Tru Street Dance
Dancing with Tru Street
Irene Aserie, BBC
A community dance class has transformed itself into a talented group of diverse performers. I went down to one of their dance classes at the custard factory to find out more about them…
Dancer and choreographer Toffee (Ikeela Sealey) set up Tru Street Dance with her late husband Tyrone in 1998.
Now at the age of 26 she's seen the company grow beyond her expectations.
As well as being a performing dance company, Tru Street Dance runs open classes where everyone regardless of age race or dance ability is invited to sample a taste of their dynamic choreography.
I asked Toffee to tell me about Tru street Dance and what drove her to set it up in the first place?
Toffee: "We set up Tru Street Dance 10 years ago. I was a dancer and I thought there needed to be more for the youth. I set it up with my husband Tyrone, who was a great mentor to the children.
"Basically it's a collective full of young people to empower them through dance.
"We started out doing classes and now we're performing all over the UK and internationally as well."
Who is involved in Tru Street Dance and who takes part?
Toffee: "All the young people. Basically we've got the Tru Street Dance show team, which is the company, then we've got Tru Street Dance open classes, which is open to everybody to come and take part in."
What does it mean to the young people who take part?
Toffee: "Tru Street Dance empowers young people. It builds their confidence, self esteem and communication skills. So basically we do all that through dance."
And what do you get out of it?
Toffee: "I get fun and enjoyment, and it's just a fulfillment really, and it's also a way of keeping fit!"
Who can take part?
Toffee: "It's open to all, basically we can take as young as 4, and up to 65 plus. The oldest in the class at the moment is 35."
So anyone can do it then?
Toffee: "Anybody! Anyone can basically join in."
What does the future hold for Tru Street Dance?
Toffee: "The future holds a lot of things. We've trained up young dancers to become young choreographers, and basically they teach for me up and down the country and abroad.
"They've gone from amateur dancers to professionals. As well as teachers they're role models for the youth."
How important is it for you to give back to the community in this way?
Toffee: "It's very important to give back because I believe basically you shouldn't forget where you come from.
"I've built up my networks and I just want to pass it on to the Tru Street Dancers for them to pass it on.
"I never forget where I come from."
What the kids think?
I then spoke to a couple of members of Tru Street Dance who told me why they love it so much.
Warren is 19 years old: "It's probably the best dancing opportunity I've ever had in my life, like, and it's a way to get to a lot of places, it opens up a lot of doors and also it's a family."
Oaitse said: "I'm 17 years old. Basically Tru Street Dance has helped build my confidence within dance, within just day to day life experiences in general, and just helping me to be positive about life in general. It's fun, it's great fun, so I enjoy it."
Find out more
If you're interested in getting involved with Tru Street Dance, you can find out more from their website.
Tru Street Dance run open classes at the Custard Factory in Digbeth on Thursdays from 6.30pm to 8pm.
They also run a series of master classes. The next one is 21st February with Europe's best dancer Hollie Victoria.
last updated: 15/01/2008 at 17:43