Dance: The Tees’ Hidden Gem

by | Aug 5, 2020 | Culture, Dance

The dance talent across the Tees Valley, whilst vibrant and diverse, is a hidden gem, proving to be difficult for people to find out about what is happening locally. Through this blog, dance in your local area will be profiled and celebrated, helping you to find out more about the excellent dance provision we have on our doorstep and how you can get involved!  

Dance is very unique, as the only physical art form, it sits across both the sports and cultural sectors. Dance in the region takes place both within schools for health and well-being benefits as well as being delivered outside of schools in a cultural setting through dance performances, festivals and participatory projects.

In schools, dance is part of the curriculum, either as part of PE, an extra-curricular activity or delivered through the offer of Key Stage 4 and 5 qualifications. Dance is delivered by specialist and non-specialist teachers, uniting artistic practice with physical activity. Dance contributes to the life and culture of the school, providing opportunities to perform in school or beyond, engaging pupils and widening their aspirations.

Local sport partnerships help to strengthen the offer of dance to schools. They do this by providing training for non-specialist teachers to have tools to be able to offer dance activity as part of PE. Sports partnerships also work with dance artists to deliver dance projects that provide a dance showcase for clusters of schools to get involved in.

Moreover, some schools and colleges locally offer high-quality experiences for young people by supporting gifted and talented pupils through the opportunity to study dance in gaining an appreciation of the subject as well as offering a progression route in to the industry.

Whilst the involvement of dance in schools is extensive, the provision beyond formal education is the strongest provision in our area. We are bursting with local dance schools that individually provide different dance styles and opportunities. These dance schools are ran by a wealth of talented dance educators who deliver weekly dance classes across our region. These teachers believe in the value of dance and have a passion for sharing dance with young people. Even during lockdown, freelance and self-employed dance teachers have been keeping our young people dancing through online Zoom classes.

Additionally, we have independent dance fitness instructors helping to keep adults fit through initiatives such as Zumba, Pound Pro and Clubbercise.

Local authorities, venues and cultural organisations contribute to the offer of dance across the Tees Valley. They do this by delivering participatory dance projects  for local communities, working in partnership with dance companies, supporting local artists and programming live dance performances in venues or as part of festivals.

One inititive that has come about during lockdown is, TeesDance Festival. Taking place from 1 – 14 August, TeesDance festival has been celebrating the local dance workforce through the online platform Instagram. To find out more, visit www.teesdance.co.uk and follow them on social media @teesdance on Facebook and Instagram and @tees_dance on twitter.

Next week’s blog will be on the TeesDance Festival, followed by weekly blogs highlighting dance artists and educators from across the Tees Valley. They will be explaining in more detail how they contribute to the dance provision and what opportunities you can get involved with. 

Written by Amy Swalwell, Dance Educator and Project Manager,  TeesDance.

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