to dance, to reflect.

Photo: Peter Ball

Would you catch me if I fell?
You arranged, positioned and orbited me with thought and care, responding to my body
Together we revisited a memory looking deep, seeing a fresh
Uncovering images, intention, authenticity and Summer filled the room.
Is it really April?

Yes, it was really April (in that heatwave) and we were in the studio developing our latest intergenerational dance performance. I say latest but actually it has been a while, over 4 years, since our last full length piece. Like most creative processes it came with a fair amount of hope and uncertainty, knowing and full on ‘what the hell are we doing-ness…’ However I needn’t have worried as the conditions were right. It was clear from the first day of being together it was the right people in the right place at the right time. This project had been brewing for a while, a culmination of several research projects and small steps forward.

Maybe it is the diversity of the performers aged 18 to 62, some with a disability, some with professional level training and experience, but through our process of being together we created harmony and support. Or as one audience member reflected, “I would describe the piece as ‘destination happiness’, an inspirational way of being. It was very moving.”

Photo: Peter Ball

The project started with an invite to a host of Artists: Dramaturg Louise Katerega, Dancers, a Cellist from the London Mozart Players and a selection of SLiDE dancers. The invitation carries on into the piece, with the audience invited to name it by providing answers on a postcard. The premiere at the Croydonites Festival of New Theatre resulted in the title, ‘Ships and walls: Where old memories fell’. 

The invite is now firmly in the Croydon community as we take the core elements of the piece ‘on the road’. So far we have danced with Indian Dance students at Apsara Arts and with elders at the Croydon African Caribbean Family Organisation. Thanks to one of our dancers, Takeshi Matsumoto originally from Japan, we have been able to share a traditional Japanese Folk Dance with these groups. This folk dance has transcended cultural differences and has ‘spoken’ to those who have dance it with us (something for future investigation here) as well as providing a jubilant ending to our performance.

There is one more invite to join us as we will be performing <Insert Title Here> as part of the Crystal Palace Festival on Sunday 17 June at 3pm. Tickets are £5 for adults and under 18s are free. We are already looking forward to sharing this work again and wondering what the audience will name it!

No one quite knew how we got there but a knowing togetherness emerged.

Photo: Peter Ball

This project has been supported by the Arts Council England and Croydon Council.


Tomorrow our wonderful performers will take to the stage to perform <Insert title here>, the show which we perform and the audience name! Through improvised dance and music the performers reflect on the past, questioning what brings us together and how we create a sense of ‘us’.

Putting the show together has been a glorious process. The creative team led improvisation tasks in dance and music, overseen by Dramaturg Louise Katerega. Our collaboration with Sarah Butcher, a Cellist with the London Mozart Players, has been a unique and inspiring experience enabling us to push the boundaries and challenge ourselves in new creative ways.

Our show at Croydonites Festival is sold out but tickets are still available HERE for our second show on Sunday 17 June in Upper Norwood, SE19.

Huge thanks to Croydon Council and Arts Council England for helping us to make this happen.

There will be more from us, and from <Insert title here>, once we have reflected on tomorrow’s performance. Wish us luck!!


Where does the time go!

We can’t quite believe that it really is February 2018, time is flying. We finished 2017 on a really positive note with a beautiful small group of our dancers projected onto the M&S building on Northend. Double Take Projections did a great job putting together the footage from our green screen film shoot. No one was ready for 25 foot tall SLiDE dancers but it was awesome and hundreds of people watched it!

And now we wait…..is Croydon going to be the Borough of Culture in 2019? Plus we have some exciting funding outcomes coming soon. So plans are a little on pause at the moment but we can definitely announce there will be more parkour/dance projects this Spring, watch this space. We sincerely hope that Croydon and SLiDE will be reaching new heights this year….!

U.Dance! SLiDE invited to Birmingham dance festival

SLiDE is very pleased to announce that our youth company has been chosen to represent London at U.Dance 2017, taking place in Birmingham. The four day festival will give us the chance to perform at the Birmingham Hippodrome and take part in high quality dance workshops, with companies such as Candoco, Motion House and ACE Music and Dance. We will be performing our latest piece, Ubuntu, about group cohesion and community.

If you are able to help with a donation towards our costs we have a funding page here. This is the first time we have been on a residential trip. The sense of independence and the range of dance skills the group will be developing is HUGE. Naturally there will be significant costs of taking 14 young dancers, disabled and non disabled, and chaperones which includes food, accommodation, travel and staff costs. Thank you for any help you can offer.


U.Dance is organised by One Dance UK and more information can be found here. There will be 30 other youth dance companies from around the UK and the National Youth Dance Company of Scotland and Wales taking part.