Everybody Dance Now is a partnership between Movema, Rise Youth Dance and Filwood Community Centre in Knowle West, Bristol. The project aims were getting the community active, making new connections, building new skills, whilst encouraging positivity and pride in the local area.
The project was one of four ‘Dance Connects’ artist residencies awarded by Bristol Dance Futures and ran between Dec 2020 – Sept 2021.
Penny from Movema and Helen from Rise Youth Dance worked closely with Filwood Community Centre, the Filwood Fantastic team and partners including Knowle West Media Centre, Eight Creative Agency, Knowle West Wishes, Filwood Community Market and more, to deliver a series of ‘Dance Happenings’ to reach the community in different ways and get people dancing together.
We began the project in early 2021, during one of the lockdown periods. So we decided to run a video project based around the lyrics and themes of the community jingle ‘Knowle West Bling’. Where local people and schools were invited to learn 5 fun moves and submit their own ‘bling-tastic’ dance transformation.
This coordinated with the Knowle West Wishes, an arts trail based around the 5 ways to wellbeing. To represent the ‘Move’ wish, artist Lisa Cole created an interactive star, inspired by our ‘Knowle West Bling’ dance sequence.
Additionally as part of this ‘Dance Happening’, our drawings of stick-people dancing our 5 moves were found around the local area.
We launched our in-person activities with an outdoor performance at the Filwood Community Market with dancers from Rise Youth Dance. At the event we shared information and talked to members of the community about the project. We even got the High Sheriff of Bristol dancing!
Leading on from the performance we ran a series of free carnival workshops, welcoming people of all ages and abilities to join us for some fun, uplifting dance activities based around the themes of carnival, including community spirit and positive vibrations! During the workshops we lead dance and carnival craft making including flags and headdresses. This allowed for friendships to develop, discussion about the area and each other. The sessions built over the weeks, starting with one family, then the word spread and we built to a vibrant group age 5 to 70+. With diverse backgrounds.
The final ‘Dance Happening’ was a community carnival performance outside Filwood Community Centre as part of the August Filwood Community Market. We invited participants from the workshops to join us, along with dancers from Rise Youth Dance and our World Fusion adult community group. As well as the performance, Claudia Collins from partner organisation Filwood Fantastic ran a carnival craft stall where the public could make carnival flags to wave along!