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.”
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.
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!!
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….!
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.
We have been really busy behind the scenes with lots of meetings and networking, ultimately building new partnerships. This has resulted in a new dance project with Parkinson’s UK, a fortnightly class for people with Parkinson’s in the Bromley area and of course, Rise and Rave! a FREE community event. Taking inspiration from Morning Gloryville (the ultimate sober rave phenomenon that has swept the globe) we have teamed up with our DJ friends at Club Soda and our new partner, the Boxpark Croydon. Expect great tunes and lots of exceedingly happy people welcoming in the weekend in true SLiDE style.
Since 2009 one of our founders, Gemma Coldicott, has worked with people with Parkinson’s Disease, helping to relieve symptoms and recapture joyful and free flowing movement. We are therefore really happy to be taking our practice to a new borough, reaching more people. Email Gemma for more info.
Last week we visited The Meath in Godalming, providing residential and day care services for people with epilepsy. The beautiful house and surroundings provides high quality care, including lots of performing arts and education whilst the Art House Meath is a design studio and shop in the town centre. We had a very warm welcome from the staff and residents and sat amongst all their wonderful creations from past performances and celebrations. We are hoping to bring our love of site specific performance projects and creative dance to this new partnership. Watch this space!
We are looking for two new Trustees to join our existing board, could it be you?! We are looking for people who share our passion for inclusive dance and come from a range of professional backgrounds including the business, private and public sectors. Trustees guide the strategic direction of the charity, structure and governance and make key decisions.
We are also looking for a few more Champions! Our champions are advocates for SLiDE, spreading information about our work and help to steer us into new, creative directions.
Trustees and champions are expected to share our vision and be able to commit to 4-6 meetings a year which take place in Croydon during evenings or weekends. You will also be invited to our performances and events, such as our annual fundraising ceilidh.
SLiDE is an inclusive dance company co-founded by Anita Wadsworth and Gemma Coldicott to create engaging and exciting opportunities for people to encounter dance. We specialise in reaching marginalised communities such as people with disabilities and elders. In December 2015 we became a charity adding to our existing status as a Ltd Company. SLiDE works with many partners including The Brit School, St Christopher’s Hospice and Crystal Palace Foundation. Our values are accessibility, creativity, play and quality and we are part of a nationwide inclusive arts sector. For an insight into our work our showreel is available here.
We are a small but very ambitious dance company. If you are interested in joining our board please contact us for an information pack: email@example.com.
This year we had the privilege of collaborating with the patients and staff at St.Christopher’s Hospice. Choreographer Anita Wadsworth and Dancer Louise Klarnett share their reflections.
Images by Ben Joseph ‘I knew that we had to create something that we could perform, but also adapt to the needs of the participants. I chose to create a solo which was a “curation” of movement each person generated each week. The most powerful thing for me is the way that Louise’s solo can be “read” as a list of names, how I remember the people behind each movement, how the dance is a gallery, an anthology of the joy and challenges we shared together. We’re all excited about exploring this project and seeing how it will develop. The solo is a record of the past and our stimulus for the future‘, Anita Wadsworth.
‘One of our participants sadly just lost her battle with cancer. One day one of those participants was in the cafe, in tears from pain, but insisting she attend our workshop. She surprised carers by standing, dancing, engaging and smiling. This film and the b&w photographs are a beautiful record of how dance and movement overrode her pain and illness offering a new space to explore… The solo dance I ‘performed’ lives on and a version was shared at a recent conference. It is still evolving but it’s core belongs to all of the participants of this project, patients, staff and my colleagues’, Louise Klarnett.
I’ve had so much fun over the last 10 years, building a dance career, creating new communities (focused on Croydon) and setting up SLiDE with Anita. It is a rich and rewarding career and I’ve met some incredible people, many of whom are now friends for life. Leaving all this behind to travel for nine months around Southeast Asia was a difficult decision. But this planet is a small one, dance has a global community and after all wifi is generally available. So I’m never that far away.
