Charlotte Potts – Plymouth Dance Volunteering

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Being in my final year of my dance degree at City College Plymouth, I have started to explore potential careers within the dance industry that I am interested in pursuing further. I have recently finished a work experience placement with Plymouth Dance, in which I was involved in the setting up and launch of Plymouth Youth Dance Company. In all honesty, I had never really considered Arts administration before my placement, however it is an avenue I am interested in exploring further once I have completed my degree.


Throughout the course of the project, I have worked closely with both June and Kaitlyn and this has enabled me to build upon and gain invaluable knowledge that involves transferable skills to help me in the future, an example of this being the components that make up professional emails. As I have always considered setting up my own company, my experiences have meant that I now understand the process much better, especially when it comes to the publicity and promotional aspect, as I was in charge of the advertising on Plymouth Dance’s Instagram page. Looking at other logistics of the company involved me being aware of all of the policies e.g. Data Protection and so I was able to gain a better understanding of the legislative side as well, again enabling me to deepen and consolidate my knowledge on this. 


The audition itself was honestly such an amazing experience as I was able to sit on the panel and this meant that I had been a part of the process from beginning to end. Observing both the technique class and creative session meant that I was also able to build upon my teaching knowledge through observing industry professionals and the way in which they work and so this was very beneficial for me. In terms of what I have learnt throughout this process, I have been able to work on my organisation and time management skills, as well as the way in which I communicate with different groups of people. In addition to this, I have a better understanding of looking at budget and expenditure spreadsheets and how they are worked out. The audition as a whole enabled me to learn about the way in which it works from a panel member’s perspective and how to effectively give constructive feedback. I had to regularly compile forms for applications and registration and so on and this meant that I am now aware of what information is required. 


I am so grateful for the opportunity to work so closely with June and Kaitlyn on such a worthwhile and rewarding project and I am hoping to still be involved with the Plymouth Youth Dance Company. 




Charlotte Potts

Meet the Team – Neil Maya from The Drat Pack

Neil Maya: band leader and saxophonist with the Drat Pack for Tea Dance with a twist

I have had the pleasure of being band leader and saxophonist with the Drat Pack for these wonderful tea dances.

My role as band leader is to liaise with Plymouth Dance to provide the most appropriate live music for the tea dances from the Drat Pack. Generally we find a mix of older styles such as foxtrots, quicksteps, waltzes and cha cha chas alongside some modern pop as well as soul and motown appeals to the broad cross section of society that comes to these dances. The Drat Pack currently works with 4 different singers on this project so I also have to liaise with the singers to make sure we can all provide the right material for the dances. My role as saxophonist is a lot more straight forward for me in that I just have to make sure I know the tunes and horn lines for all the tunes we are doing and then play well!

We’ve all loved working for the tea dances. It has given us exposure that we wouldn’t otherwise have had, allowed us to play music we wouldn’t necessarily have played normally, work with different singers, experience some lovely dancing and meet lovely people from all walks of life. It does of course also allow us to work as musicians which is what we all love doing.

Neil Maya

Who are Plymouth Dance?

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So, who are the Plymouth Dance team?

We currently have 5 Directors: Adam Benjamin, Jules Laville, Maryam Pourian, Tim Tod and Kane John Mills.

The Directors meet 3 to 4 times a year and the Directors meet additionally to discuss and make specific financial or strategic decisions.

The Plymouth Dance Management Team is led by myself as Coordinating Producer and the team expands and contracts, depending on the number of projects that we are working on. So, currently, Kaitlyn Howlett, Chloe Brown and Martha Scholefield are Project Coordinators, Laura Henry is the Corporate Development Coordinator. We all work on a freelance basis and work part time (varying from 1 day a month to 3 days a week).

What does Plymouth Dance do?


To engage people and communities within Plymouth with the transformational power of dance.

Mission statement

Plymouth Dance aims to connect, create and celebrate dance in the City by delivering citywide partnership projects that use dance as a vehicle for individual, cultural, organisational and social change.

The 2 strategic areas of development are currently:

  • Education & Engagement (including Dance & Health)
  • Professional Development (Capacity Building)

We create and deliver the most exciting, innovative and accessible dance offer for our community. So many people don’t have access to the transformational benefits of dance as part of their everyday life: such as the freedom to create; the opportunity to improve mental, physical and emotional health and well-being, whilst decreasing social isolation and exclusion. We know that it’s vital that more people and communities have opportunities to watch, be part of and perform dance.


Current Projects

Tea Dances with a Twist!

