MOVE IT For Gemma Coldicott

Gemma ColdicottGemma Coldicott, Step into Dance’s Inclusive Dance Development Officer, has a wealth of dance experience. From studying Dance in the Community at Laban to gaining a Masters in Inclusive Arts Practice from the University of Brighton, Gemma is a leader in her field. Since her studies Gemma now works to mentor and support freelancers teaching inclusive dance sessions, leads inclusive dance training courses, writes training resources and is currently the company Director of SLiDE (South London Inclusive Dance Experience).

When did you begin dancing, where and why?

I started dancing aged 3 in my hometown of Norwich. My mum took me to the local ballet school, I guessed I asked to go but maybe she dragged me along. But I’m so glad she did!

What were your early years of dancing and training like?

I did 15 years of ISTD Ballet, Tap and Modern, until I was 18.

What does dance mean for you?

Dance means expression and freedom. It has the power to change lives and to bring diverse groups of people together.

How long have you been working as an inclusive dance practitioner? How did it begin?

Ever since I left Laban in 2007! Shortly after I finished training I participated in a project with Heart n Soul, a learning disabled arts organisation based in Deptford. It was a dance project with 60 people, disabled/non disabled, and culminated in a performance on the steps outside the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It was an amazing experience and I understood from then on what I wanted to do, to give people access to dance who might not ordinarily get the chance.

What is a ‘typical’ day like?

Answer emails from 8am and post on social media. 10am, visit a dance class at an SEN school on the Step into Dance School somewhere in London, give the teacher feedback and support. Head back to the RAD office and complete emails, observation reports. I then attend or teach a community dance class.

What’s the best part of dance for you?

That it brings a smile to people’s faces who are both dancing and watching! It’s also the relationship between music and dance, it connects the mind, body and soul.

What would you say was your greatest dance achievement to date?

That 80 people attended my inclusive dance training days at the RAD last year, from all across the country. To share my skills and knowledge in this way feels great.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be part of the dance industry?

Do as much assisting, shadowing as you can with teachers and practitioners you respect. Be professional at all times, always be on time and be reliable. Attend courses and workshops at venues such as gDA for professional development; you never know who you are going to meet at these things. The key word is networking!

What’s next for you?

At the moment I am working hard at Step into Dance to get SEN and mainstream schools dancing together. I am hosting afternoons of dance called ‘Step togethers’ whereby disabled and nondisabled students dance together and perform for each other. Our aim on the Step into Dance programme is to promote inclusion and equality for young people across London and I think we are really achieving this.

Which classes are you holding at MOVE IT?

At MOVE IT I am running a workshop called ‘Introduction to Inclusive Dance Practice’. I shall be focusing on facilitation skills and running creative tasks with mixed ability groups. I hope to give everyone more confidence in leading creative dance sessions and some key ‘tools’ to take back and apply in their own settings.

ISTD Faculty Changes Name


The South Asian Dance Faculty of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) has announced that it has officially changed its name to the Classical Indian Dance Faculty to more accurately reflect what it represents.

The change of name aims to reflect and acknowledge the preeminence of the generic name by which Bharatanatyam and Kathak – the two dance forms in which the ISTD offers examinations through the Faculty – are known widely in the UK, across the world and in India, the country of their origin. Following a research project and proposal from Akademi, South Asian Dance in the UK, at the time a new ISTD Faculty, was set up in 1999 to examine in Bharatanatyam and Kathak.

Professor Christopher Bannerman, ISTD Chairman, said, “It is a great pleasure to learn of the new name of the Classical Indian Dance Faculty of the ISTD. This work has enhanced and broadened the ISTD portfolio and we look forward to a bright future for the Faculty and its students.”

The announcement of the name change was greeted with applause at Misrana 2012, the Faculty’s increasingly popular classical Indian dance showcase, which was held on Sunday 4 November at the Lowry, Salford Quays.

As far as classical Indian dance is concerned, for around two decades the term ‘South Asian’ has been largely an official term and it is not much used where the dancing foot actually meets the dance floor in a class or rehearsal studio. In the 1990s, when the ISTD’s South Asian Faculty was initially created, it was used to talk about a group of dance forms and be inclusive of its practitioners who came from India, as well as other countries across South Asia.

The new name of the Faculty will also serve to include the future development of syllabi for examinations in other classical Indian dance forms, such as Odissi and Kuchipudi, which are rapidly gaining ground in Britain.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Tap Attack

Tap Shoes

Formed in 2006, Tap Attack has since established itself as a prestigious workshop provider. The teaching faculty of 15 have taught tap classes to over 3000 tap dancers in the UK, each teacher with notable achievements in their individual dance fields aside from their tap careers. Many have worked in the West End and on tap-specific shows, such as Tap Dogs, Hot Shoe Shuffle, Singin’ in the Rain and 42nd Street.

Tap Attack has achieved remarkable success since its inception. The performance company of Tap Attack – Xtreme Tap – offers a wide variety of exciting performance opportunities. Tap Attack claims its dancers are unrivalled in their ability to entertain; be it a classic tap performance or a more bespoke requirement, Xtreme Tap hosts a team of talented tappers, donning tap shoes and ankle warmers! Apart from traditional tap work, Xtreme Tap have performed at a whole host of corporate and commercial events  with additional success performing at fashion shows, product launches and corporate entertaining events. With such a variety to choose from, suddenly the decision of Bloch tap shoes, Capezio tap shoes or So Danca tap shoes seems easy!

The first of Tap Attack’s 2012 “Total Tap Workshops” is in Birmingham on Sunday 29th April at The Dance Workshop, supported by Capezio. The sheer variety of opportunities offered by Tap Attack is emphasised by its Total Tap Workshops, available for 3 standards of tappers. The event is marketed as a fun and informative day for attendees, adding considerable amounts to their tap repertoire. Additionally, the “Rhythm Routes” of 2012 is due to follow up its sell-out success of 2011, as an exciting collaboration between Tap Attack and the ISTD. Rhythm Routes gives participants a chance to experience the best of UK tap as a journey through tap history, designed to inspire teachers and students alike with a range of classes. Rhythm Routes 2012 is taking place on Sunday 20th May, at Preston College; tap shoes at the ready!