Introducing James Wilton…

It’s not long to go until James Wilton joins us for the much-anticipated performance of LEVIATHAN at Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking. As part of our professional dance series this Spring, we invite you to learn more about James Wilton, his choreographic process and his thoughts on LEVIATHAN ahead of the performance…

Q: How did you get started in dance, and at what age?
A: I started to dance at 15, I chose it as an option for my GCSE’s. Things really started to move when I joined Cornwall Youth Dance Company and then I decided I wanted to pursue it as a career.

Q: You trained as a dancer, what makes you want to choreograph as opposed to performing other people’s work?
A: Even when I started at 15, I was interested in choreography more than just performing. I love the challenge of taking an idea that starts as just a seed of a thought and growing it in to a piece of art. I think what I prefer about choreography is that you start right at the genesis of the idea and see it through until the end whereas dancers usually come on board later on in the process.

Q: What are the signature trademarks in your choreographic style and do they differ from your peers?
A: I think the key signatures are the really raw, dynamic and almost aggressive movement quality as well as the introverted nature of the performance. I think the super-human physicality is what drives the work and what sets it apart from my peers. I also think that the martial arts/sport influence in the work makes it quite un-dance like, whilst still remaining deeply physical.

Q: When recruiting dancers, what skills or style do you look for?
A: I think ability to use the floor and partner-work skills are essential as well as an ability to be really clear with movement and intention. I think dancers I work with also have a desire to get underneath the skin of the movement and feel the intention of the movement.

Q: What approach do you take when making work? What point do you start from?
A: I always begin from a philosophical or political starting point. From there I like to work quite independently in growing the idea in to the finished product. I always have a physical goal I want to achieve but don’t always know exactly what it should look like. I think that is where the dancers come in in helping me realise exactly how it should look and what the work should “feel” like.

James Wilton on LEVIATHAN

“I’ve always had a fascination with the relationship between man and nature. What interests me most is the way that we fear each other before we fear nature. We worry about other people and the dangers they can do more than we fear the awesome power of the planet.
For me, Moby Dick represents someone trying, and ultimately failing to conquer nature. The futility of the pursuit, combined with the maniacal obsession of Ahab make for a compelling story and one I am eager to re-create and re-imagine.
As an artist, I am not interested in small concepts. So far in my career, I have dealt with the nature of life and death (Last Man Standing), our perceptions of reality (Cave), and the concept of morality (Rite of Spring). LEVIATHAN, exploring nature and destiny, continues in this vein of big concepts and so offers me, huge amounts of intrigue and inspiration”

LEVIATHAN promises edge of your seat, ferocity of movement that James’ work is recognized for! Don’t miss out, book your tickets today!

LEVIATHAN – James Wilton Dance
When: Thursday 22nd March, 7:30pm
Where: Rhoda McGaw Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ
Tickets Prices:
Standard – £16
Concession – £11
Book Tickets Here!

More information here and at

Follow James Wilton Dance on Twitter and Instagram @JWiltonDance and Facebook @jameswiltondance


Here come the Boys!

We are halfway through our outreach programme for boys in local schools and colleges and we are here to give you an update on how it is all going! Boys from Westfield Primary School, Horsell Junior School and Kings International College partnered with local youth dance group Zambesi Dance Company are participating. They are performing on Monday 19th March in the community dance platform Boys Only, annually hosted by Dance Woking!

Following on from a CPD session with James Wilton Dance, Dance Woking artists are in the middle of creating performances inspired by James Wilton style.

Local dance artist Laurie-Ann Jeffery is working with boys from Westfield Primary School and we caught up with her to find out how it is going at the halfway point…

‘The classes for the boy’s project are going really well! The boys are engaged and great at contributing creative ideas to make duets and trios. We have been exploring moves based on combat and Kung Fu and looking at contact work to portray a choreographed fight.
I have tried to employ James Wilton’s use of floor work, as well as a variation on the ‘whale section’, using canon to ripple through the group!’

Previous Boys Only Platform, Photography: Photoviva

Steve Johnstone is working with boys from Kings International College and Zambesi Dance Company and we found out how he feels about working with an all-male group…

‘Leading this group of young lads is such a joy; they give so much energy and passion every time. Growing up I was the only guy dancing, but now there are groups of up to 20+ boys dancing in schools it is fantastic!’

Also performing are Wellington College and two guest groups that will be announced soon! We cannot wait to see the work that they produce for the Boys Platform!

