Dance Woking Trustees and CEO statement

Children watching a performance

In response to the recent announcement in the local and national press regarding the funding cuts enforced by Woking Borough Council, Dance Woking maybe forced to close in March 2024. The loss of Woking Borough Council’s funding has a significant impact on the sustainability of the charity’s future; we will continue our activities until March 2024  made possible by funding from Arts Council England, Surrey Community Foundation, Active Surrey (Club4) and Shanly Foundation who value the breadth of Dance Woking’s work.

Dance Woking has been providing dance led opportunities since 1994, over the years we have changed our approach to support our evolving community. Our work is essential to the physical and mental wellbeing of the thousands of people we engage and empower. With the funding we received from Woking Borough Council, we raise a further 60% plus of match funding to ensure we can deliver the opportunities and support that the Woking community needs through Trusts and income raised from individuals through workshop fees and ticket sales.

Over the next six months we will continue to seek additional sources of funding and ways to diversify our income to become more sustainable. We are acutely aware of the impact our closure would have on the local community and the team of highly qualified and experienced dance artists and professional companies we employ and work with to deliver our programme.

Through our work Dance Woking reaches thousands of individuals throughout the town’s diverse communities, from young people considered ‘hard-to-reach’ and ‘under-privileged’ to refugees and those living with dementia; our support goes beyond dance class provision.

Dance in Woking is vital; it is an extremely versatile activity. For over 29 years our work has supported the local community’s mental health and wellbeing; improved their fitness; and engaged and empowered Woking’s diverse communities. By providing this support on their own turf, we’ve reduced social inequalities through watching, engaging and performing dance, that without Dance Woking are out of reach for many people. Through our work we make a difference to the lives of individuals. This summer we delivered a project with Woking based SEN School The Park, which resulted in multiple profound benefits, the impact on one student, was described by his teacher: “The power of dance offered to this young man in a safe, nurturing environment, had developed his confidence, helped him to regulate his emotions, involved his whole family and invoked a huge sense of pride in them all.”

In the past week we have worked with the over 65s at Kingsley Care Home and Brockhill Residential Centre as part of our Travelling Tea Dance Tour. The impact of this work on individuals is felt on multiple levels, one attendee said “I have MS. I can go out, it takes a lot of effort and planning… I also realise I can focus on what I can do, other than what I can’t. I can join in here in my own way” another said “My husband died two weeks ago. I felt really down this morning, not having a good day. This activity has picked me up a bit. I feel slightly lighter.” 

We also delivered an enrichment day at Knaphill School to inspire, educate and boost confidence through dance as they start the new term. The day promoted teamwork, resilience and new experiences for the young people involved. In the last 12 months almost 4000 individuals participated in a Dance Woking led activity.

If you are interested in the work of Dance Woking and would like to offer your support during these uncertain times please get in touch, we’d love to hear from individuals, as well as organisations looking to collaborate. We can accept donations online if you are interested in volunteering or joining our board of trustees please complete the contact form on our website:

Main Photo: Dance Woking on the road with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Doorstep Duets, in July 2023. Widening arts access, enabling high quality, inspirational and impactful arts to reach and engage local communities.


Boys take to the stage

Thursday 25 May saw Dance Woking produce its first platform ‘Moving Beats’ focusing on Boys Dance since the Covid19 pandemic in 2020. Groups had travelled across the South East to perform. Nine different groups featuring 68 dancers took part. FuzzyLogic Dance, from Southampton attended with choreographer Zoie Golding, MBE. Smikle Dance Studio and Boys Company travelled from Brighton. Leading vocational College based in Bracknell, Artemis College, brought over 26 dancers led by Woking based choreographer, Carla Crowley (Streetvibes Dance). The college brought two very different pieces, the first ‘Artemis Legion’ used Hip-Hop dance style, the second a musical dance piece, ‘Backstage Romance’ from Moulin Rouge featured a mixed group. Both celebrated boys in dance with lively energetic performances. Soloist, Adi Detemo, an Ethiopian refugee, showcased his skills using a traditional Ethiopian dance style incorporating it with Hip-Hop. Jakob Ujczak, from Kingston University, on a work placement with Dance Woking, created a very moving duet called ‘The Choice’ with a fellow dance student. Vital Signz Dance also hailing from Kingston-Upon-Thames took part with two male duets, ‘Everybody Dance’ & ‘Stronger than ever’. Also performing was Tom Brown, a student from The Brit School, who joined Dance Woking on a school placement. Tom showed his multiple talents by sharing compering the night with Jakob, whilst also reading a very moving piece he wrote about the stigma he experienced as a male dancer to singing a powerful version of ‘Proud of Your Boy’.

Dance Woking Trustee Lisa Samos said ‘Moving Beats was an incredibly enjoyable and enlightening evening of dance, presenting sophisticated choreography with inspiring content and young male performers’ dedication to their craft. Each voice on the stage was bursting with enthusiasm that connected with the audience. Exhibiting movement from a brave and personal speech about the stigma of boys’ dancing, to a solo Abyssinian hip hop piece, and a wonderfully creative moving forest; Sam (CEO/Artistic Director) brought together an excellent diverse talent pool. In my opinion Moving Beats deserves to grow as an important annual event to highlight the thought-provoking progress and celebration of boys in dance’

Dance Woking’s CEO and Artistic Director Sam McCaffrey said, ‘It’s great to be back at Rhoda McGaw Theatre hosting a sold-out show. The dance schools performing had worked hard on their pieces which were creative and imaginative; themes ranged from celebrating the freedom felt after lockdown, celebrating greats such as Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot & Chris Brown, to routines that were due be performed last year and just waiting for an opportunity like this. The audience was appreciative, loud and encouraging. The groups all joined each other on stage to close the show to Run D.M.C & Jason Nevins ‘It’s Like That’. A great way to end the evening, more please!.’

Smikle Dance Studio and Boys Company, Brighton – Forest

Artemis College – Artemis Legion

Artemis College – Moulin Rouge

Kingston University – The Choice

Black Abyssinia – Raya

Tom Brown – Proud of Your Boy

Vital Signz Dance – Everybody dance

Vital Signz Dance – Stronger than ever

FuzzyLogic Youth Dance – ATTENTION!

Finale led by Jakob Ujczak


Amazing Day at Stanwell

Dance Woking partnered with Stanwell Events to support their fun filled multicultural family day on Sunday 4 June on Long Lane Recreation Ground. The event saw local residents enjoy the live entertainment and array of stalls, arts & crafts, soft play, face painting and refreshments. The ice-cream van proved a big hit on this hot sunny afternoon. Dance Woking led two Maypole workshops which were well received, and a popular activity for the whole family, participants joined in with energetic and enthusiastic dancing.

Maypole Dancing with Dance Woking

Sonia Sabri’s The Peacock & The Princess

Ceilidl led by Folk Dance Remix


Stanwell Multicultural day hosted by Stanwell Events Community Project

Sunday 4 June from 11am to 3pm

A fun filled day for all the family! Performance and workshop with Dance Woking and Stanwell Youth Club, a fun ceilidh led by Folk Dance Remixed plus Sonia Sabri Company in the Princess and the Peacock walkabout. There is also free arts & crafts, a soft play area and Big performance tent

Venue: Long Lane Recreation Ground, Stanwell TW19 7ER