SideKick Dance began as a youth dance group for young people with disabilities and has now expanded with an adult company too. The groups are ran by dance practitioner Charlotte Tomlinson and assistant practitioner Kirsty Clarke. Ellesmere College in Leicester and Curve Theatre are key supporters of SideKick Dance and provide the groups with a warm and welcoming environment for the dance classes and rehearsals to take place. Ellesmere also provide substantial support with their huge involvement in organising transport for their students to attend the dance sessions and in communicating with families and support groups to enable these young participants to take part in external dance events.
SideKick Dance is open to participants with disabilities from all over Leicester and Leicestershire. There is a small fee of just £10 per half term for youth participants and £5 per session for adults.
Dance classes run every Wednesday afternoon during term time 12:45-2:30pm at Curve Theatre for the adult group and 3:45-5:30pm at Ellesmere College for the youth group. At the end of every term or half term family and friends are invited to come along and watch the dancers perform their current work. The dancers also have the opportunity to perform at dance events outside of Ellesmere.
Performances to date:
- Mass Movement at Curve Theatre February 2014/2015/2016/2017
- Big Dance Launch at Curve February 2016
- West End Centre – National Disability Awareness event February 2016
- Big Dance 2014 May 2014 & May 2016
- Peepul Centre October 2014
- Special Schools of Leicester at Curve Theatre November 2014/2015
- Ellesmere College Opening Ceremony May 2015 http://www.itv.com/news/central/2015-05-19/stars-watch-as-special-school-building-officially-opened/
SideKick Dance does need funding to continue to provide dance opportunities for people with disabilities. Here is a short film from some of the dancers of SideKick Dance:
If you would like make a contribution please visit the link below:
SideKick Dance were thrilled to be involved with 11 Million Reasons, a project with People Dancing and photographer Sean Goldthorpe:
Feedback from members of staff:
“Dance Club has been so beneficial to our students. It has enabled them to express themselves freely, gaining confidence each week and allowing them to give their self esteem a massive boost. It has been inspirational to watch each student progress and achieve a high standard for them in dance but most importantly of all, to see their smiley faces and enjoying themselves. Most of our students are not academic and dance enables them to actually succeed in doing something that they really enjoy and love to do”.
Sue Mangham – teacher of PE at Ellesmere College
“I am just writing to you to say how impressed our students and myself were with you and your dance group at Ellesmere, never have our students been to such a professional dance session. The first week we came to your session we had 3 girls who at can be quite introverted at times but within minutes of being introduced to everybody and being given a SideKick t-shirt to wear like the others you could physically see our students open up and start to not only join in but feel as if they were part of your dance group for weeks, to see these girls bonding with students from another school so quickly was amazing and the fact they were welcomed into the group as fast as they were is a credit to you both, Sue and the other students. To show us the performance you performed at the Curve was fantastic you could really see the hard work that everybody had put in . On the bus on the way back to Ash Field our bus was the noisiest it’s been for a long time, all the girls said how much they enjoyed it and would they be able to go again next week. The girls spoke to their friends and their friends have spoken to theirs and we now have boys and girls asking us on a Monday when they come down to the residential wing can we go to Sidekick! Please keep up the good work and if there is anything we can do to help you and Sidekick Dance go from strength to strength please don’t hesitate to ask”
Kev Dakin – teacher at Ashfield School
Huge thanks go to Simon Coopey and Sue Mangham for their on-going support and commitment to SideKick Dance. We must also thank Sandra for supporting our funding procedures to date, and our wonderful committee team for their ongoing dedication. Without all of these people the dance club would not be where it is today. Finally thanks to our guest visual artist David Hughes.
Special thanks go to the following companies and organisations for their generous donations, as well as to those who have made personal contributions or sponsors:
Children in Need, PGA Warden, NEXT, Marshall Motors Ltd, Norlec Electrical, George Ernest Ellis Foundation, James Wilson, and Matthew Boyer of MB Sign Design.