More Information Here!

Tickets Available Here!

Dance Woking Artists in CPD Training with James Wilton Dance, Jan 2018


Applications Open – Encounters & Party In The Park 2018

Party in the Park & Encounters is back this summer and the team at Dance Woking cannot wait! Following on from the now much celebrated success of Party in the Park 2017, which saw over 15000 visitors, Woking Borough Council will be hosting the event.

Dance Woking will be curating the dance programme once more and is welcoming applications from different dance groups within the borough and surrounding areas to perform at Encounters, Party in the Park or both!

The theme will focus on the centenary of the end of World War 1 (1914-1918) as well as celebrating the achievements of leading suffragette Dame Ethel Smyth as we celebrate 100 years of women having the vote. Once again there will be a main stage featuring dance and music and the Encounters stage dedicated to all things dance from workshops, professional dance companies and community groups.

Encounters will take place on Saturday 30th June in Jubilee Square, Woking Town Centre. This event has grown in recent years and is a great way to introduce your community or professional group to new audiences!
Party in the Park will follow the week after on Saturday 7th July in Woking Park!

If you have a dance group that is interested then please fill out an expression of interest form here and return to Georgie at!



Introducing our Volunteer Coordinator…


I’m Georgie, Dance Woking’s new Administrator. Having been here almost two months I’m really getting stuck into all the work Dance Woking does, and can’t wait for our Spring Shorts to see all the work come to life.

One of my main roles is recruiting and coordinating our Volunteers; people who make our events possible. We are so lucky to have such dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers at Dance Woking, and a new year means lots more events and of course lots more volunteers!

If that’s all you need to hear then please get in contact with me! You can download an application pack to read more about what we offer for volunteers and how to apply.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting regular News Listings about specific roles you can volunteer in such as being a Stage Manger, and meeting some of our current volunteers.

That’s all from me today today, you can meet the rest of team here.

Best wishes, Georgie


Half term with James Wilton Dance Company

Reporter Katherine Bett from That’s Surrey TV visited Dance Woking at the Dance Studio,
Bishop David Brown Secondary School on Thursday 15 February to watch one of their rehearsals. Four young dancers were taking part in a three-day dance intensive to learn James Wilton Dance movement and create a 5-7 minute piece, which will be performed on Thursday 22 March, as a curtain raiser for James Wilton Dance Company’s Leviathan at Rhoda McGaw Theatre.

Initially apprehensive as there were only four dancers taking part the dancers soon realised and appreciated the benefit of a small class; which enabled them to have more one to one contact time with Sarah Taylor, James Wilton Dance Company’s Rehearsal Director and Dance Woking’s dance teacher Laurie-Ann who was assisting the class.

By Katherine Bett Published on Feb 15, 2018

After the session the dancers gave their feedback as well as asking Sarah some questions:

Questions for the dancers from Sarah:

What would you take away from this experience?

Rolling! James Wilton movement is very floor based!

What would you prefer 2 or 3 days?

3 days as it enabled more time to work on technique, correction & skill development

Less rushed, and enabled better friendships to develop and better dance experience

Questions for Sarah from the group:

How often do you train?

On tour there is a lot of travelling to the different theatres so training structure varies slightly, but when off tour training is very intensive, the structure is very similar to the 3 day intensive where the day starts with technique class followed by a break then into creative development and learning repertoire.

 How did you get into professional training?

I would recommend getting as much experience at different styles as possible; so this type of 3 day intensive is very valuable; dance outside school, GCSE and A Level Dance

Different schools have different criteria and styles that they teach and focus on; some may be more contemporary led, others more creative; some schools look for potential more than technique; the schools aren’t looking for the finished product; it takes years of working to gain experience; I’ve has just turned 30 and feel that I am only just full filling my potential! Basically potential teamed with hard work, passion as oppose to a ready made dancer

And Laurie-Ann

A dancers career can seem very short, for example when dancing in the West End your career maybe done by about 23; but with contemporary your career tends to be longer with dancers continuing into their 30’s

Final word from Sarah regarding age

In Leviathan one of the dancers is 43!





February Half Term with Dance Woking – Places Still Available!

This February Half Term, Dance Woking’s youth group Evolve will be working with a company member from James Wilton Dance. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience what it is like to learn dance movement, create new choreography and a great way to make new friends whilst improving fitness and dance technique.

