Volunteering update from Gemma Smith | Volunteer Coordinator

It’s an exciting time of year for the PD volunteers programme as we gear up to start our new programme. It’s always brilliant to see who will come and take part in the programme and get involved in what is on offer.

The new training programme is looking really exciting and we have lots of really talented people coming on board to give training to the group. In addition to this our Tea Dance with A Twist! programme resumes in November and the volunteers will be in the thick of it meeting and greeting people as well as helping to dance up a storm when required.

IMG_9062I always love this time of year as it is a great time to meet new people and help develop their talent and skills through what we have on offer.

We made a wonderful link with Marjons volunteering, who are sharing our programme out across their students and we also had a wonderful time at the Plymouth University Volunteers fair. Three of our volunteer team- Nicole, Chloe and Faye attended the event and spoke to numerous people about what we offer and how people can get involved. It was wonderful to know that we were offering something that people were interested in and were really drawn to.

If you would like to join the Plymouth Dance Volunteering programme then contact Gemma Smith volunteering@plymouthdance.org.uk



Gemma Smith | Plymouth Dance Volunteer Coordinator





For more information about the Tea Dance With a Twist events please click here


Tea Dance With a Twist | Meet Student Practitioner Stacey Fowler

My name is Stacey Fowler, I am one of the Student Practitioner’s on the Tea Dance team and I am also a 3rd year Dance Theatre student at Plymouth University, originally from Templecombe in Somerset.

Working on the Tea Dance with a Twist event with the Twister’s team over the last 3 events has not just been a blast but also a privilege and I have learned so much and gained a huge amount of experience and memories.

tea-dance-08It is an absolute pleasure being involved in the event as it aims to give a social opportunity for the over 50’s age category as well as being an intergenerational social event for families and people of all ages. What makes Tea Dance with a Twist! such a special and memorable time is that is has something for everyone; whether you want to have a dance, listen to a variety of great live music from different bands, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake, take an interest in the many independent living stalls or just a chat with a friend or somebody completely new!

One aspect of being a part of such an amazing event is meeting people of all walks of life. It is lovely to have a dance and a chat with someone you have never met before, and although I am in dance training currently, being taught basic steps of traditional styles such as the waltz, jive, quickstep etc in the space of one or two live songs by a partner in the crowd who has a lot more knowledge about ballroom dance is an amazing feeling of warmth and shared learning.


Meeting new people who share a passion for a good dance and good music will definitely be one of my highlights from the past 3 events. However, one of my most treasured highlights will be from a lovely lady who came along to the first Tea Dance event alone. We had a few partner dances together and the whole crowd had a few group dances together ran by Jayne. The lady stated to me at the end of the day that she was very nervous coming alone, and without a partner, yet she was really happy that she did persuade herself to come along as she didn’t feel at all alone as there was always someone to dance with, whether being a new dance partner or in the group dances and that she had indeed made some new friends whilst there which she met up with on the next 2 Tea Dance days! These kinds of conversations make me exceptionally happy to be a part of such a special event and a part of such a special team of passionate people! It shows that even if the dancing and music doesn’t get you up on your feet, you can still have a lovely social day out with people who come along for similar reasons!

Being able to dance with anyone and everyone at anytime of the day is such a feeling and I cannot wait for the next 8 events so I can carry on this fabulous journey of community and social dancing as well as meeting back up with all the lovely guests I have danced with over the 3 months of Tea Dance.

Through being a part of the Plymouth Dance event and team I have been lucky enough to have training in Dance for Parkinson’s and Dance for Dementia and it is a lovely added bonus to the days when you can chat and dance with a person who may not find it as easy as others to participate in a social dance event, yet know that because of the training I have been lucky enough to have through Plymouth Dance, there is now a previous barrier broken down a little more when dancing with some one who has Parkinson’s or Dementia. It is a beautiful connection being able to communicate with someone through movement.

I am hugely excited to get back in to the ‘swing’ of things and get back to dancing with the amazing team I am in, to have a dance with familiar guests and to meet some brand new dancers in the hall for 8 more fantastic days of dancing and music!

Can’t wait to see you on the dance floor!


Stacey Fowler | Student Practitioner

Tea Dance With a Twist! Tea dance twister



For more information about Novembers Tea Dance please click here.


