In February 2011, young people from the indigenous, Polish and Roma communities in Margate came together for Performing Pictures. During five full-day workshops, they worked with Create’s professional dancers to devise and rehearse an original dance piece based on a timeline of Margate from the 1920s to the present day, using dance influences from each era (such as mods vs rockers, Charleston, jive). The dance was performed in front of a visual backdrop created in October 2010 by the young people.
Here, 17 year old Patricia talks about the project:
“I was born in Slovakia, where I lived for 13 years. I’ve lived in the UK since then. We moved because there weren’t enough jobs. I like it here, I have loads of friends now and I’ve got a boyfriend. I miss my family and my friends from home, but we go to visit them during holidays and stuff.
“I’ve done a lot of dance before. I’d been dancing in Slovakia for about five years, and then I had to finish because we moved out here, and now I’m dancing again. I took part in Create’s dance project last year, it taught me new dance moves and to be more confident. I’ve now been teaching dance classes at the Quarterdeck in Margate for half a year, and then I got a job with Kent Community Organisation and was asked whether I wanted to teach dance.
“The main thing I enjoyed about this year’s project was the dance, and the roles that we’ve been playing in it. My favourite part today was the first bit, when we started [Margate in the 1920s]. I like the theme [Margate through time]. I liked everything, the different types of dance, and the different music. I learnt how it was before, because I didn’t know. When Beth [Create’s professional dancer] was explaining what we were going to do, she was saying the stories, what happened and what we had to do, so I’ve learnt a lot of things. I now feel differently about Margate, in a good way.
“During the art, we painted Margate beach, and I painted the mountains from my country and put it together so – I put both countries together. I learnt how to draw a bit better (I can’t really draw properly), and mixing colours.
“There were two new kids in the dance, but we got friends really quickly. I enjoyed working with them, and dancing with them.
“Create’s dancers gave me loads of new ideas that I can teach to my class, and then also how I can teach it. I learnt new moves and how to perform. I feel more confident now. I really enjoyed the performance. I was a bit scared at first, but I did it anyway. I invited my family – my mum, my brothers and sisters, my boyfriend and my friends. They really enjoyed it.”
To protect anonymity, the photo in this blog is not of the participant. All names have been changed.
This case study is from 2011.