Between June 2016 and September 2019, we will have delivered 28 ‘Tea Dance with a Twist!’ events at the iconic civic building, Plymouth Guildhall and 5 events for and at Drake’s Circus Shopping Centre, Tavistock Town Hall, Plymouth Indoor Market, Westward Housing and RESPECT Festival 2018.

TDT is an intergenerational, inclusive dance and social event that is primarily for participants over 50 and accessible for people who are in a wheelchair and/or living with Autism, Dementia, Alzheimers or Parkinsons.

TDT aims to deliver a regular fun, social dance event that enables attenders to improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing, whilst decreasing loneliness, social isolation and social exclusion.

At each event, an average of 110 people attend (maximum number 142) with an age range of between 3.5 weeks and 104 years of age, 30% being male and 25% being veterans, carers and/or dependents of veterans. Currently, we have a register of 935+.

TDT is currently funded by Arts Council England, Plymouth City Council Crowdfunder, Devon Community Foundation, local Councillors Community Grants and Tesco Bags for Help, with support in kind from Plymouth CityBus and Cornish Tea.


Nancy Astor Tea Dance with a Twist! on The Hoe

On Sunday, 26th May 2019, between 1.00pm and 4.00pm, there will be live music provided by The Drat Pack and dancing, led by the Plymouth Dance Tea Dance with a Twist! dancers and volunteers.

The event has been commissioned to celebrate the successful fundraising campaign for the creation and erection of a statue of Nancy Astor, the first female MP to take her seat in Parliament in 1919.

“The people of Plymouth have danced during the darkest days of war. They will dance here again in peace on a Hoe which overlooks a city which has been planned for them, for a wider, freer, healthier, and more prosperous life.”  Waldorf Astor


BITESIZED Tea Dances with a Twist! in care homes and residential settings

We have been awarded a National Lottery Community Grant for an 8 month dance project in 10 care homes and residential settings that will provide residents, staff, friends and family with the opportunity to connect with others, participate in fun, accessible sessions and improve their mental, physical and emotional health and well-being, within a friendly environment.


Plymouth Dance Volunteer Training Programme

The programme exists to offer people in the city the chance to access a wide range of training and skill sharing opportunities and build a skill-set relevant for work within the arts.

Through volunteering with Plymouth Dance you can:

  • Get involved in arts based projects and events
  • Attend training delivered by specialists within the arts
  • Develop your skills and interests through our volunteering opportunities
  • Gain references and a certificate recognizing the time you have given

For more information, please email


International Inclusive Dance Summer Intensive with Adam Benjamin

We are excited to be presenting the third week long International Inclusive Summer Intensive with renowned dance maker Adam Benjamin. Hosted by Plymouth Dance and supported by Dance in Devon, this year, the Summer Intensive will be at the University of Exeter.


Plymouth Dance Membership Scheme

Membership Scheme

Plymouth Dance has four memberships available, ranging from £1 to £6 a month:

  • Tier 1– Social Media Only (Facebook, Twitter and Mailchimp detailing dance opportunities)
  • Tier 2 – Social Media, 20% discount on workshops and one meeting with a member of Plymouth Dance/ June Gamble; regarding career/project development/G4A.
  • Tier 3– Social Media, 20% discount on workshops and two meetings with a member of Plymouth Dance/ June Gamble; regarding career/project development/G4A.
  • Student– Social Media Only (Free or discounted student places for masterclasses and workshops that occur at Plymouth University are already in place separate from this membership.)


For more information regarding Plymouth Dance, please visit or email

The Plymouth Dance Business Plan and other reports can be found on

Meet the Team – Stacey Fowler

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I have worked on Tea Dance With A Twist! since the very first event in 2016, first as a student practitioner and then as a trainee practitioner. I have thoroughly enjoyed, learned, progressed and being inspired from every single event. 

I look forward to Tea Dance With A Twist! every month because no two events are the same and neither are the people you’ll meet, mingle and dance with. The intergenerational community event is a live dance and music Tea Dance aimed for the over 50s. It is a lovely feeling leaving the Guildhall at the end of a Saturday knowing people have danced, sung, laughed and enjoyed some new company; involving themselves in a very unique and fun event with a welcoming atmosphere. 

I have personally gained so much from Tea Dance With A Twist! over the last 3 years. Not only have I gained qualifications and training in ‘Dance for Dementia’ and ‘Dance for Parkinson’s’ but I have progressed in my social dance community practice from a University student to a full-time dance community practitioner. The event facilitates for a range of ages and a range of abilities such as: people with Alzheimer’s Dementia, Autism, Parkinson’s, wheelchair users and physical disabilities. My experience and understanding of enabling dance and social opportunities to all ages and abilities is constantly progressing and developing, all thanks to Plymouth Dance and Tea Dance With A Twist! Tea Dance has been a big part of my progression as a dance artist.

