Sevenoaks Dance Festival

Sevenoaks Dance Festival is an exciting dance competition held once a year at The Stag Theatre.

 

CommunityAd had the pleasure of speaking with Deb from Sevenoaks Dance Festival to find out more behind the history of this wonderful event…

 

Can you explain your own background in dance and how, why and when you formed the Sevenoaks Dance Festival?

CommunityAd Exclusive - Sevenoaks Dance FestivalJess and Deb met through dance – with Jess being the dance teacher of one of Deb’s children. Jess runs The Dance Studio which offers classes in Otford and Tunbridge Wells and also Sawmill Studios in Brasted.

Jess is a dance teacher with 30 years’ teaching experience and trains The Dance Studio Company who compete in festivals and dance competitions. They also enjoy showcasing with performances at Alton Towers and Disneyland Paris.

Deb is a therapist and in her work knows the importance of finding things that bring you joy and sees dance as a wonderful blend of the physical and mental. She feels that the ‘dance family’ that children and young people have around them promote consistency, teamwork and positivity. This forms a large part of the Dance Festival’s ethos.

When attending a dance festival further afield, we talked about how amazing it would be to have something closer to home and give the opportunity to dance to our local schools. From that conversation, Sevenoaks Dance Festival was born.

Our first festival was held in a local school and we were delighted to expand the following year and move to The Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks where the dancers are able to perform on one of the largest professional stages in the South East.

 

What are you most looking forward to with this year’s festival and what would you say have been the most memorable moments from the history of Sevenoaks Dance Festival?

We always eagerly anticipate the buzz of backstage and the excitement of our dancers whilst they’re getting ready to perform. As we have been running the festival since 2019, we are seeing the development of the dancers attending and it is a pleasure to see them grow in their performances.

We were proud to be able to continue to offer our festival around the COVID lockdowns and whilst it feels a long time ago – we still have memories of our dancers having their own taped box on the floor that they needed to stay within.

One of our memorable moments was moving to The Stag Theatre, which we now feel is our home, bringing the opportunity for our dancers to enjoy the stage in a professional theatre setting.

As a local community, why is it so important to embrace and promote dance in the Sevenoaks area?

Dance is a form of expression allowing people to let loose. When a person feels free the body releases happy hormones such as dopamine which can help lift mood and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

Our dancers train with their dance schools and in spending this time together this encourages friendships that last a lifetime. We have some dancers whose parents also danced together as children.

We are proud of our reputation as a friendly festival where all of our dancers encourage one another. We work with adjudicators that score each of the dancers and provide verbal and written feedback for them in a supportive and encouraging manner. We are fortunate to have drawn wonderful adjudicators to work with us at our festival and ensure that they have the same ethos as we do.

Sevenoaks is an area that offers lots of diverse opportunities in the sports space and we are proud to be a part of that representing dance.

 

Do you have any future goals of where you would like Sevenoaks Dance Festival to be in the next 10-20 years?

We would love the festival to continue to offer opportunities for dancers to be able to enjoy their performance. There is currently a bursary for juniors, intermediates and seniors, which enables further training for the dancers.

In regards to future goals, we would love to be able to take that further and offer dance opportunities for those who may not be able to attend through a traditional route.

 

How can readers keep up to date and find out more about Sevenoaks Dance Festival?

You can find us on Facebook and keep up to date with our festival schedule. www.facebook.com/sevenoaksdancefestival

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