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Step Up Mimbre

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Catherine Deval | 10:00 UK time, Monday, 17 December 2012

The Step Up group were recipients of a Community Dance grant in 2011. They put their grant towards developing a new piece of work ‘Origin: London’ which explored ideas about identity and heritage. The Step Up group’s young members developed their performance from taking photos for the stimulus of the choreography right the way through to the costume design.  Mimbre, the organisers of the project, tell us a bit more about the group’s achievements:

Eight youg adults doing various gymnastics in a playground, forming a pyramid

Our Youth Work

This summer the Step Up group, one of Mimbre’s more advanced youth groups, had a fantastic time performing in different arts events across Hackney and London. They created a show called ‘Origin: London’ , which turned out to be a huge success. It premiered at Chats Palace and started the summer tour on the Big Dance Bus at Woodberry Down Estate. The show went to the London Youth Dance Shoreditch Festival, Big Dance – a Mimbre Event, Torch Relay, and The National Theatre, plus the group was part of an Australian film promoting England and the Olympics to Australia.

This was a very intense project. Before we could start the programme we had to ensure that the group worked well together and that the young people were dedicated and committed to the rehearsals and performances scheduled. The Step Up group was created from committed or talented members who were passionate about performing and were made up from all of Mimbre’s youth groups. 

The best advice that we can offer to a director or choreographer working with young people, is to create a performance that can be adapted to suit different numbers of young people and situations. It was impossible for the entire Step Up group to make it to every performance, so we had to adapt the show, often at the very last minute.  Teaching the young people free styling skills and making sure that they were confident to improvise was very important too.

Getting family members involved in the shows and events really supported the group and meant practitioners could focus more on the performance rather than behaviour. It also meant that the young people were more likely to come along, as their parents were engaged in what they were doing.

The best day by far for the young people was when Mimbre teamed up with local charity Immediate Theatre and took part in the torch Relay parade. Wearing ‘I love Hackney’ costumes the group danced from Hyde Road N1 to Church Street N16. The parents didn’t get away either! Through the parade the young people and their parents celebrated the Olympics in London and promoted the spirit of the games through dance, acrobatics and a lot of screaming. And to top it all off after the march, the young people were introduced to an official torch bearer and were all invited to take pictures holding an official Olympic torch. They loved it.  

The group have come a long way from the start of the summer tour. The once shy group of young people, most of whom were too shy to dance in class, performed in front of thousands of people throughout the summer and even began to look up at the audience, enjoy themselves and smile.

Can’t wait to do it all again next summer."

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