Tea Dance With a Twist! | Chloe Brown

Throughout the summer I took part in a series of wonderful community events entitled ‘Tea Dance With A Twist!’. One ‘Tea Dance With a Twist!’ event took place each month from June to August and worked in partnership with local businesses such as Miss Ivy Events, Plymouth City Bus, The Duke of Cornwall, Plymouth Culture and Arts Council England to provide a programme of dance for people over the age of 50, promoting not only the joyous benefits of dancing but it ensures social engagement; an opportunity to bring the community together. An Independent Living zone is present at each event offering support, services and products that enable independent living.


My role throughout each of the events was a ‘Student Practitioner’. At the beginning of each event the team of ‘Tea Dance Twisters’ of which I was part of would introduce ourselves to ensure we could be identified. Each event was structured in a similar way as we had live music by wonderful bands such as ‘Metropolis Swing Quartet’ that provided composition for all genres of social dancing, in particular Waltz, Cha Cha and even Lindy Hop. Part of my role was to engage with people who attend the events. For me, personally this was my favourite part as I thoroughly enjoyed simply having a friendly chat about memories of dance, have a cup of tea from the Vintage Tea room provided or even about everyday life. I felt these interactions built strong bonds and allowed connections and relationships to form. These conversations often led to dancing with one another. Getting the opportunity to dance with a wide variety of people was a valuable experience as I often stepped away after dancing having learnt so many new things. The events aren’t just about bringing people together, it’s a chance to share experiences and learn something you may have never learnt before.

As part of my training for the ‘Tea Dance With a Twist!’ events I attended Dance and Parkinson’s course as well as Dance and Dementia training course. Both these training opportunities are valuable resources as it allowed me to adapt any movement phrases to promote accessibility, a key aspect of the Tea Dances.

Seeing everyone smiling and leaving feeling happy at the end of each events is something I will carry with me. I have gained so many transferable skills that I can apply to own practice such as communication, flexibility on movement phrases, further awareness and understanding of dementia, Parkinson’s and other disabilities and working in an intergenerational context.

I’m so excited there is going to be another 8 events and can’t wait to see lots of new faces.


Chloe Brown | Student Practitioner

Tea Dance With a Twist!

For more information about the next Tea Dance With a Twist! please click here


Laura Henry | Corporate Development Coordinator & Tea Dance With a Twist! Practitioner


Working for Plymouth Dance one day a month as the Corporate Development Coordinator and one of the lead practitioners for the monthly Tea Dance with a Twist! Events my roles and responsibilities are extremely varied from organising the Independent Living Zone to ensure we have a variety of unique local businesses and organisations offering their products and services to the general public .

With just a few weeks to go until we kick start our next batch of Tea Dance with a Twist events, June, Rachel and I are very busy behind the scenes in our Plymouth School of Creative Arts office. We are making sure everything is coming together to make this round of Tea Dance events as successful as our last three. We are very happy that we now have 8 new dates to offer the events to the public in Plymouth at Plymouth Guildhall, first one being the 12th November between 1pm – 4pm.

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Being a PD Volunteer – Lydia Baldchin

I have had an amazing time volunteering for Plymouth Dance. I am grateful to be able to get an opportunity where I can connect with other awesome dancers and companies as well as the public within the dancing industry. Being a part of the volunteer program I have had the chance to communicate more with dance contacts in my local area and have started to network my own experience of dance.

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Image by Kevin Clifford

So far I have developed the knowledge in subjects of importance to me within being a Dance Leader. They include breaking down the meaning of Child Protection such as how to work with children going through a difficult time, to giving them a safe environment for socialising and dancing. Part of this session included how to Safeguard myself and the community that I am working within. Also I have learnt how to Market myself as a dancer and help Advertise different projects by sharing posts through social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. One of the creative classes that I took with Plymouth Dance was with ‘Encounter arts’, together as a team we learnt how to capture our own memories in an artistic way and how to present the idea to the public.


Recently in my journey with Plymouth Dance I have had the wonderful opportunity to get involved with a project called ‘Tea Dance with a Twist’ where I have gained work experience within the dance industry. This project is to support people over 50 with their health and well-being, to raise awareness of disability, Parkinson’s, Dementia and any other medical condition. It’s about bringing the community of all ages together to support one another and celebrate the benefits of dance. At the beginning we started fundraising for the project, I put my new skills to the test and helped with regularly advertising across social media as well as chatting personally to people and my own family and friends. The first event was on the 18th June and it was successful with a good turnout from the public. We had really good feedback from the people that attended and everybody enjoyed themselves. I had a lovely time speaking to the older generation about their memories of dance over a cup of tea and a slice of cake, I also learnt some classic dance moves of ballroom whilst listening to a live dance band called ‘Metropolis Swing- Quartet’. I have also built on my personal skills of self-confidence with communicating to the public. I am looking forward to the next event on the 16th July and then the 13th August hopefully the project will lead us into more events and workshops within the near future.

