Leadership Through Dance

Michelle Gooden, Birinus Youth Activities and Leadership Co-ordinator

Since starting at the end of January as the new Birinus Youth Activities and Leadership Co-ordinator, I have been diligently working to organise a taster African and Caribbean dance workshop for young people aged 13 to 18 years old. This taster dance workshop would be the first to ‘kick off’ our Birinus Youth Project which aims to provide young people in the urban areas of Birmingham with activities which will allow them to show their natural creativity, increase their self-confidence and self-esteem as well as develop team work and leadership skills.

This Project was one of the most successful elements of the Birinus St Joseph’s, Nechells, Big Lottery funded, Reaching Communities Programme. Now it is funded by BBC Children in Need, and involves the West Indian Chaplaincy and the Columban Lay Missionaries.

It has been eight long weeks of numerous phone calls and emails to schools, youth groups and churches, creating posters and other promotion materials, along with numerous church visits to promote our youth project.

The workshop which took place on the 16th April 2014 was delivered by ACE dance and music at the Link Dance Space in Digbeth. Nine youngsters came to the workshop which in my opinion was a good a very good ‘turn out’. None of the youngsters had ever done African and Caribbean dance before. The dance instructor Amayra put the youngsters at ease using humour and her natural ‘down to earth’ style of communication. After a brief warm up and a nervous start the youngsters were soon creating their own dance moves with lots of enthusiasm and laughter. By the end of the workshop friendships were forged and the youngsters expressed how much they enjoyed the workshop and wanted to continue to do some more.

In summary the taster workshop was a real success and I found it extremely rewarding to see the enjoyment in the faces of the young people who participated. This project has been a real ‘learning curve’ for me and has aided my own personal self-development which I’m sure it will continue to do for its’ duration.

A series of Dance Workshops following on the Taster begins Saturday 10 May.

Interested young people 13 – 18 should contact me on M: 07814 497 209.