ACE dancer John Ross moving and shaking in Kendal

This week, myself and Jerome took a trip up to the Lake District to stay in the town of Kendal. All week we have been delivering workshops to all ages from the ages of 7 all the way up to 60!

The experiences that participants had – were people who have never danced before in their lives to people who attend regular dance classes.

Being in the Lake District was a nice relaxing change from busy overcrowded cities to what me and Jerome are used to, to an almost ghost like town. Being from Scotland it was really nice to have that peaceful and WET little town, that made me miss home. Even though it’s quiet, the people we have met have all been extremely friendly and really helpful and made us feel real welcome. Even though at certain parts of the day there is no-one in sight! Even in the City Centre! The first night we got here was Halloween and walking down the empty street with lots of alley ways…. at 10pm it did feel like some sort of horror movie!

The education work has been a breath of fresh air! Coming in to teach kids what we have learnt in the past couple of months and from our training made these kids believe in themselves that if they wanted to do this as a career it can be an option. In some of our workshops the quiet kids at the beginning really came out of their shells and by the end of the class were coming to the front of the lines and doing the sequences without our assistance. I feel delivering the workshops with another guy (Jerome) really made the kids want to prove themselves, in some of the classes when we showed the kids – they all wanted praise always asking ‘is it like this, this?’ It was nice that they were so keen to get it right and show off.

It really made me think about what I am doing as a dancer. Even though I am doing it for myself, because it’s something I love, inspiring someone younger than me who is thinking maybe they want to do this also makes it even more worthwhile.  Jerome and I made a real good connection with the kids and I would love to come back and teach them again!

There was one real challenge for us, we didn’t know that we would be teaching 30-50yr olds for a class! some had bad knee’s or couldn’t do certain things, so being put on the spot we had to come up with alternatives for every sequence, when seeing them move we had to think straight away, ok, what is good for these people! It was a brilliant night, really enjoyable, and very nice to work with mature women and men.

There was one group of kids that we taught and at the beginning we had 4 participants. By the middle we had one (with about 10 new arrivals who decided to watch and shout and talk) … but we persevered and carried on what we set out to do and by the end we had about 8 of them dancing fully. This group for me reminded me of my childhood, that I didn’t really have anything like this and was just hanging out outside shops etc. So seeing them and having chance to work with them, I could totally relate. This was the biggest challenge for myself, but I feel it had the best success.

It certainly made me want to continue what I am doing and try my best to inspire anyone who I happen to teach or if they see me perform.

I just want to thank those kids and everyone else who took part in this week. It’s been great! Oh and also – remind everyone to come and watch us perform ICE at The Brewery Art Centre tomorrow (Fri 4th Nov).