The wellbeing and happy hormones ignite amongst participants, practitioners, volunteers and musicians throughout this wonderful event. There is no better feeling than seeing returning and new community members smiling through dance each month.

Stacey Fowler

Meet the Team – Lucy Freeman

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My name is Lucy and I am one of the lead practitioners for Tea Dance with a Twist!. My role includes greeting people, dancing and at times teaching short phrases that our guests can learn and try out. Most of the time, I feel my role is a lot about about having fun and facilitating a safe and enjoyable environment for those attending the events!

It is an immense pleasure to meet and welcome people who are attending their first Tea Dance with a Twist!, as well as build friendships with those who become regulars. Something I hear often in chatting to our guests is that the Tea Dance events offer a place to be social where previously they might have felt increasingly isolated or lonely. I love being able to spend time with people and hear about their stories. So often a song, a dance or a piece of music inspires memories for our guests and they are fascinating to hear about, and I feel grateful to have been able to share so many of these moments.

Building these trusting relationships is not just an absolute pleasure, but also a crucial part of our role. During his earlier events, one gentleman felt nervous to dance without his stick but was itching to take the floor and enjoy the music. Together we established a pace that worked for him, and these days his stick is nowhere to be seen (and his first dance is usually reserved for me!).

I can’t leave Tea Dance without a huge smile on my face, and seeing smiles on so many other people’s faces is even better! I hope to see you at an event soon! 


Meet the Team – Karen Parkinson

Karen Parkinson – Lead Dance Practitioner at Tea Dance with a Twist!

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Photography Credit: Kevin Clifford

I have been fortunate to have worked as a Dance Practitioner at the Tea Dance with A Twist! events since 2016. Tea Dance with a Twist! is my favourite day of the month! Every event is wonderfully unique, offering different dances, different people and different opportunities to learn. There are many people who return on a very regular basis, allowing friendships to form and loneliness to be combatted. I am so very lucky to have met some incredible people both on and off the dance floor. I have witnessed people coming in nervously on their first visit; not knowing what to expect, whether they are dressed appropriately or where to sit…then (as always happens) they are greeted by another lover of dance; maybe a volunteer, a member of the Plymouth Dance team or the person stood closest to them…and they realise they are welcome.

There are no rules, no expectations or requirements. Everyone is welcome.

A joyous environment where you can listen, watch, talk, laugh, dance with another, dance on your own, dance with friends or strangers.

I know of many people who have come to their first event alone, often feeling lonely and isolated. At subsequent events they have met with the people they have spoken to when they first walked through the door. This had led to friendships, meeting up not only at the Tea Dance with a Twist events but also for line dancing, badminton and walks. Promoting not only companionships and community but also improving lives through better health, increased physical activity, increased mobility and independence.

Tea Dance with a Twist! has also increased my confidence, in both myself and my ability to connect, facilitate dance and engage those around me. I am so very grateful for the opportunity to be involved with such a wonderful, positive and life changing event. Thank you.


Plymouth Dance Internships 2017/2018 – Introducing Chloe Brown

Throughout my three years studying BA (Hons) Dance Theatre at Plymouth University I have fortunate to be involved with various opportunities from performing at Falmouth University as part of a youth dance platform to teaching and assistant across Plymouth and surrounding areas with Exim Dance Company. I have also been fortunate to undergo further training with both Exim Dance Company and Plymouth Dance gaining a First Aid Qualification, Dance and Dementia Qualification, Dance and Parkinson’s Qualification and Dance Leaders Level One and Two Certificate.

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Since completing my degree, I will be continuing my training in the form of a six-month internship with Exim Dance Company and Plymouth Dance commencing the beginning of September through to February 2018. I am so excited to be continuing my journey into the creative arts industry, expanding on techniques I have developed throughout my three years at Plymouth University including delivering dance workshops in various different communities in differing styles and ages. I’m looking forward to working as part of a new team, learning various new skills such as administration and different ways of marketing and publishing through social media.

Chloe Brown

I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey so far with both Exim Dance Company and Plymouth Dance and I’m thrilled to what the next six months will entail; allowing me to grow as a dance artist.

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Chloe Brown



Plymouth Dance Internships 2017/2018 – Introducing Kaitlyn Howlett

For the past three years I have been working with Exim Dance Company and Plymouth Dance on various projects and opportunities alongside my degree. I am now delighted to be able to say I will be continuing to work with both companies in a shared Internship for the next six months!


I cannot begin to describe how excited I am to be kick starting my dance career with this internship, it not only allows me to continue doing what I love but it also means an extended relationship with two of the companies that I have believed in for the past three years. I know that our team is going to feel like a family and I cannot wait to be working alongside three other amazing women.

