Despite facing the usual challenges of a ‘GCSE year’, 16 year old Sydenham School student Patricia Kamara has also spent her time in Year 11 managing her own dance company ‘New Vision’. Patricia has honed 20 year 8 students into a cohesive group, and guided them through a succession of public performances both in-school and beyond! In April, Patricia was honoured for her hard work and commitment with a Jack Petchey Achievement Award.
She said “I suppose it is fairly unusual for a girl still in education to be running her own dance group, and it is a stepping stone for me on the way to achieving my dream of running a professional dance company: so it’s new and it captures my vision of the future I hope for.”
Patricia used the £200 award money broaden her girls’ dance horizons by taking them to a street-dance performance called ‘Back to the Lab’ - part of Sadler’s Wells ‘Breaking Convention’ Project in its Lillian Bayliss Studio.
“We are a contemporary dance company,” said Patricia, “and so I thought it would be good for the girls to see inspiring performances in another style: a way of highlighting the different ways they could take their dance careers, if they choose to continue.”
13 year old Selda Selgjekaj said “It was really interesting seeing such a different kind of dance style.”
Sydenham School dance subject leader Polly Barker asked Patricia at the start of the year if she could help her out with the new company. “After a short time watching me with them, she said: ‘just take them’ - and I did. The girls have really grown up over the course of the last two terms, and several of them are keen to make a real go of their dancing. If I could end up being half the teacher Ms Barker is, then I’d be pleased.”
12 year old Talia McCann from Sydenham said the group’s development is due to Patricia’s commitment and the regularity of both rehearsals and performances whenever they get the chance. “We have already been to the Catford Broadway Theatre as a part of a Laban Dance Showcase which was great, and all this week we have been performing in assemblies promoting dance to the rest of the school. We have had a really positive reaction from everyone so far.”
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