Hi I’m Ellie and I’m in my final year of BA Performing Arts Education. This is my first year as a Making Waves ambassador and I’ve spent the last term working with the Making Waves group and Kaitlyn Howlett. 

This term we’ve been working to improve the dancers movement vocabulary so that their individual choreography skills can further develop. We have been using a variety of different techniques such as dynamics, levels and improvisation to expand the dancers ability to move more confidently and more confidently choreograph solos or group phrases. The dancers have been creating solo and group travel phrases as well as duets that challenge them to use opposing levels throughout. Kaitlyn and I have encouraged them to work with different dancers for each phrase to stop them from recreating the same or similar movements. We have also been recapping and improving upon work that they learnt before the Christmas holidays. I was impressed with the way the dancers recalled choreography and quickly took on feedback. 

During the past few weeks we have been deciding upon a stimulus for the dancers group piece in the upcoming ‘Traverse’ platform. Kaitlyn told me that her aim was to create a piece with a mature theme that the dancers could research and contribute to throughout, we discussed several ideas but ultimately the choice had to come from the group. The result was a politically based piece that explored the idea of class in today’s society. We have been researching ‘Political Mother’ by Hofesh Shechter and discussing which social class we think that we’re from. 

In the sessions I have been using the warm up to improve the girls strength and stamina, since the start of term their stamina has definitely improved and most recently we attempted a squat or plank challenge that lasted almost four minutes!

I have been impressed with the dancers eagerness to choreograph work on their own and with their ability to take advice from myself and Kaitlyn to improve their phrases and I’m looking forward to seeing the piece develop. 

As part of being a Making Waves ambassador I have been challenged to run workshops with other ambassadors in secondary schools around Devon and Cornwall. In November we ran two sessions for GCSE students, one with a drama class and one with a dance class. It was really interesting to see the way the students interacted with us and with the workshop being delivered. The drama students were more reluctant to participate fully to begin with but by the end everyone performed a phrase that I had taught them and they had expanded or developed upon in small groups. 

I’m really enjoying my experience as a Making Waves ambassador, I love increasing my experience with older dancers as a large majority of my teaching background is from children from ages two to ten. 

During my last session with the Making Waves class I was able to teach the dancers some of my choreography. Watching the routine that Kaitlyn and I had been working on come together was incredible, it has improved so much over the last term! At the end of the class I was able to chat to the girls and ask their opinions of the term that I’d spent with them, the feedback I got was overwhelmingly positive and I’m definitely going to miss being involved in the class. I can’t wait to be back with the class again and I’m very grateful for this experience.

 

Ellie Macpherson
Making Waves Ambassador