On a myth busting mission…

At SLiDE we think it’s time to demystify some dance myths and really get to the bottom of that age old question: so what is creative dance?

We’re going to start by explaining what it’s not. It’s not…..

…spending time in a dance studio channelling your inner tree.

…being asked to devise a 30 second post-modern reinterpretation of ‘Thriller’ (Although that does sound rather cool)

…just rolling around on the floor.

…learning a set dance routine

But, equally, it could be all of the above, if any of it sounds appealing. Because creative dance is about YOU! It’s about playing, discovering, exploring and celebrating the different ways we all like to dance.

So, for us, creative dance is:

…getting people together in a room for a defined period of time, generally about 2 hours.

…forgetting everything else apart from being in that room and having fun.

That’s pretty much it. Oh, except you will also be given the time to drink tea and listen to a fantastic array of music which cannot fail to make you want to move.

And if you still don’t think you’ve grasped what it is (and actually we wouldn’t blame you) there are two things you can do:

And, we’re not ending there. ‘Lucy and the Party’ hits Croydon next week when adults get to be kids in theatre for all.

SLiDE Dance. Here to serve.




New journeys, new destinations

We (that’s Anita & Gemma) seem to be all over the place at the moment. But in a really good way, as SLIDE is moving upwards and all kinds of ways.

2015 is about developing our community projects with new monthly dance workshop for adults with learning disabilities, in collaboration with CALAT and Club Soda. We kicked off in January when we were joined by 20 brilliant dancers. We can’t wait for the next one: 21st Feb. Book here.

In the Spring we will be delivering a series of workshops for families to promote active and healthy living, supported by a grant from Croydon Heart Town (CVA). More details on this to come!

AND…..SLiDE  and The BRIT School have been selected to perform at Trinity Laban as part of U.Dance, a national youth dance festival led by Youth Dance England. Performance date: Sunday 26th April.

Excitingly we are both Artists in Residence in the coming weeks. Anita was selected to spend a week in Stanley Halls developing a new piece for families with storyteller Naqiya Ebrahim, as well as her own children who are 5 and 3. Stanley Halls is about to open after 15 years so we are excited to be part of this special event for South Norwood! The event is 13th February, tickets: Invention Theatre. Whilst Gemma will be Artist in Residence at Brandon Library in Southwark, part of the SPINE festival with Apples and Snakes.

On February 14th, we head to Move It! We will join the inclusive dance conversation, represented by Candoco, Stopgap and SLiDE, when we will share insights into our practice through our work in schools and the community.

Phew! really excited about the coming months. Keep up with us, if you can! @Danceslide, Facebook, Flickr

The winners are…

Last time I looked we were dancing in a park in glorious sun! But time has flown and what with little people starting school, Gemma dancing in Japan, sliding down slides AND a nomination to be Croydon Art Champion, we have been busy!

So what next? We are excitedly planning our ceilidh for Saturday 29th November! Anita is working with The Friends of Oasis Shirley Park Academy and Director Owen Kingston to create a magical installation for the Christmas fare, taking a new look into performance for families. Gemma has been working at the Royal Academy of Dance on Step into Dance’s first ever integrated community project. Fun times!

Finally, drum roll, we want to show you the winning drawings and poem our Come Slide with us event!


 There are more drawings, poems and photographs taken by the children in our new Children’s Gallery.

Now that was awesome….

We are only just recovering from the celebrations of SLiDE and sliding, it was a truly great 10 days of creativity in the community.

SLiDE’s Southank performace for the Unlimited Festival was tremendously well received:

I wanted to say how
much I enjoyed SLiDE’s performance. There was a lovely structure to the piece, which enabled each dancer to shine and be challenged.

Hannah Dye, Learning Manager, Candoco Dance Company.

Naturally our visit wasn’t complete without trying out the ‘Sliding gate’, an installation of slides by artist Sean Griffiths, which couldn’t have been better timed!

