Beginning the Dance Whispers journey…

Over the coming weeks we will be posting blogs written by Katie Hewison, a students and young choreographer at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, about an exciting dance project that’s happening with young people in Leeds.

Yorkshire Dance’s Dance Whispers is a five day summer school delivered by Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) in the final week of July, featuring a daily contemporary dance technique class, followed by a variation of contact work, repertory, improvisation within creative sessions.

Here’s Katie dairy entry from the 21 March, at the beginning of the project…

The team meets for the first time
The team meets for the first time

“Arriving at Yorkshire Dance, Leeds on a sunny Saturday 21st March I began the start of an exciting project full of opportunities. Meeting the following 9 young choreographers and Joss Arnott, the artistic director of the dance whispers project, we began the day in the studio with a warm up and some ice breaking tasks and games. The tasks were great to get to know each other’s personalities, background, styles of dance and to begin the day learning to trust each other, grab opportunities and go for it: which are great aims to keep in mind throughout the whole project, as the more work and enjoyment we put in, the more we will get out of this fantastic project.

“They are also great tasks I could perhaps use when I work with Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) Youth Dance Company for the first time to get to know each other as we begin our time working together on the project.

“We continued with a few creative tasks; making, teaching and structuring movement taking it in turns to experiment being the outside eye as a choreographer. We also learnt some of Harvey’s movement, which was very interesting learning Tutting for the first time! I think we know what the dance whispers will be doing on our train journeys to London!! It is great to work alongside different styles and experiences though, to learn from each other and get to know styles we perhaps wouldn’t have usually experienced.

“Later, we had an insight into the National Youth Dance Company, as we watched some promotional videos for Sidi Labi Cherkaoui’s work that we will be whispering and using as inspirations for our pieces. We also had a lovely time meeting some previous members from NYDC and talking to them about their experiences: Fern Grimbley joined the first year of NYDC working with Jasmin Vardimon and the following year with Akram Khan, and Jenna Unwin and Shakira Holder performed Rashomon Effect working with Khan and assistant choreographer, Andrej Petrovic.

“We are all in our first year of the degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, and although I already know the girls, it was really wonderful to hear them speak about their own journeys into dance and their amazing experiences in NYDC. It sounds like such a once in a lifetime experience working with such inspirational professionals in the dance world, as well as working together like a professional touring dance company. These are some main thoughts which stood out to me during our discussion and the whole day at Yorkshire Dance:

– Bring Yourself! It is what you do.

– Embrace differences: be or create “anything you want it to be“.

– Approach & Attitude is so important.

– Have openness to everything.

– What you put in… is what you get back! Be like a sponge!

– Have confidence & Clarity… Trust others & yourself.

– Acceptance of rejection… it is ok to say no to an idea or something you’ve worked on. Try again!

–  Change doesn’t mean it is wrong, it simply means change!.

– Have the willingness to risk, be fearless, be different, be brave.

-Enjoy every opportunity!

“Finally a thought to end on is that “People lead to opportunity”.  I am looking forward to meeting NYDC at Sadlers Wells next weekend, seeing them in rehearsals, and getting to know our NYDC buddy for the project! Making connections, getting to know people in the dance world, professional processes, and inspirations and ideas to share through our own pieces of choreography.”

A big thanks to Katie for sharing the beginning of her Dance Whispers journey!

 You can learn more about the project here, and follow the Northern School of Contemporary Dance on Twitter @NorthernSchool.

Are you involved in an exciting summer school project? Are you using dance to engage young people? Why not let us know by leaving a comment below…


  1. […] Last week we heard from Katie Hewison, a students and young choreographer at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, about an exciting dance project that’s happening with young people in Leeds, as part of an on-going series of blogposts. […]

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