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The Weirdest But Most Amazing Feeling

I suppose dancing for me goes beyond boundaries. Like, with language you have to understand what you are saying, whereas with dance – anybody can understand dance.  

Body Politic (BP) plays a huge role in empowering and enabling young people that aren't in the best situation to dream the biggest dreams and achieve what they want within dance. They give so many different opportunities to build the young person up to be the best version of themselves. Like to get people from London down here to Oxford. And other things like helping with the expense of the classes. Currently we run classes on Mondays with primary school kids and then we also do classes at Pegasus Theatre. I don’t think that I would be where I am today without BP. A hundred percent. And EmJ has created BP with her blood and toil!  

I started dancing when I was about four. I wanted to be just like my sisters. They grew out of it but I kept on dancing. I met EmJ when I was about 11 years old at the community centre. EmJ came there just for a drop-in session. At that time, we didn’t have a lot of people wanting to stay there and teach us. EmJ came and spoke to me in the class and she gave me a little leaflet that said she was doing classes. I said, ‘I really want to come but I don't think I can afford it’. But she said ‘keep in touch and we will figure this out’.  

Then when I was 13, I joined Body Politic classes at the Pegasus theatre! I got a free space. It might be called something else now. But it's like for young people that can't afford it – they kind of give like a bursary. So, I managed to get one of those.  

It was completely new for me. There was a studio with mirrors and all these fancy doors, and it was crazy. In the classes I was always at the back. I didn't like the attention or the awkwardness of being at the front, because everyone could see you. But EmJ took me under her wing and said, “you need to be at the front, you deserve to be at the front”. From then onwards, she just helped me build up from being a young person that goes through classes to now being a teacher.  

EmJ has also helped me personally with a lot of struggles – my family, with education. Like knowing that I could do dance at college and university. She was always like “I am here for you”. Dance has always felt like a good switch-off. It definitely helped me when I was younger because as soon as I entered the studio, I knew I was safe. EmJ always says before dancing, “Just forget about everything that’s on your mind and lets just dance”, and it always felt that everything disappears while I dance. And it is the weirdest but most amazing feeling, especially when you have a lot of things going on in your life. 

Whenever I say to EmJ that she and BP are amazing, and I can’t thank her enough for how much she has helped me with opportunities and everything else, she always replies by saying: “No you did that! It wasn’t me, it wasn’t BP, it was you!” Like, you can imagine how humble she is with BP and never takes credit. 

BP to me feels like a real family. A hundred percent. BP is obviously a part of EmJ which also makes it a part of me. I can feel the positive impact EmJ had on my life being replicated on other students as well. For instance, when I teach, I can see if someone had a bad day and they are struggling. For them dance is kind of their breather and BP helps in facilitating and encouraging a safe environment for them. 

BP has also been working with other organisations like a Personal Training (PT) group which is literally right next to the Pegasus theatre. In that the younger kids learned how to box with the PT company and the older kids learned how to lift weights in their gym. So, through these linkups younger people tend to find BP and get to know the nature of the work carried out by BP.  

Recently, only this year BP also organised summer camp for one week. It was a mixture of dance and fitness held in partnership with the personal training company. We had a few people come in and teach. I taught, and a guy who is a part of BP from London came and taught. We also did a fun activity of tie-dying t-shirts, so we all had a shirt to celebrate at the end.  

I can proudly say that BP is an organisation that allows you to express yourself and get wherever you need to be in life through dance. It doesn’t try to prove anything to anyone. BP has always been like: “this is us, this is what we do, and you are welcome to be a part of it”. I think that approach is really inviting. The fact that BP have achieved 10 years is incredible. 

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