Starting in January, it only took us a couple of months to reach Cambodia (via Myanmar, Thailand and Laos) and a highly anticipated visit to Epic Arts in Kampot, an inclusive arts company. I first heard of Epic about six years ago and loved how the company evolved, 18 years ago they started out with a cafe run by deaf and disabled people with workshops in the studio above. A few years ago they moved into a purpose built arts centre, retaining the cafe. It was great timing that two friends, Kathryn (Choreographer in residence) and Roxie (Drama Facilitator), were just completing roles with Epic. During the visit I was able to assist Kathryn with her rehearsals with Epic Encounters, the professional company, and watch them perform their latest piece, Come back brighter. Epic is so engrained in the local Kampot life with a craft shop, special needs school and of course advocacy for Cambodian deaf and disabled people. We lingered in Kampot for 8 days but we could have stayed for much longer. Finally there was community again!
So the last 10 years have also been tiring, completing my MA in July 2015 (Inclusive Arts Practice) more or less did me in!! For my final project I created a global community, bringing together 12 musicians from 12 global locations, who accompanied improvised dance and writing via Skype. One of these locations was Vietnam, with Dung, a professional Dan Tranh player (Vietnamese zither). Amazingly during our visit to Hanoi in mid April we were able to share a bowl of noodles. It really was like hanging out with an old friend.
For the time being it’s about the journey through this amazing continent. Maybe I’ll be fortunate to find some more arts communities. But if not it’s only a few months until I’ll be reunited with my home grown one. The time is whizzing by….!
Dance artist Corinne Meredith has been working with SLiDE on our new Street Dance project, where she has been supporting the group and our street dance teachers Brandon and Angus who are graduates of The BRIT School. We asked her what she enjoys about the project and what else she is up to…
So, we’re now at the end of our second Street Slide project. Any highlights?
So many highlights! Each moment watching Brandon and Angus share their skills while they develop and learn as teachers at the same time is such a treat and a unique opportunity for me to share with them. Seeing the energy and excitement that is shared between the group each week is really brilliant. For me learning anything for the first time is exciting and being a part of this process and seeing the pleasure that the dancers get from this is a definite highlight each week.
What’s your own dance experience, how did you become a dance artist and teacher?
I started dancing at my local dance school when I was very small, I fell in love with it straight away and haven’t stopped since. I even chose performing arts at university because I didn’t want to stop dancing. It was so exciting for it to be more than just a hobby for me. I was incredibly lucky to be asked to start teaching at a performing arts school straight after I graduated, and so on Saturdays I would travel out from London to Hertfordshire to teach young people from 4-16 and this is when I realised that I wanted to work with communities and the performing arts. Each week I saw positive things coming out of the work I was doing and was motivated to continue and so to broaden my skills and knowledge I got back into education, studying theatre, all the time dancing myself and teaching and choreographing for others alongside college. I began working in a theatre in Richmond and ran theatre sessions for 7+ years. I realised that I was beginning to edge away from dance and I began to miss it a lot so I decided to bring it back to the forefront of my work as a community artist. I enrolled on the Community Dance course at Laban and I was back hooked straight away, and since finishing in 2015, I have been able to combine my skills and experience and I am very excited by the results so far and looking forward to future projects!
Aside from working with SLIDE, what other projects are you involved in at the moment?
I am the Youth Theatre and Participation Manager at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond so I work there part time and I work as a freelance Youth Theatre Director too. So at the moment I am directing a play for National Theatre Connections Festival with 14 young people aged 15 – 19 and running a variety of projects for the local community in Richmond. I am also assisting weekly carers and toddlers dance sessions in East London and am a member of the Company Support Team for the National Youth Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells. All of which help me to broaden my understanding of this world and each experience informs the others every day.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is meeting new people and dancing with them. For me there is a special connection that is made through our bodies that is exciting and new every time and one that can’t be found in any other way. Seeing these moments happen between people who have never met is beautiful, but most of all, it is always surprising.