Rhoda McGaw Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking GU21 6GQ
Dance Woking hosted its seventh annual Boys Platform
Boys take centre stage
Dance Woking’s Boys Platform took place on March 2020 at Rhoda McGaw Theatre a contemporary led Boys platform that celebrated both male dancers and choreographers. with a focus on sustainability and the environment; some of the groups also took their stimulus from James Wilton Dance Company’s The Storm as part of Dance Woking’s Spring season of dance which provides opportunities to watch, perform and take part in dance.
Groups came from both Woking and across Surrey. Opening the platform were Dance Woking’s Rotate Parkour performing ‘Out of Control’. Oxford based Company Justice in Motion worked over three afternoons in February half term at Sheerwater Youth Centre with some of Dance Woking’s Rotate Parkour group to create this piece; this was the first time the participants worked with the set, gaining news skills, team working and learning how to move around the set safely. Best bit about the project from the leaders: “Seeing everyone’s confidence grow” Best bits from the Rotate group: “Learning to act and dance at the same time for the first time”, “Making friends”, “Working with the boys as a boy myself, I enjoyed dancing and creating with them”
This was followed by a Parkour demonstration by Professional Parkour performer George Mayfield who showed what the group had learnt in order to perform. During a short interval the set was cleared ready for the Boys groups to take their turn on stage. The platform showcased boys just starting out on their dance journey with groups from Westfield Primary School and Horsell Juniors to those that has reached World level in their age group. Soloist Harry Cassin, aged 12, from Chertsey based Monarch Studios recently chosen to represent England in the Dance World Cup this year showcased the piece he will perform in the summer. The audience were spellbound by his technical skill and athleticism. Groups form Farnham based Weydon School and closing the platform were Guildford based Christ College who performed ‘Canopy’ about discovering the world beneath the canopy, featuring a blend of natural movement and animal instinct, a territory to uncover.
Dance Woking encourages peer-to-peer support, and with this in mind it was great to see Wesley Bingwa perform his new solo piece, Freedom. Wesley returned to the platform after first taking to the stage here in 2014, at the time he was a student at Woking College taking A Level dance amongst others. Now some years later having just completed a scholarship funded MA in Choreography at Laban, London and before that a BA HONS in Dance at De Montfort University, Leicester. Wesley enthused “Good to be back where dance started for me, when I first performed here in 2014 I was inspired by a group from Christ College where the whole drive to be professional dancer started for me”.
Sam McCaffrey, Artistic Director Dance Woking commented ‘the next steps for Wesley are for our organisation to explore how we can continue to support him on his journey establishing himself in the professional dance world. He is passionate about exploring how dance can help those who have been bullied, including the impact of social media on one’s wellbeing. This fits in with an area of work we are also interested in and we are excited to see how we can support Wesley further”.
Dance Woking is a charity supported by Woking Borough Council, Arts Council England’s Project Grants, Active Surrey and Surrey Community Foundation.
Check out some highlights from Boys Platform 2019.