“It’s Bria again with my last entry! The Amsterdam exchange has been such a learning experience this week. I have learned a lot about many things, such as the way Amsterdam embraces culture very differently to the way we do in England. This was very eye opening for me and going back to Birmingham I will remember to embrace my culture. I even brought an African print top! To end the week on a high, we had the opportunity to perform our piece with the group Untold and Desta at the Kwaku festival. I enjoyed this and we, as a group, made sure to make the most of it and had a fun time performing the piece. After this, ACE and Untold had the time to walk around the park and embrace the culture and good vibes, we even had a little one two step! I really enjoyed today and thought that it was a nice way of saying goodbye to the group.”
What this whole week has been leading up to, our final performance at Kwaku festival.
“Hi, I’m Chanelle! Today was our last day here in Amsterdam. My body was feeling a little sore but I was ready and prepared for the final push of the week, the performance at the local festival. We started the day with Dester, doing a nice calm warm up which focused on the upper body as African dance requires deep use of the spine (which we have been exploring all week). We then started going through details of a section of the choreography traveling from the corner to warm us up whilst still cleaning the piece. After the warm up we then got straight into the final rehearsal, going through anything that was unclear and re blocking the spacing as there were some people missing. My duet partner wasn’t here today, however the show went on and I had to perform the duet alone. This meant I had to apply myself to change the intention of the choreography slightly because I didn’t have another body in space with me. We also had a rehearsal on the outdoor stage. After a sweaty final rehearsal, it was lunch time! During lunch I popped into the local town centre to get an African print top which I really wanted to get. This trip has taught me a lot about my culture and looking around Amsterdam and Untold and Untouchables youth company we have been collaborating with, I have noticed how much they embrace their culture. I am inspired to be more bold and proud of my culture because it was beautiful to see. After lunch it was time to get ready as it was almost showtime! I was a little nervous as the previous day we had a performance and I didn’t feel as though I did my best. However, the nerves were good because it made me want to give more. There were a lot of people at the festival! I could smell lots of good food from different stalls and great music playing from different tents. We got back stage and did a warm up that also incorporated voice which got us to come together as one to focus for our performance. The performance was a great experience and it was the first time I had performed in a different country. I am so grateful that ACE have given me this opportunity! After we performed we got to walk around the festival and I had a great time admiring lots of people’s beautiful natural hair and dancing to reggae under the tents, sipping on ‘fernandes’ (which is a soft drink that I have fallen in love with here). We then went back to the studio where we were given our final dinner which was some really nice chicken and chips brought from the festival. It has been an amazing time and I have learnt and grown so much as a person. I believe this is what dancing, travelling and exchanging is about. I have learned bits of the Dutch language, connected with ‘Untold’ and ‘Untouchables’ youth company while sharing the universal language of dance. This trip has re enforced how universal dance is as a language. It has been beautiful to connect through music and dance; it’s brought two different cultures together. ‘One Voice’ has been an incredible thing to be a part of. It is home time tomorrow and I have beautiful memories to take back with me.”
“Hi I’m KiKi! Today was the last official day of quite an eventful week. We began the day the a general warm up before doing our last rehearsal with Desta for our performance at the Kwaku festival. As it was the last day of the week, it was understandable that the energy levels in the studio were much lower than the previous days, however we all managed to pull through and correct any imperfections. After our brief rehearsal we made our way to the festival to mark through the piece, ensuring the spacing and movement worked well with the stage we were allocated. We were then given time to refresh our mind and bodies, with a light lunch and some personal time before the performance. From the reaction of the audience I feel that overall the performance went very well. As this was the second time doing the piece, I feel that everyone felt more confident within themselves and being able to perform as a unit. The festival was a nice experience as it also gave both Untold and ACE Youth the time to enjoy each others company in a more relaxed environment. The day came to a close with a meal and evaluation including all the companies that took part in the exchange. This evaluation allowed me to reflect on how I feel the week went, what I had learned and what I can now take back from the exchange and hopefully implement in my own life.”