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This internship will provide me with valuable and essential knowledge that I need for my future aspirations of owning and running a company. I am excited to soak up everything I learn during this time in a hands-on process. I have always worked and learnt best in a practical environment and this internship creates the perfect setting to do this whilst still offering a support network if needed.  It feels strange to admit but I’m actually happy at the prospect of wrapping my head around funding bids and discovering how to start and run a project and who I need to talk to and what I need to document. All of these elements are things that a dance artist beginning their career may struggle to obtain and I am so grateful that I will be working in an environment that can provide an answer to these questions.


In addition, I am so happy that I will be continuing to teach and further expand my vocabulary and experience in a variety of Exim’s dance classes throughout the week. As part of this I will be continuing to work with ADAPT, Exim’s inclusive youth group, meaning I can not only aid this wonderful groups’ development and growth but continue my own development and growth with them. I will be working with Rob Mennear weekly at Animate, a contemporary class for adults with disabilities, which allows me to expand the inclusive practice that I am teaching and continue to work in an area of dance that I am strongly passionate about.

Overall, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to begin building my career with this internship. The knowledge and support that I will receive throughout the next six months will enable me to boost my career as a dance artist and hopefully, set me on the right path for a life filled with doing what I love, dancing.




Kaitlyn Howlett

Illuminate – Tammy Mildren

What an amazing event Illuminate was! On the 18th November 2016 I was asked to take part in a Film with Plymouth Dance Volunteers and ADAPT Youth Company. This was being created as part of the Illuminate Festival to be displayed on the side of the Plymouth Art Centre building on the 24th November. It was such an amazing opportunity to be a part of and I learned so much because I have never done anything like that before. The film involved us dancing in the dark going on and off a platform with wooden boxes that were lit up, creating different shapes and movements. We also played with level and doing lifts and we were exploring different ways of moving for example we played with the idea of not letting anyone get or put boxes onto the wall and we also played with the idea of taking the boxes from one another and fighting over the boxes this was loads of fun.

Then on the 24th November we were involved in the Illuminate parade, which started on the barbican and made its way to Plymouth guildhall in the city centre. We watched the first bit of the parade and then joined in further down the road with the lit up boxes this was amazing fun because we then saw a dance performance by the Barbican Theatre and a projection film that was shown on the building of the guildhall. We then made our way up to Plymouth Art Centre to see our film being displayed on the side of the building.

Thank you everyone that was involved in making this happen this was an amazing experience to be a part of and I had so much fun doing this.

Tammy Mildren

Plymouth Dance Volunteer

Vision for Dance in Plymouth Event

Plymouth Dance is hosting the VISION for DANCE in PLYMOUTH Event
– Tuesday 6th December 2016, 5.00pm – 8.30pm

To confirm that you would like to accept our invitation, please click here: Attend Event

Facilitated by Pawlet Brookes, the event will give all participating the opportunity to contribute to the development of a 5 year vision for Dance in Plymouth.

Pawlet is the Executive Artistic Director of Serendipity in Leicester and she is an accomplished and experienced senior manager and producer. Her consultancy work includes leadership training, partnership building, artistic assessment, business planning, fund-raising (private and public sectors and charitable trusts), marketing, audience development and cultural diversity, events management and international programming. She was a finalist for the 2009 National Regeneration and Renewals Award for Cultural Leadership and has been a speaker at a number of international conferences, including being the UK representative at a UNESCO conference in Stockholm.

This Vision for Dance in Plymouth will be shared with the Plymouth Dance partners (Theatre Royal Plymouth, Barbican Theatre, Plymouth University, Plymouth Culture, Plymouth Council, Arts Council England SW), so that they and Plymouth Dance can utilise it to shape their plans for Dance.

It will specifically inform Plymouth Dance’s Business Plans between 2017 – 2022.

So, if you Teach, Choreograph, Perform, Commission or Watch Dance and would like to ensure that your voice is heard, please join us and take this opportunity to contribute to the strategic development of Dance and the Dance ecology in Plymouth. To confirm that you would like to attend, please click here: Attend Event


What is the schedule for the event?

5.00pm – 5.30pm Register, refreshments & network

5.30pm – 7.30pm Event

7.30pm – 8.30pm Social/networking

 Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please email or call 07818 518079

 Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Yes, attendance is by ticket only, so, please bring your paper or electronic ticket with you to the event

Will refreshments be provided?

Yes, complimentary tea, coffee, fruit juice, water and light bites will be provided. However, if you would like to donate to the cost of the refreshments, please select Donation when booking.

Who has supported this event?

This event has been made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the New Continental Hotel.