Iona’s ‘Artist in Residence’ Diary: Week 2 at the Flatfoot Dance Company in South Africa

ACE dance and music’s Education Officer and Company Dancer, Iona Waite, has completed her second week working with the Flatfoot Dance Company in Durban, South Africa, as an Artist in Residence, which is proving to be a life changing experience for Iona.

children from orphange week 2During her ‘amazing’ second week, Iona completed her rewarding work with a local orphanage and has also been taking part in the company class where she had the opportunity to teach the dancers some of the ACE repertoire and new movements!

The month-long residence with the South African dance company is part of an on-going working relationship between ACE dance and music and Flatfoot Dance Company.  The placement was made possible after Iona was accepted onto the BBC’s Performing Arts Fund Alumni Scheme 2015. The BBC Performing Arts Fund is a charity committed to developing new performing arts talent, such as Iona, from across the UK.

Read Iona’s diary and discover the invaluable experiences she has gained during week two at Flatfoot Dance Company:

“My second week has been amazing! Similar to the first week, I have taken part in company class each morning. My favourite class this week was floor barre as I haven’t done a floor barre class in almost two years! Let’s just say I most definitely found my turn out muscles!! I also taught the company two mornings this week, which they really enjoyed. They said that it was great to experience a new way of moving and be physically pushed, and also learn some of the ACE’s repertoire.

“After class we continued to work on the new creation ‘Loves Own Cruelty’ for next week’s performance at the KZNSA Gallery on February 19th. The creation process has been very interesting as we have had to explore our own personal relationships and stories, and use them as stimulus to create movement. This has been extremely helpful when creating doll work as each person’s movement is organic and meaningful to them. We only have three days of rehearsals left before our two performances so we will be working very hard this week to finalise and rehearse the movement.

“This week I also visited a new education project in Kwamashu, another township in Durban. The children come from in and around Kwamashu two times a week to work with the Flatfoot dancers. I was so inspired by the energy of the group and the similarities to the children on ACE’s Saturday class programme – they were full of energy!!

disabled workshop week 2kwamashu workshop

“Thursday was my last day at the William Clarke Orphanage. As it was my last day, I taught the children a small phrase which they will use as part of their performance in March. It was a great experience teaching the children and I wish I could work with them on a regular basis as it’s so touching to see the smiles on their faces. At the end of the class it was very emotional, as the children were upset that it was my last day. Despite only spending two weeks with the group, I had already started to develop a relationship with the children. When I return to Durban, I will definitely visit them again as they hold a special place in my heart.

“My week finished by teaching the ADD group. The piece is coming together nicely and I look forward to completing it next week Saturday. I am looking forward to my final week here, especially performing as that is one thing I LOVE to do!!

“I am enjoying the sunshine and also learning more about the culture here in Durban.”


For more updates, follow Iona’s time in South Africa on Instagram @ionas_bbc_travels