Over the three days, the group will be creating a new piece to present at Rhoda McGaw Theatre on Thursday 22nd March as a curtain raiser for James Wilton Dance Company’s LEVIATHAN.

James Wilton Dance, LEVIATHAN. Photography Steve Tanner.

Workshops with James Wilton Dance are energetic, engaging and inspiring. The physicality of the movement, which shares a lot in common with martial arts and capoeira, is accessible and enjoyable for participants, whilst still being fresh, new and challenging. James’ most recent work Last Man Standing toured to over 60 venues since its creation in 2014 and has been seen by over 15,000 people. As well as his works for his own company James has created works for Scottish Dance Theatre, Opera Graz, Ballett Hagen, Tanz Compagnie Giessen, Verve, EDge and many other University performance groups

Evolve is Dance Woking’s Youth Dance group, made up of young people aged 12 and older, some of whom perform at different dance schools during term time. Last October the group worked with Scottish Dance Theatre to present a curtain raiser in October, and have previously worked with Tavaziva Dance Company and The Urban Playground Team.

Evolve with Scottish Dance Theatre, Oct Half Term 2017!

Suitable for ages 12 years and older, Evolve is open to anyone with an interest in dance and is a great chance to work and rehearse with a professional dance company.

When: Tuesday 13th – Thursday 15th February, 10am-4pm

Where: The Dance Studio, Bishop David Brown Secondary School, Albert Drive, Woking, GU21 5RF

Fee: £60 *(includes 3 days of dance, a rehearsal, dress and technical run through and performance on 22nd March at the theatre)

*Places Available – please download a booking form and return to*


Whats On This Spring…

Dance Woking is excited to announce its extensive Spring Shorts programme, featuring professional company James Wilton Dance. James Wilton is presenting his new work LEVIATHAN at Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Thursday 22nd March. Re-imagining Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick and featuring a cast of seven dancers, Wilton’s trademark blend of athletic dance, martial arts, capoeira and partner-work is sure to display an explosive performance.

Dance Woking’s youth group Evolve will perform the curtain raiser for LEVIATHAN. The piece will be created over three days this February Half Term with a company member from James Wilton Dance. Suitable for ages 12 years and older, Evolve is open to anyone with an interest in dance and is a fantastic opportunity to work and rehearse with a professional dance company.

Also inspired by James Wilton Dance is the education and outreach programme for Dance Woking’s annual Boys Only Platform Monday 19th March. Now in its fourth year, the Boys Platform aims to encourage more boys to get active and participate in dance. Dance Woking are very excited to be partnering Horsell Junior School, Westfield Primary School, Kings International College and Zambesi Dance Company and Wellington College. Sessions in schools & colleges started this week following a fantastic professional development session led by Michael Kelland from James Wilton Dance Company, with the aim to present choreography at the Boys Platform.

Woking SLAM is Dance Woking’s final platform for Spring Shorts this year on Saturday 24th March. Held annually at Rhoda McGaw Theatre, this community led platform showcases urban dance styles such as street, hip-hop, breaking to body popping. Featuring group’s #Fresh, #LilFresh and Tuffney Performing Arts Academy, with guest groups still to be announced, this is a line up not to be missed!

James Wilton Dance, LEVIATHAN. Photography Steve Tanner.


It’s all about the boys

Katherine Bett from ThatsSurreyTV came to see Dance Woking team at Ryden’s Hall, Old Woking Community Centre on Monday 29 January taking part in a CPD session led by Michael Kelland from James Wilton Dance Company.

Published on Jan 30, 2018

The stereotype is that dancing is graceful, artistic, and just for girls. And it’s a stereotype that can be difficult for teachers to overcome during dance lessons in school. Well, Dance Woking is trying to change all that. They’re putting on a series of outreach events in local schools that are just for boys. Katherine Bett went to a workshop where the outreach teachers were learning the style dance they’ll be teaching.

Boys Platform is on Monday 19 March at Rhoda McGaw Theatre

Leviathan – James Wilton Dance Company – Thursday 22 March

Michael led the dance class sharing movement from James Wilton Dance Company’s latest production Leviathan. Leviathan is based Herman Meville’s story of Moby Dick and features a cast of 7, Wilton’s trademark blend of athletic dance, martial arts, capoeira and partner-work, LEVIATHAN will have you on the edge of your seat. It will leave you gasping for air under the sheer ferocity of movement, all accompanied by a powerful electro-rock soundtrack by Lunatic Soul.