Who are Plymouth Dance and what do they do?

So, who are the Plymouth Dance team?

We currently have 7 Directors: Adam Benjamin, Sarah Cobley, Jules Laville, Maryam Pourian, Mandy Precious, Kevin Heathorn and Ruth Way. We also have a Steering Committee that includes Sophie Colthurst, Ben Dunks, Chris Gilchrist and Paula Hocking.

The Directors and Steering Committee meet 3 to 4 times a year and the Directors meet additionally to discuss and make specific financial or strategic decisions. If you would like to be considered to join the Steering Committee, please email june.gamble@plymouthdance.org.uk with a covering letter and CV.

The Plymouth Dance Management Team is led by myself as the Coordinating Producer and the team expands and contracts, depending on the number of projects that we are working on. So, currently, Claire Summers is the Senior Project Coordinator, Laura Henry is the Corporate Development Coordinator, Gemma Ward is the Volunteer Training Programme Coordinator, Heather Walrond is the International Projects Project Coordinator and Hannah Rimes is our Apprentice. Sarah Cobley is our Communications Coordinator and Anne Marie Clark is our PR & Media Consultant. We all work on a freelance basis and work part time (varying from 1 day a month to 4 days a week).

What have we been doing since U.Dance 2015?

Well, we have spent 6 months researching the provision of Dance for people over 50 in the city, as well as designing and developing a professional development programme for Dance Practitioners wishing to specialise in working with people with Parkinson’s and Dementia. This phase of our ‘Cultural Shifts’ Arts Council funded project will culminate in 3 x monthly events – ‘Tea Dances with a Twist!’

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The other elements of ‘Cultural Shifts’ included a Choreographic Commission in partnership with Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery, funded by The Art Fund. Charlotte Eatock choreographed a solo for dancer, Jane Castree, in response to the Gerhard Richter Exhibition, as part of the Tate’s Artists Rooms project.


Charlotte and Jane also created a film and Jane delivered a weekend Youth Dance Choreographic Residency that also resulted in a performance at the Plymouth Museum and a film.

With regard to professional development and in addition to the Dance and Health programme, we have been fortunate to be able to host workshops and Masterclasses by James Wilton and the Hofesh Shechter Company, as well as support Stephen Hodkinson and Paula Hocking via the CPD Dance Card Bursary scheme in partnership with Hall for Cornwall and Dance in Devon.

Also, since September 2015, Plymouth has been visited by companies including 2Faced Dance, C-scape, Rambert, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Hofesh Shechter Company and NDT2. Local choreographers that have presented their work include Heather Walrond, Richard Chappell and Olivia Lockwood.

Prior to our 10th Anniversary year (2017), we commissioned Mary Schwarz and Sue Kay to undertake a public ‘Perceptions and Possibilities’ review of Plymouth Dance. This review has informed our next project – ‘Shifting Sands’ – that will commence in September 2016 (subject to funding).

During the next couple of months, we are working with Richard Rhodes of Vickery Holman Surveyors and Paul Read of POP Ideas (Iridescent Ideas) to deliver a Feasibility Study that will prove whether or not it is viable to convert the top floor of the iconic Tinside Lido building into a Cultural and Creative Hub. This project has been funded by Plymouth City Council‘s Social Enterprise Investment Fund, so watch this space…


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June Gamble, Coordinating Producer Plymouth Dance



Independent Living Zone Stands Avalible

Tea Dance With a Twist! – The Independent Living Zone

Tea Dance with A Twist! (TDWT) is a community social dance event which will take place from 1-4pm on Sat 18th June, Sat 16th July and Sat 13th August at Plymouth Guildhall. The target audience for this project is the over 50’s and most specifically those who are at risk of social isolation and who may have health and wellbeing needs preventing them from participating in a lot of social activity.

Tea Dance with a twist!

We have an estimated footfall at the events of between 300-500 member of the public of all ages. This calculation is based on a previous event we organized at a similar time and day in the City Centre. The event will be extremely well publicized and marketed through some of our key supporters (Plymouth City Bus, Plymouth Community Homes Residence Groups and the Dementia Action Alliance partners to name a few).

Tea Dances with a Twist! - Photo 2

We see these events as a gateway to help signpost over 60’s who are not already engaged to local services or other more regular activities. A major part of the project being about working in partnership with other organisations and service providers in the city to improve visibility and knowledge of their offer resulting in the improved physical and mental health and social engagement of the over 60’s in Plymouth.

Independent Living Zone

We are looking for unique, local businesses and organisations to be a part of TDWT. Each Tea Dance will have a maximum of 12 stands positioned on each side of the mezzanine. The Vintage Tea Room will be beyond this meaning people will need to pass through this area to access their ‘free’ tea or coffee.  The cost of a stand at one of these events is £50.

Although the Tea Dance is open to anyone wanting to attend we will be targeting the following groups making this an ideal opportunity for anyone looking to engage with anyone in these groups:

  • People with Dementia
  • People with Parkinsons
  • People over 50
  • People with disabilities
  • People living in social isolation
  • Plymouth Community Homes Residents

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Tea Dance With a Twist! We need your help…

As you may be aware this year Plymouth Dance has a focus on creating opportunities for older dancers as well as promoting Dance for Health. We have been working hard to build relationships with local organisations and people providing services and advocacy to expand our knowledge and grow our networks. We have become dementia friends and ensured all of our Tea Dance practitioners have training in both Dementia and Dance and Parkinsons Dance. We are now in the final stages of our project planning and on the 18th June our first Tea Dance With a Twist! will take place at Plymouth Guildhall.