My challenge Woman vs Slide, was completed with style and panache. Apart from the size 9 flip flops I had to wear for most of the second day (long story!) I raised a whopping £928, which will enable SLiDE to hire space for approx 44 hours, setting up some new pilot groups. As a thank you to our 40 backers and various supporters, check out this compilation of my slides!

‘Come slide with us!’ last Sunday drew the celebrations to a close, with SLiDE joined by Levantes Dance Theatre and Parkour Dance. The weather was fantastic and, by the finale in Lloyd Park, the audience had reached over 100. The aim was to bring our SLiDE values of play, fun, accessibility and creativity to Croydon’s parks and that was definitely achieved!

We have so many people to thank, including the Univetsity of Brighton, Economic and Social Engagement department, Snappy Snaps Croydon, Kevin Ahronson, Beanies, and all the Artists and staff who made the event a success. Plus the man and his dog who took Anita and I on a much appreciated short cut from South Norwood Lakes to Westow Park!



The celebration continues….

We are quite literally on the cusp of a 10 day slide extravaganza! And you can join in….there’s something for everyone!

4th September: Performance in the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall, between 5-6pm. This is part of the Unlimited festival and we will get to dance alongside many of our friends such as Stopgap and Corali. Nearest BR Waterloo.

5/6th September: Woman vs Slide, still time to pledge! Gemma is sliding around Croydon to raise money for SLiDE to reach more people. Wooooo hoooo.

7th-13th September: keep your eyes out for competitions and give aways on our Facebook and Twitter.

14th September: Come slide with us! A fun family afternoon in Croydon Parks, from 2pm. We will be joined by our friends from Levantes Dance Theatre and Parkour Dance…to bring you drumming, drawing, edible tattoos, photography, free running demos, performances and CAKE!!!!!!!! Start off in one of two Croydon Parks and then we all seamlessly join together for a finale in Lloyd Park!

North Down tickets (nearest tram King Henry’s Drive)

Wandle Park tickets

We hope to see you virtually or literally during our celebrations!

Anita & Gemma

CYTO Dance - Kevin Ahronson Photography -158.jpg

A celebration of SLiDE!

Join us in celebrating slides and help SLiDE reach new audiences!!

Woman vs Slide: Gemma will be kicking things off on 5/6 Sept with her challenge…she will be sliding down every single slide in the borough of Croydon. That’s 42 slides in 24 hours, WOW! And….you can sponsor a slide, just go to our campaign page on Indiegogo!

The celebrations will continue with competitions and give aways and will culminate in Come slide with us! We have been awarded a grant from the University of Brighton Enterprise Team, Beepurple, to run a community day to celebrate playgrounds and slides in Croydon. This will take place on 14th Sept, invitations out soon.

With these initiatives we have have big plans for new classes and projects:

Dance for carers and toddlers
Integrated workshops for ages 5-8
Classes for adults with learning disabilities

So help us make a big noise about SLiDE by sharing our campaign on social media and to your family and friends.

Anita & Gemma


SLiDE travels to Japan!

In September Gemma and Kumi, a participant in three SLiDE dance intergenerational dance projects, will travel to Japan to share SLiDE’s values and practice. They will spend two weeks, mainly in the Fukushima region, working with school and community groups.

For both Kumi and Gemma this will be a very special trip. Kumi is from this region of Japan and following the 2011 disasters set up Fukushima Friends UK, a pen pal exchange between school children in London and Fukushima. She is exceptionally passionate about inclusive dance, having personally experienced how life changing it can be.

Gemma spent two years in Japan, 2001-2003, teaching English in a senior high school,’To return to Japan after 11 years, during which time I have trained in community dance and am now an experienced inclusive Dance Artist, is so exciting. I can’t wait for the chance to engage with communities in Japan through creative dance. Although I am familiar with the culture, seeing how my UK based experience translates to working in Japan, will be incredibly interesting. I am also hoping to meet with local Dance Artists whilst we are visiting, to compare practice and ways of working’.

We will keep you posted as the plans develop.

