Day of Dance 2021

150 girls from 21 schools across the GDST family came together in London on 6th December to participate in the annual Day of Dance, held this year at the iconic BASE Studio in London’s Vauxhall. Covid prevented this gathering from happening in 2020, and students were delighted to meet in person again to share and collaborate with some of the world’s top choreographers in dance workshops in styles ranging from musical theatre, to contemporary, to commercial.

Estina Douglas-White, PE and Dance Teacher from Notting Hill & Ealing School, has brought seven students today, and explains the appeal of dance. ‘Only two of my girls here today play netball. Dance is their sport, and their chance to shine.’ She also believes that the presence of other GDST students develops their skills. ‘The students see other dancers who might be stronger than they are, and it makes them come out of their comfort zone and raise their game.’

 

‘Not every girl is a team sports person; dance is a way for them to express themselves and shine’

 

The 150 students from across Years 10-13 were evidently enjoying every moment, working in cross-school groups to learn routines. Nyama, from Year 10 in Sydenham High School, told us why she enjoys the annual Day of Dance so much. ‘I am really enjoying learning new styles that I am less confident in and learning from top choreographers.’

 

‘I love dancing with girls from other schools across the GDST – I can learn from their different techniques and help develop my own style’

 

Ceri Crawford, Director of Sport at Howell’s School, Llandaff, and Trust Consultant Teacher for Sport, spoke about how the event is not only a brilliant opportunity for girls to celebrate their love of dance, but is also a great professional development opportunity for teachers across the GDST. ‘At these cross trust events, teachers can collaborate,’ explains Ceri. ‘We can share ideas and implement these new ways of teaching into our lessons in our respective schools.’

 

‘It allows me to express myself when words can’t say what dance can’

 

We were delighted to be able to secure the participation in the event of some of the industry’s best choreographers. Alex Schoendorf, who delivered the commercial dance workshop, has worked with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez and Justin Bieber amongst others. Her session was based on a typical routine for a back-up dancer working with an artist, and with the emphasis on enjoyment. ‘It’s important that the girls understand they should be having a good time,’ she explains. ‘Dance is a great way to showcase your personality – it’s a good outlet for girls in their teenage years and helps them to build confidence, stay active and make new friends.’ Emma, in Year 12 at Bromley High School who is participating in her third GDST Day of Dance, agrees. ‘I like being with girls from other GDST schools and seeing what they bring and how I can learn from them,’ Emma says. ‘I love that it’s a way of expressing yourself when words can’t say what dance can.’