Just 30!

Just 30!

As part of our birthday celebrations we have commissioned our Associate Artist, the acclaimed choreographer Gary Clarke, to create a new performance piece. He is working with our New Associates, a selection of our community practitioners and an all-age community company on Just 30! which will be performed at our birthday party on Friday 7 December. A film of the performance will be released shortly afterwards.

We’ve asked the participants to keep a diary of the rehearsal process, and here’s how they’re getting on so far…


Wednesday 28 November 2012

“My journey with dance (other than as a teenager), really began in September of this year. Due to suffering with depression, my doctor advised me to do more exercise. I am not a gym bunny. I would rather run AWAY from a treadmill than run on it! I’d probably manage to cause an RTA an exercise bike and sink a rowing machine too!

So, in a fit of desperation – seeking exercise that isn’t strenuous – I stumbled across the Northern Ballet School’s adult ballet course… and I loved every moment. That was followed by taking up yoga and zumba. Since joining all three, my health has rapidly improved – to the point that my depression and anxiety are now both non-clinical and I was discharged from medical care on 13th November 2012!

Now the dull tap of the suede sole of ballet shoes on the studio floor makes me grin like a loon! Now the slight ache the morning after a practice makes me happy! If it wasn’t for getting into the dancing (and subsequently taking on the other activities) I am certain that my recovery wouldn’t have been remotely as quick.

I am incredibly pleased to be part of Yorkshire Dance’s 30th Birthday. Being honest, it isn’t something I’d normally get into, I’ve never really been one for the more modern style of dance; however, it has been great fun and at least I can say I tried it!

I have met some wonderful people over the past six weeks, and listened to some amazing life stories! Other members have so much life experience and general wisdom that is a pleasure to sit with a cup of tea at dinner time and listen to them. It has also been great that you didn’t need to be the next Darcy Bussell to join – there were some of us whose only experience was watching Strictly on a Saturday!

Gary and the other Associates and practitioners have really pulled off something special. They have taken such a diverse group of people, a range of ages and a mixture of dance experience and fused it together. I wish everyone whom has been part of Just30! well.”



Sunday 25 November 2012

Mary Males“I am thoroughly enjoying creating moves and being able to experiment / fine-tune / give them a different quality. It’s interesting to see other peoples’ take on the same move. The sheer number of people involved means so many more possibilities. On the Monday and Tuesday after each session I am full of ideas for choreography – don’t worry, Gary, I’ll keep them to myself at this late stage. I wish there was more time. Can we do it again next year?”

“Had another amazing rehearsal session for Just 30! today. Can’t believe we only have one more rehearsal day before the BIG performance. Met some lovely people and made some great friends, going to be very sad saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the Just 30! project. Everybody is so talented and I am so grateful to be a part of this, I’ve learnt so much and the performance is gonna be fantastic. Especially looking forward to wearing our special costumes and performing our dances in front of so many special and important people.”


Sunday 11 November 2012

Sharon Cameron & Jordan Massarella talk about working with the all-age community company

Christine Ann Brown and Linda Neary talk about being in the all-age community company

Katie AynsleyJust 30! is giving me the experience of working with different dancers of all abilities and ages and, as a young dancer doing a dance degree, I feel very privileged to be part of it. I loved hearing the stories of how everybody in the project has a different experience and connection with dance and how Yorkshire Dance has helped them along the way. I really enjoyed the first rehearsal as it was all about creating movement; there was no pressure as a dancer to be getting everything right, we was able to be creative in our own way.” Katie

“Hi everyone! A change of choreographers, new routine and new faces but hey – so what?! we’re in for the long haul and it’s great to be working with such a lovely bunch of people. Just one confession… after the session Carol and I heard great jazz music coming from the Wardrobe bar next door and couldn’t resist diving in and doing a few quickstep-n-jives for the punters. We even got applause from the musicians. See u all next Sunday Xx”
Carol n Alan

“I am having the time of my life, absolutely love doing Just 30! Today we got to break off into small groups and I’m in the “street dance” group. Got taught some new moves that I been trying to do for months. The practitioners and Gary are amazing and so clever. Have made so many new friends of all ages and love spending time with them.”