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I have really enjoyed my experience so far through socialising with dancers of different ages and abilities. I have built upon my transferable skills and l am starting to learn how to work within the dancing environment. I look forward to a future with Plymouth dance and being involved with their exciting projects and gaining more knowledge and experience.


Lydia Baldchin

Plymouth Dance Volunteer

Tea Dance With A Twist!

Recently Plymouth Dance hosted their first Tea Dance With A Twist! in the Plymouth Guildhall, I was the Front of House coordinator so i was going to be one of the first faces that the public would see. To say I was nervous was an understatement because i had never done anything like this before; especially since the whole of the Plymouth Dance team had been working on this for so long.

IMG_9062I was responsible (along with two other volunteers) for greeting the public, writing their details down and putting them on our mailing list; it was really interesting finding out how the public had found out about the Tea Dances. A lot of people found out via the Plymouth magazine or simply by word of mouth so it was really good to know that people had been talking about it and decided to come along.

We started to set up the Guildhall in the morning and when all the decorations were up it felt so real and it was all finally happening. The postbox i had was painted and ready for people’s feedback, the song request cards were all set and the band and the dancers were excited to go. It was all finally happening after months and months of preparations.

The nerves were starting to set in for a lot of us and we were just waiting for the doors to open.

This was the first big event that i had helped PD with and it was amazing to see it all unfold right in front of me. Everyone had an amazing time and the music and dancing was amazing to be a part of…I couldn’t stop myself from dancing! The atmosphere of the whole event was incredible and i was told more than once what an amazing time people were having.

IMG_9093The Lyons Monocle was providing tea, coffee and cakes to the public and I really wish I had one of those cakes now because they looked amazing and people were so happy that they could enjoy a nice cup of tea and then go and watch some dancing.


There were so many lovely people in the Guildhall that day and we heard nearly all of their stories. It made me proud to know that we were doing something for the public and that were loving every minute, they asked for it to last longer and for there to be a Tea Dance every month. Reading the feedback that some people gave us made me so happy and it felt like we were making a difference:

‘Just the thing Plymouth needs – people having fun.’

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Image by Kevin Clifford

All of our hard work paid off and we have been given even more ideas from the public for our next Tea Dance on the 16th July. The whole of the PD team had an amazing time and the dancers worked so hard to make everything enjoyable.

Hopefully there will be even more people that can come and join in and have an amazing time with tea, coffee, cake and dancing at our next Tea Dance With A Twist!




Hannah Rhimes

Plymouth Dance Apprentice


Laura Henry|Corporate Development Coordinator

It’s been just over ten months now that I have been working for Plymouth Dance in the role of Corporate Development Coordinator and what a fascinating journey it’s been so far! My position consists of a variety of different activities. As well as the behind the scenes working in the office based at Plymouth School of Creative Arts I venture out a lot to network and meet businesses, organisations and small local companies on a weekly basis.

Here are just a few of my job roles!

  • Creating and maintaining a database of corporate sponsors current and prospective
  • Creating corporate fundraising packages in relation to the work of Plymouth Dance
  • To liaise with and ‘look after’ current and prospective corporate sponsors of Plymouth Dance
  • Attending Corporate events and conferences
  • Co Designing marketing information for projects
  • Bringing in sponsorships deals

Recently I have been heavily involved with the organising for Plymouth Dance’s next big project Tea Dance with a Twist! I have co designed the marketing information and press release that you will have seen all over social media, Plymouth big screen and in local magazines such as Plymouth Shopper & ChamberLink.

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I am the Independent Living Zone advisor for Tea Dance with a Twist! Its my job to make sure that we have several businesses/services and company promoting what they have to offer at the three dates 18th June| 16th July | 13th August


We currently have a great collection of businesses already booked on for the three events. to name a few; Plymouth Citybus, The Independent Living AdvisorPlymouth Hearing Centre, Frontline Veterans and Plymouth Horizon.