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To make sure this project is the very best it can be we have launched a Crowdfunder to try and raise some much needed money towards this project. We also have some fantastic rewards including VIP entry to all three Tea Dances for you and a friend, song dedications from our wonderful band and some that are more focused towards sponsorship and support form organisations. So please if you can possible support this project visit our project file on Crowdfunder.


Image by Kevin Clifford

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Claire Summers

Senior Project Coordinator



Welcome to U.Dance!

Choreographer Charlotte Eatock has been commissioned to work with some of Plymouths finest Youth Dancers who will be performing a very special sited piece of dance at this evenings U.Dance 2015 welcome event! Here is a sneak peek of the dancers in rehearsal and a few words from two of the dancers who have been working with Charlotte.


The welcome commission rehearsals have been nothing but continuous laughter. Charlotte Eatock’s choreography with the seven dancers is highly energetic, vibrant, and humorous the work is completely audience interactive. We have draw inspiration from various and creative choreographic exercises allowing us individually to show our own dance styles.

I have felt truly privileged and proud to work alongside such talented, driven and creative young Plymouth dancers. We are all super excited to open U.Dance on 22nd July

Laura Henry – Welome Commission DancerIMG_3960

To watch and learn from Charlotte Eatock in the way she works has been completely inspiring. The welcome commission process has aided me to develop my dance vocabulary and build my confidence dramatically. It’s been an honour to work alongside professional dancers, undergraduates and dancers from the community on this project. I know I can talk for all the dancers when I say we are raring to show the work we have all worked so hard on.

Isaac Miller – Welcome Commission Dancer

Dance in the City with us!

If you were in Plymouth City Centre this weekend just gone it would have been impossible to have missed us at the Piazza! The sun was out and so were Plymouth (and Cornwall) finest street dancers were out to impress. Member of the public were welcomed into the groove and busted some serious moves with Street Impact and Rhythm Citys Chris Gilchrist.

We even had a special (surprise) performance from Cornwalls 4FunxSake who came down to watch and ended up performing. This has by far been one of our favourite community engagement events we have delivered over the past 6 months. Watching so many different people joining in with the workshops and clapping along to the performances has been priceless.

It was so good we even made The Herald! We still have 2 more jam packed days to go so don’t miss out and get yourself down to Place de Brest on Thursday and The Piazza on Friday 12-4pm.

Here are some images by the wonderful Kevin Clifford of Saturdays 18th July.

Volunteers U.nderconstruction

The training I and many other volunteers have received in preparation for U.Dance 2015 has been fantastic, from learning good communication skills to being qualified First Aiders we have all taken something from each training whether it be a skill or very handy information.

Training has taken place within many different venues to name a couple, The Creative Arts School and the Barbican Theatre. Being in different spaces in Plymouth is exciting as you find yourself seeing most of Plymouth en route to each venue and begin to know where everything is before having any physical training. It’s also refreshing as you get to meet artists and managers who resident within the spaces and are more than happy to help with anything you need.

Being a volunteer we’ve all had the fantastic opportunity to get our training and certificates for free such as being DBS certified this enabling us to work with children and also being first aid trained putting everyone involved with the festival in safe hands. Literally.

We’ve also had brilliant training by a range of people, here are a few I thoroughly enjoyed learning:

Dan Baker, Manager of the Barbican Theatre informed us with Hospitality and Customer Service training, small things that can sometimes be forgotten are always good reminders. For example: Looking presentable and being approachable. Also to be knowledgeable of the event and the area, as if we are a U.Dance 2015 flyer but 10 times more exciting and encouraging.


Photo by Siobhan Bowie-Wooler

Claire Summers, Artistic Director of Exim Dance Company and Project Co-ordinator for Plymouth Dance trained the volunteers within Child Protection and Safe Guarding. This was great training and eye opened me and many others to ensure the safety of children and how to go about it.

Jade Poole, Corporate Funding Development Co-ordinator for Plymouth Dance and General Manager of Exim Dance Company gave the volunteers brilliant training on Networking. Networking is something I have personally struggled with, being chatty and confident with talking to people and creating these small interactions or connections that either gets your name, company or event out there. This is valuable information and training to receive as audience members or dancers will be looking to us as volunteers to know where all of the facilities are within venues, to have a good understanding of the city and other events happening in the festival. So being able to talk confidently about the festival and who we are connects us to numerous different people that we may end up helping or working with for our next projects that we take on.

Rhiannon Williams

Plymouth Dance Volunteer 2015

Dance in the City

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Dance in the City has been a HUGE success! We still have 4 more dates left so make sure you get yourself to one of them and join us on the dance floor or just enjoy watching the fun. We will be at The Piazza from 12 this Saturday with Popin’ Petes Pop Shop and Sunday with performances and workshops with groups from across the South West.

Here are some images of last weekend to wet your appetite!

Images of Saturday 11th July By Claire Summers