Terri Jayne Theatre Arts celebrates 25th anniversary

The Terri Jayne School of Dance – now the Terri Jayne Theatre Arts – was founded in 1992, whose website describes its founding,

The Terri Jayne Theatre Arts was established by Terri Bowen in April 1992 in Lightwater Country Park with 4 pupils turning up on its first day.

I’ve been a big supporter of youth dance, first encountering it when a Councillor some years ago, viewing the activity as having many benefits, such as fitness, camaraderie, individual confidence, and teamwork. To see the growth in youth dance is encouraging. I imagine the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing has helped promote dance as a fun leisure activity.

The two large such schools in the borough, Terri Jayne and Lorna Timms, each perform at Camberley Theatre – swapping on a yearly basis. I believe they both provide dancers for Camberley Theatre pantomimes.

This year Terri Jayne Theatre Arts celebrates it’s 25th anniversary, and will be performing at Camberley Theatre on April 22nd and 23rd. See advert below – click to expand.

The Terri Jayne School of Dance studios opened by Surrey Heath’s Mayor

Yesterday the Mayor of Surrey Heath – Cllr Bob Paton, performed the official opening of the new studios of the Terri Jayne School of Dance in Guildford Road, Lightwater. As the building was previously Lightwater’s Police Station, it was a nice touch to have Sgt Melanie Sefton, of Surrey Heath Neighbourhood Policing team, join the Mayor in the opening celebrations.

Unquestionably the new home of the Dance School is a superb facility, with two large air conditioned studios and associated facilities. It’s location offers safe drop off and pick-up for students. It’s also on the 34 and 35 bus routes. I think it’s a major addition to the village. For years I’ve been amazed at the popularity of youth dance in the borough, and the number of dance schools. This year the Terri Jayne School performed for three nights at Camberley Theatre, where the cast totalled 275. That’s what I call popularity.

Anyway, I took lots of photos of the official opening, and have combined some of them along with my [amateurish] video of the opening.

Terri Jayne Dance School’s dancing cruise at Camberley Theatre

cruiseWe were in the audience a week last Saturday for the Terri Jayne School of Dance show at Camberley Theatre, and what a show it was too.

It might be considered entertainingly limiting for an evening entirely of dance. Not so. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The choice of cruising at sea as the show’s theme allowed plenty of room for artistic interpretation.

What did we enjoy? Well, the costumes were sparkly and fun, the dance routines obviously, and the toe-tapping thumping music. Personally, I liked the routine to Rod Stewart’s ‘We are Sailing’, a fitting routine to end the show.  I like teamwork, preferring team sports to individual sports, so the ‘Can-Can routine with dancers linking arms pleased me.

There were some amazing statistics that I noted. There were 34 routines – yes, 34, and 278 dancers. Wow, I bet that took some managing back stage.

I only counted one male member of the cast, a small young boy. I also noticed that all the young girl dancers had long hair tied up in pony tails, meanwhile of the 30 odd adult lady dancers only a few had long hair. Must be an age thing.

Not long till the opening of theTerri Jayne Dance Studio in Lightwater

Stopping to take a photo of the trees in Guildford Road in Lightwater, I spotted Terri Jayne Bowen outside her soon to be completed dance studio.

Asking Terri Jayne when her new dance studio would be opening, she invited me in to take a look at work that’s been done to convert the  Police Station into a dance studio. Here are my photos of the visit.

Oh, by the way, Terri Jayne says the studio is likely to open at the end of May.

Lightwater’s Police Station to become a dance studio

Surrey Police is disposing of a number of their police stations, and Lightwater’s Police Station is one such.

The Terri Jayne School of Dance [Facebook page HERE], aka Terri Jayne Bowen, has submitted a planning application for change of use and building alterations to Lightwater’s Police Station, at 38 Guildford Road, Lightwater.

I’ve written at length about the surprising, well to me anyway, popularity of youth dance. The application has yet to be approved by the Planning Applications Committee, and the alterations made. But, having a purpose-built dance studio is sure to make youth dance even more popular.

A dance spectacular about the Olympics

A cast of over 300, mostly children and some adults were on stage of Camberley Theatre for the Terri Jayne School of Dance’s performance of ‘The Olympic Dream’.

Camberley Theatre was full for the last of the five performances of the show – the one that we attended. There was much whooping and hollering by the audience during the show, to which the cast responded.

I’ve been backstage at Camberley Theatre, and know how little space there is. So, managing 300 kids requires military precision. There were 39 separate dance routines, each having a costume change.

The show combined the grace and lightness of the ballet routines, with the punchy vigour of others. Definitely a good evening, at which, somewhat unexpectedly, I was invited on stage at the end to say a few words. What were those words? Simply praise and thank you’s to the magnificent cast, backstage crew, and to the inimitable Terri Jayne Bowen, whom I’m proud to say is a Lightwater resident.

