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Bringing our dance camps online

5th November 2020

As 2020 continues to throw new challenges at us all, RJC Dance took our free half-term dance camp online for the very first time. How did it go? We find out in this quick chat with Nillanthie Morton, one of our two dance tutors.

How long have you been doing dance camps?

About five years now, maybe a bit more. This is the first time we’ve done a dance camp online! It’s a natural progression for me – I’ve been teaching online for most of this year.

How do dance camps compare to your usual Youth Provision sessions?

They’re a lot more intense, regardless of whether we’re online or in the studio. The Youth Provision have about six months to put together a performance. Meanwhile in a dance camp we have just five days. We don’t do a light version – we want our dance camp participants to get a real taste of what it’s like to train with RJC Dance. It’s a full-on week, especially since many of the young people taking part haven’t danced before.

What was it like running the session online?

It went really well. I’ve had plenty of practice, having run adult sessions online for most of 2020 and Youth Provision on Zoom for the last few weeks. Obviously I’d rather do face to face, but I’m getting used to it now. I’m getting better at using the technology to try and replicate how we’d run the session in the studio. For example, I use the ‘spotlight’ feature in Zoom to have a participant show me and the rest of the class their great work. The young people want to get it right and look good, it gives them a boost to be in the limelight too. It encourages the other participants as well.

We also make sure the young people can still have a chat in the breaks, just like they would in the studio. They can ask us questions, get to know each other and talk amongst themselves.

How did the young people respond to the technology?

I was really surprised by how well they adapted – these young people take to online sessions like a duck to water. I was so impressed by how committed they were, all arriving at 10am on the dot, eager to take part. What really blew me away is how encouraging they were with each other. They had barely met, and they were saying ‘well done’ and ‘nice work’ to each other.

We’re creating a community for these young people at a time when they can’t get together in person. At the end of the week a lot of them were quite sad that the camp was coming to an end.

What is next for the RJC Dance Camps?

We’re already looking ahead to our next dance camps, which will take place in February half term. In the meantime, it’s really important that we keep the young people we met last week involved in RJC Dance. At the moment it’s a good time for them to join our Youth Provision. We know they’re eager - get them in!

What do you think is stopping some young people from taking part?

Unfortunately for a lot of young people in our community, they don’t have access to a computer or tablet to join in. There might just be one device in a household, and if mum or dad needs to use it, then that young person can’t take part. Or perhaps they can watch on a screen, but they don’t have a camera.

Take a look at this short film from the Autumn Dance Camp.

We believe all young people should have access to the technology they require to take part in RJC Dance camps, Youth Provision and activities and to keep up with their education from home if needed. We’re asking local people and businesses if they can help. Please consider donating to RJC Dance. We will ensure that your support is passed on to a family who can use it to keep their young people involved in our dance camps and our Youth Provision/activities. To donate, please email stef@rjcdance.org.uk with the details. Thank you.

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Follow our journey through dance, movement and exercise

Keep up to date with RJC Dance's latest events, news and exclusive content