Beth Tiner – Community Dance Practitioner
Hello, I’m Beth and I am a Community Dance Practitioner at Exim Dance Company. I started at Exim as an Intern two years ago, and am now teaching multiple sessions a week in both Community and Education settings, with all ages. Within the sessions I teach I strive to create an environment which is safe and fun, and can allow our young people and adults to thrive and grow in confidence.
I have learnt so much from Exim since graduating from the University of Plymouth two years ago, and the meaningful work we are able to do each day has shaped me into the individual I am now.
From the beginning of my internship I was able to train in different areas of the company, and it was through that experience that I was able to discover my specialities and areas where I felt the strongest, which is working in Primary and SEN Settings.
I teach a variety of Primary Sessions in the week both at Oxford House Creative Hub and Primary Schools across Plymouth. I love being able to support and encourage young peoples creativity, and also give them a space to express themselves. From being with some of my groups from the beginning of my journey with Exim two years ago, I have been able to see the true impact dance has had on our young people, not just as a form of expression but a way to find connection with others and themselves.
At Exim I have been encouraged to pursue my interests and develop my strengths, and bringing my art into my practice has been a huge part of identifying myself as a practitioner. I started off painting in lockdown, started selling commissions, which then lead me to look at mural painting. I was able to undertake Guided Sight Training with Improving Lives Plymouth, where I learnt more about space inclusivity, and how important it can be to clearly identify areas using colours and images. This is where we got the idea to paint the toilets at Oxford House Creative Hub.
Seeing the impact these bright colours and shapes brought to our service users, not just by making areas clearer but actually improving their mood, we decided to make other areas of the space bright and colourful. At Exim we want people to feel calm and relaxed, and being able to contribute towards creating that environment was a joy for me, and also showed me the role of art when it comes to wellbeing. Through the artwork at Oxford House Creative Hub, it has also brought in different commissions from Plymouth Community Homes, and also an exciting upcoming project with the NHS!
The Research and Development Team of the NHS came into Oxford House Creative Hub, and were inspired by the artwork and how it made people feel relaxed and comfortable. As a result of this, they want our young people to help design their new Research and Development Van, where I will collate all of our young peoples designs into a final digital design which will be wrapped on the outside of the van. The NHS Team want their van to feel more warm and comfortable than a hospital environment, wanting to encourage those in the community to use the van who may be afraid of going to hospital. This van will hopefully become a huge part of Stonehouse and surrounding communities in Plymouth, and it is so vital that our young people are part of that process. We will be keeping you updated of the progress of the project so keep your eyes peeled!
Knowing I wanted to gain more knowledge about art and its contribution to wellbeing, Exim put me on Art Therapy Training, where I was able to learn more about how I could bring art into my everyday practice and compliment it with movement. In my weekly Home Education Sessions, we split the session into movement and art, and it has created another form of expression and release for our participants, especially those who don’t connect with movement like they do with art. As I continue with Exim, I am always being supported with my individual interests, and I am now undertaking a second Art Therapy Course to widen my knowledge and develop my practice.
One of the sessions that made me fall in love with Exim and the way they work was their Movement For All Sessions. These inclusive sessions are for adults who identify as disabled, and myself and my colleague Chloe (Education Manager) have been part of it’s journey, as it has now grown into two thriving sessions every Friday. I have never met such wonderful and positive individuals, and they have taught me so much, and also shown me some epic dance moves! Before leaving University I had never worked with SEN groups, but since that first session of Movement For All I knew this was an area I wanted to work in. Before I came to Exim I had started learning British Sign Language, and I had no idea how much I would come to use it in my everyday practice.
For two mornings each week I go to Woodlands SEN School, where myself and my colleagues Chloe (Education Manager) and Sophie (Community Dance Practitioner), lead multiple sessions in the sensory department. Being able to bring my BSL to these sessions and incorporate it with movement means so much to me, and inspires me to develop my training, which Exim is so supportive of. I am able to use my BSL in multiple SEN sessions I lead throughout the week, including Adapt and Movement For All. Due to the demand of Adapt, which is a group for individuals who are 12+ who identify as disabled, we are also going to be launching a new SEN session for ages 5 – 10 years, so keep checking our website and socials as more information about this upcoming session will be out soon!
Photo Credit: Brett Lockwood
At Exim I have been able to undertake multiple training courses, such as Challenging Behaviour Training, Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Awareness Training. All of this training has helped me so much in my practice and knowledge. I have also been able to attend SEN Conferences and get involved with different projects, such as the West End Carnival Parade and With Flying Colours. This year I helped lead the movement during the West End Carnival Parade , which is an event that happens every summer, and it is a joyous community event which celebrates the West End of Plymouth! I was also able to co-lead with my colleague Charlie Cornforth (Community Movement Practitioner) on the fourth and final year of the With Flying Colours Project. We worked with a year 3 class at High Street Primary for a whole year towards a final festival performance, where they were able to showcase their creativity and hard work. Getting involved with all of these different projects has helped me expand my experience of working with different people and organisations, and has given me a better insight on community projects.
Finally, I want to say how lucky I feel each day to be part of such a wonderful team. I love being able to work with these people every day and I have never worked for a team that prioritises wellbeing the way Exim does. I am so excited to see where my journey with Exim continues to take me, and to learn more about our communities and also myself.