An update on youth dance in Surrey Heath

Mustn’t forget my promise to provide an update on the discussions on youth dance at last week’s meeting of Surrey Heath’s Leisure & Environment Scrutiny Committee [click on Youth Dance to see the paper presented to the committee].

The presentation on the youth dance paper was preceded by an inspiring video from Youth Dance England, highlighting the value of dance to all sections of the community, the disabled and able-bodied.

My questions to the officers can be summed as, “excellent paper, but what’s next. What plans have Arts & Leisure to establish a festival of youth dance in the Borough?” I’m looking for the Council to be the instigators of a festival of youth dance. I know the dance schools provide dancers for our pantomime, but surely there’s an opportunity to be creative, and recognise the numbers involved in youth dance, and provide a Borough-wide outlet for all this youthful energy.

Cllr Alastair Graham offered an intelligent idea, that the Council should encourage places in the Borough for street dance, as can be seen in parts of London.

All the committee members were keen to send the paper to the Council’s executive committee with the recommendation that council officers investigate available funding sources, and to look at the potential for a youth dance festival.

Popularity of youth dance in Surrey Heath

Regulars readers of this blog will have read my amazement at the popularity of youth dance in the Borough – mostly among young girls.

I’ve mentioned the topic often to Arts and Leisure officers at the Council, and to members of the Leisure and Environment Scrutiny Committee. I’ve often wondered about the scope for an annual Surrey Heath Youth Dance Festival, perhaps attracting dance groups from outside the Borough.

I’m delighted that at this week’s meeting of Leisure & Environment we have a paper on youth dance provision and funding in Surrey Heath and the South East. It confirms my thoughts about the popularity of youth dance, where the paper notes:

“According to the 2008 National Sports Survey, dance is the second most popular activity for young people in England, second only to Football.  90% of all Secondary Schools in England provide dance in the curriculum.”

“There are at least twenty-seven commercial dance schools for young people in and around Surrey Heath. Of these, nineteen operate within the Borough.  Ten of the twenty-seven schools regularly stage their dance shows at Camberley Theatre. Most Dance Schools hold their shows bi-annually.”

I’ve got lots of questions. I’ll tell you more after the meeting

Looking forward 10 years

Apologies for the light blogging. It’s a busy time presently, yesterday being particularly busy, with a club lunch, then three meetings in the evening. Firstly, Lightwater Business Association’s October business networking meeting starting at 6.0 pm, followed by the first meeting of Council Grounds Maintenance contract working group also at 6.0 pm, followed by a workshop on the Council’s new Corporate Plan begining at 7.0 pm.

Result, long lunch attended, LBA’s networking event missed, which was a shame as it was the most successful networking event to date, with 27 business people attending. I’ll skip past the Grounds Maintenance working group, straight to the Corporate Plan workshop.

Our current borough Corporate Plan looks ahead to 2015, the new one will look further ahead. The ideas I chipped into the discussion – this is the beginning of the process to create a new plan – were:

  • The council to promote an ‘enterprise hub’ in Camberley town centre, either in the council offices or in empty office space, with the objective of attracting small start-up enterprises to the town centre, probably involving the creative industries, graphic design, computing and so on.
  • A tram or rail link from Deepcut to Brookwood station to give Borough residents better access to fast rail link to London, presupposing of course that the Princess Royal Barracks are redeveloped for housing.
  • Promoting cultural tourism in the Borough, to overcome what I see as the heritage and cultural deficit in our Borough. Also to encourage greater use of our green spaces.
  • Promoting Surrey Heath as a centre for youth dance, with perhaps a national or regional competition festival that would involve the many youth dance groupsin our borough. Readers of this blog will know of my keeness on the value of youth dance.
  • The appointment of an economic development officer in the Council to ensure the Borough is capable of pitching for businesses to move to Surrey Heath.
  • Finally, for the Borough to set an objective to attract a major education college to locate to Surrey Heath.

I think that’ll do. I’m going to be busy writing short papers on each of these ideas. Lot to do.

Increasing popularity of youth dance

Briar School of DanceOn the Saturday just passed the entertainment at the Lightwater Business Association’s, in association with Budgen’s, Autumn Craft Fair was from the Briar School of Dance.  

I’ve spoken before of my surprise at the popularity of youth dance in Lightwater and Surrey Heath. Well, it continues to surprise me. Lightwater has the Terri Jayne School of Dance, who’ve apparently over 500 students. 

On Saturday, I estimated that there were at least thirty young girls from the Briar School of Dance, probably more. Seeing the dancers perform raises the spirits in all who watch. No question, youth dance is on a relentless growth path, and a good thing too. This photo was from my vantage point behind the Lightwater Business Association’s tombola stand. It seems that most people know why we run these events – to fund the village centre hanging baskets – as much as they know that tickets ending with a 0 or a 5 are winning tickets.