Gary Clarke (c) Yorkshire DanceSunday 28 October 2012

Welcome to Just 30! This new piece of work is to mark 30 years of Yorkshire Dance and the great work they have done. This weekend was the first session in which the 30 selected members of the community came together to kickstart a piece which will mark the history and future of Yorkshire Dance and the people connected to it.

“As the main choreographer of the project, I was very much looking forward to meeting the group that will ultimately create the backbone and content of this commission. It’s quite a job bringing 30 people from all walks of life, ages and experiences together in a room for the first time and having the responsibility to hold it all together. It became very clear, however, that I had to do very little. They all immediately ‘got on’ with each other and were very responsive to the project brief and the tasks set to them.

“Considering it was the first session we covered a great deal: we talked, we played, we danced, we improvised, we sang (loud), we laughed (a lot), we created, we discussed, we wrote, we moved together, we moved apart, we baked cakes, jumped around, cheered and had a flipping good time! I wanted to challenge them in every way possible and for them to get used to the quick, erratic way in which I work. They responded brilliantly, even if some of the tasks were a little ‘way out’!

“I believe we have a great group of special individuals that will go on a journey through this process and produce a piece of work which they can be very proud of. I am exited to see what we do next! And a massive thanks to the great practitioners who really do hold the session together. A great team!”
Gary Clarke

“Today was the first day of Just 30! and I have loved every second of it. I can’t believe I am so lucky to have been given a place. I loved meeting everybody today and playing lots of games and warm up exercises. I have made lots of new friends and enjoyed having ‘dance offs’ with them to show each other the moves we can do. I am excited and looking forward to breaking off into small groups to learn our dance for the show. I can’t wait to develop my dancing and learn new moves. Everybody is so nice and they are looking after me.”
Junior, aged 8

“What a great mix of individuals, young and old, we suppose it says it all about dancing – it’s for everybody!!!!! We loved the inter relationship, communication, team building and group dance design. A bit apprehensive at first but for us just Bring It On.”
Alan & Carol

“I truly enjoyed the our first day of rehearsals for Just 30! yesterday at Yorkshire Dance. The atmosphere was brilliant I enjoyed the day with Gary Clarke and all the Practitioners. A fun day of laughter, dance and enjoyment with lots to learn from other dancers plus lots of happy friendly people with a range of ages that all came together on the day. Looking forward to next week’s rehearsals.”

Charlotte Fisher“At the first rehearsal I found it overwhelming as a professional dancer to hear so many stories about how dancing has touched people’s lives and how so many people feel so passionate about Yorkshire Dance. For myself, it has been a place of work and training but sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s also a place for fun and friendship. Thank you for reminding me of that!”

“It was wonderful to meet the dancers for the Just 30! project on Sunday. To see them all come into the studio all from different walks of life and completely throw themselves, heart and soul, into every task as if they had known each other forever was something really special. It was so moving to see all ages dancing together and I can’t wait to see more!”

“I was so apprehensive walking into Yorkshire Dance on Sunday morning for the first rehearsal of Just 30! but within minutes I was laughing and moving with new and old friends. What joy, and what a great way to celebrate. Bring it on!”


Artistic Director / Choreographer: Gary Clarke
Co-Choreographers / New Associates: Nathan Geering, Jordan Massarella & Sophie Unwin
Yorkshire Dance Practitioners: Sharon Cameron, Laura Murphy, Zoe Parker & Daliah Touré

The Company: Christine Addington, Katie Aynsley, Carys Boden, Christine Ann Brown, Charlie Buchanan, Lisa Clayton, Silvana De Paula, Charlotte Fisher, Helen Fisher, Beth Francis-Smith, Junior Frood, Tao Golden, Tianna Golden, Stephen Heelas, Mary Males, Kath McKay, Natalie Miller, Linda Neary, Barbara Newsome, Elizabeth Nolan, Sarah Nolan, Gwenny Rose Robson, Judith Rothenberg, Ellen Shorrock, Becky Smithson, Sammi Stewart, Martin Waddington, Alan Walker, Carol Walker & Alice Wilkins