Independant Living Zone Stands Draft - JG Amended

If you wish to be apart of the Independent Living Zone please do get in touch: laura.henry@plymouthdance.org.uk

I am extremely excited to carry on my role at Plymouth Dance and very much looking forward to the future. As well as my Corporate Development Coordinator role, I have recently received one of the lead practitioner roles for Tea Dance with a Twist! which I’m super excited to begin, as I will be working alongside many wonderfully experienced, community dance practitioners, that I have wanted to work with for a long time. No better way then to bring bright creative people together and let the ideas collide.

Through receiving the practitioner role I have undertaken free training in Dance for Parkinson’s and Dementia and Dance training, to make sure that I am fully trained for the position.


Laura Francesca Henry

Corporate Development Coordinator

We did it! Thanks for being a Tea Dance Twister!

Thanks to all your support over the past 30 days we were able to hit (and surpass) our Crowdfunder target!

So here are the wonderful people who believed in our project and pledged to support it:

Janice Summers

Lydia Chantal Baldchin

Ros Twinn

Jade Poole


Adam Morley

Sophie Northmoor

Rachael Nightingale

Maryam Pourian

Hannah Rimes

Mel Williams

Sarah Cobley

We are all busy planning and getting ready for the first Tea Dance With a Twist! on the 18th June at Plymouth Guildhall. So please make sure the date is in your diaries! If you can help us spread the word and promote these events please do and if you would like any flyers or posters please get in touch with Hannah our apprentice by emailing apprentice@plymouthdance.org.uk


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Two for tea?

So the main part of my role at Plymouth Dance is to rope our lovely pool of volunteers into lots of projects and events.  I also spend time looking for other opportunities for them to help out other arts partners in the city or at events where bodies are needed.  It can be a challenging role, volunteering is after all voluntary!…so sometimes despite being super amazing the volunteers are busy with other commitments and performances and this means I have to always be on the lookout for people to support us and join the team.


Two of our volunteers having fun at a Creative Consultation training session.

Over the last month I have mostly been focussing on Tea Dance With a Twist! (TDT!) a project where we need LOTS volunteers to support people in getting together and having a nice time dancing, drinking tea, eating cake and being around live music, people and dance.  The project is going to be really fun and potentially will kickstart lots of other similar events as well.  To support TDT! there is currently a Crowdfunder and I was able to spend some time this month making the film to promote the Crowdfunder and working towards recruiting a team of volunteers to come and take part in the event too.

My role can be very varied and I can go between looking for people to support and outdoors festival, to backstage crew, to marketing support, event hosts to historical experts.  In exchange we develop opportunities and training for the volunteers to extend their own skills and grow, it’s really exciting to see how members of the team really flourish over the  time they volunteer with us and I am excited to see what TDT! will bring to the mix!

Gemma Ward

Volunteer Coordinator

If you would be interested in joining our wonderful team of volunteers please contact Gemma by emailing volunteering@plymouthdance.org.uk 



Dust off your dancing shoes and join us for Tea Dance with a Twist!

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18th June | 16th July | 13th August

Plymouth Guildhall


Tea Dance with a Twist! Will be a monthly intergenerational social event 18th June, 16th July and 13th August that will take place at Plymouth Guildhall, targeting the aging population. Co-hosted by Miss Ivy Events with live music performed by the Metropolis Swing Quartet and a team of highly trained dance experts.

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As well as offering social activity for the community that is Dementia and Parkinson’s Friendly there will be a Vintage Tea Room and an Independent Living Zone where local service providers can have a stand enabling them to provide face to face advice and information. We are expecting a footfall of approximately 500 people at each event.


“We are really excited to present three ‘Tea Dances with a Twist!’ at Plymouth’s iconic venue – Plymouth Guildhall. These events will give everyone the chance to trip the light fantastic down memory lane. 

So, if you enjoy dancing or simply watching and listening to a great band, whilst enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake, Plymouth Guildhall is the place to be on Saturdays 18th June, 16th July and 13th August.

We are also delighted to be working in partnership with Miss Ivy Events and thank our current partners, City Bus, The Duke of Cornwall, Plymouth Culture and Arts Council England for their support. We continue to look for more partners to help us to continue to present more events in the future, so if your organisation would like to become a ‘Tea Dance with a Twist! partner, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

June Gamble, Coordinating Producer, Plymouth Dance

Plymouth Dance currently has a Crowdfunder live. Please click the link if you wish to support the project by sharing on pledging.

Tea Dance With a Twist! is supported by: