Post People: Youth dance club founder talks about celebrating 10 years in Barking and Dagenham
PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 July 2013
Georgina Alexiou, 36, has been helping young people into the spotlight for ten years through Barking and Dagenham Youth Dance, the group she founded. The former professional dancer and performing arts enthusiast talks about her inspiration.
I was born interested in dance. I used to watch Top Of The Pops and would dance in front of the TV.
It was my mum who recognised my interest and first took me to dance classes. From the age of nine I was doing ballet, tap and jazz.
Growing up in Finsbury Park, North London, I went on to study performing arts at a college in Holborn before completing a degree in dance performance at Middlesex University and training in contemporary dance.
I worked as a professional for about a year with a small contemporary dance company. We toured at lots of small dance schools.
Dancing was hard work and you’re living out of a bag most of the time. Auditioning is also tough, especially being told you’re not tall enough, or that you’re hair is not long or blonde enough.
Later in my career I took a job at the Urdang Academy for performing arts — where I met my partner and fellow dancer Constatine McCrae — and realised I enjoyed the events and organisational side of performance more.
I was inspired to start up Barking and Dagenham Youth Dance (BDYD). My vision was to bring the professional skills I had acquired to young people.
I moved to the borough in 2001 and have three children here; my son Able, eight, and daughters Pearl, five, and Blossom, three.
We first ran a summer school to gauge interest and ended up with 15 young people coming through our doors. At the end of the summer school, the students did a showcase and their parents asked if we were going to carry on.
I knew there was the desire and the need for a dance group in the borough so I went off and did some fundraising and we raised enough to carry on for one year. Before long, more and more people got involved and became interested.
I am hugely grateful to the people who have helped to fund and support us.
The thing for me was about opening up the arts to everybody. It was about making sure, no matter what background people come from, their talents were nurtured.
When you tour with a company you are part of bringing in the costumes and part of helping out back stage, and you’re part of that whole environment, regardless of who you are.
People can get tunnel vision and say ‘I want to be famous’ but actually it isn’t about that. You still need to learn your craft.
Former students of mine, who are grown up now, still come back and tell me how their time at BDYD had an impact on them. Their journey is inspiring for me and what makes me keep going.
* BDYD trains weekly at Abbey Sports Centre, Axe Street, Barking. Email admin@barkinganddagenham youthdance.co.uk or call 020 8270 8373.
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