SLiDE celebrates inclusive dance during their project ‘Park Life’ in July 2013. Photo: Sophie Standford

Collaboration: SLiDE and The Brit School

It was several months in the planning but the SLiDE and Brit School partnership is flourishing. It has kicked off with an 8 week youth dance project, led by Gemma Coldicott, combining 10 SLiDE dancers with 3 Community Arts Practice (CAP) Brit Students. The group developed a piece called ‘Free?’ and performed it at the ‘Positive Push’ youth arts platform on March 20th.

‘What I love about these projects is seeing how fast the group bonds and starts to support and each other. This was evident from the beginning through to the end, and particularly on the performance day. Watching the other groups perform was so inspiring, particularly witnessing the energy of Kronos, the all male Brit dance group’, Gemma reflected.

Photo: Anita Wadsworth

The partnership has been possible through the work and determination of Andrea Davis, Director of Dance and Josie Sovegjarto, Dance Teacher and CAP Tutor.

‘I think the CAP students have learnt a lot about communication, creativity and how to manage being responsible for others in a practical environment. To welcome such a diverse group of people into the school’s community and have them collaborating together I feel is something very special, a learning curve for all and a big achievement. It is an invaluable experience for the students to gain now at such a young age and it is beneficial for their character building as they need to work consistently with dedication as well as an open mind. They are learning so much form Gemma’s leadership and I think it is a wonderful project, thank you SLiDE!’ Josie Sovegjarto, Dance Teacher, The Brit School. 

It has been so successful that SLiDE will be back at the Brit School, from May 1st. They will set to work on a new piece, extending the collaboration with even more partnerships. More to follow….!


Photo: Anita Wadsworth

New Directions

We have barely caught our breath yet from the whirl wind that was 2013! The SLiDE calendar was packed with two large community projects, workshops in local schools, youth dance projects and of course the barn dance, attended by 85 people. Anita and I were thrilled by the response to our work:

‘Park Life was breath taking. I haven’t seen something emerge from my park, that was so in tune with it, ever! Well done, more please.’

‘A very rich performance, in terms of ideas and themes. I loved the interaction in the duets and the use of words too was really good. Great deal of humour and apposite emotion. ‘Unexpected Item’ was gorgeous and heartbreaking in places, actually.’

You can see plenty of footage from these events via the SLiDE gallery.


SO! In the meantime we have busy in a different way. We have been joined by a fabulous Board of Directors, Joanne Lyons, Tamsin Watson and Thomas Cresswell. You can read more about them here. Our first board meeting, at the end of January, was extremely productive and are looking forward to the journey ahead.

Our current venture is a partnership youth dance project with The Brit School. On Thursday 20th March our newly formed group will perform as part of the ‘Positive Push’ platform. The group have been assisted by three students from the ‘Community Arts Practice’ strand at The Brit School, who have contributed greatly in terms of their passion and energy for inclusive dance.

There is plenty more in the pipeline line and I leave you with one thought:

Did you know there are 42 slides in the borough of Croydon?

Watch this space…….

Shared Voices – Rosie

Looking back on ‘Park Life’, in July 2013, one of the performers reflects on her duet with Rick, from Candoco Dance Company.

‘Initially I felt anxious as I felt I was no match for a professional dancer. I embraced it as a challenge, but was worried I might let Rick down. Once we had read the piece about the stream in the park, Rick and I discussed how we might turn it into movement. Rick was patient and gentle in advising on how I might extend my movements and become more intrinsic in my interpretation of the words. In the hall the movements felt enclosed and small. But it was a safe place to try out ideas …

Performing in the park generated a sense of freedom that touched my spirit. I became the river – literally! I felt the flow and power of the water as it flowed around and battled to overcome and be free …

The fact that Rick was in a wheelchair seemed to enhance the experience and the performance in a way I would not have appreciated without this opportunity. It was awesome and even now it brings a smile to my face that reaches into my soul. Thank you’

Rosemary Harvey

See Rosie and Rick in action in our 2min film, ‘Park Life- Big Field’.