I came across you for the first time today as a result of reading the Skipton Grass Roots giving page. I am blown away! I have not seen anything so enchanting, so lyrical, so appealing since the early works by Ballet Rambert (as the company was called at that time) in the early 1980s. I will be back in touch, when I have watched all of your videos on YouTube. I hope to become a sponsor or supporter, even though I am disabled and have no hope of ever being able to get to Hythe to watch you. Meanwhile, thank you ever so for the amazing videos.....
Parent of Iisamaaya member
Thank you for an another amazing show and letting my son be part of it!! When I watch him dance My smile is huge and my eyes cry as I'm so proud and happy to see him dance and enjoy every movement he does. His smile when he's with his Instep friends lights up my heart, Im so pleased he enjoys and will continue to be involved with Instep dance. So Thank you again from a very happy mum
Parent of Company member who will be leaving us this year
I will be so sad to see my son leave this wonderful, creative and unique world and the whole dance-family. So much of what makes him the person he is today is a direct results of all his years in this special, supporting, encouraging, creative and loving environment.
Parent of MayaKaras member 2017
A huge THANK YOU to you and the whole LILA team for all your boundless energy, advise, patience, persistence and teaching beyond the expected - you are having such an enormous impact in these young people's life and they will have lifelong benefits from your support and advise - so incredible important and valuable for their future.
I know it must be hard work, but you must feel extremely proud and have a sense of immense satisfaction, seeing them growing up into these amazing and confident adolescents.
Headteacher . Sonette Schwartz - Partner SchoolSave
I am writing to express my delight in the show on Friday evening. To say I was proud of what we/you have achieved just does not seem to do justice to how I felt. Thank you so much for your dedication to this school and its students. The dance film was breathtaking!! Please pass my gratitude and congratulations
Geoff Spackman - Audience member
I have been a supporter of Instep Dance at the Brockhill Park Performing Arts college in Hythe, Kent for over 10 years. I watch class virtually every week and see the team of teachers and students working together. I am not surprised that the College has such a pre-eminent position in dance nationwide as the work they do is amazing. The quality of their creativity and dance is undoubted and there for all to see but what sets them apart is the bonding, the trust, the mutual respect, the co-operation and the development of fully rounded individuals which is engendered. The term "one big happy family" is often misused but in their case it is true. The students pass through this brilliant, hard working company on their way to the big, wide world with a foundation of inestimable value, a verve for life and the tools to make them citizens to be proud of.
Tekah Barrow - Parent
My daughter has been a member of Instep for the last 3 years, during that time she has been taught and encouraged to evolve and develop as a dancer. It's a pleasure watching her progress and express herself through dance, and a particular thrill to watch her perform in the annual shows, the dedication and commitment of the teaching staff make instep a place where students learn, develop and have fun.
Simon Rickard - Audience member and husband to a ViveKamaya member
Year upon year I’m delighted to see enthusiastic young people eagerly grasping everything Instep has to offer. While having fun they’re gaining in discipline, stamina, precision, responsibility and agility, and constantly developing their natural creativity. For many, Instep represents the best opportunity they’ve had in their lives, and you only have to watch a performance to see how much they appreciate it.
Kenza Bowman - Parent and former Instep member
Both my children, now aged 7 and 4, started at Instep in the pre-school class and have grown in both ability and confidence as they have moved up through the classes. What has been so great is that the teachers recognised them both as individuals and supported and encouraged them to find their own ways to enjoy dance. My eldest is extremely shy and needs a bit of encouragement to join in with people she doesn’t know so the teachers always welcome her and give her the direction that she needs. My youngest suffered with a hearing issue so wanted me to stay with her in the pre school class which was never a problem, the staff worked hard to try and help her do the class independently but never with any pressure – and we got there in the end!
I was lucky enough to have been part of Instep growing up and know what a positive impact it had on my life, from meeting a wide variety of people to taking part in shows and experiences I would never have otherwise had the opportunity to do. I not only learnt how to dance but also how to work as part of a team and the discipline needed. It’s over 25 years since I started and I am so grateful that it continues to deliver classes, and still manages to strike the right balance between being relaxed while maintaining professionalism.
The biggest reason I chose to send my children to Instep is because of the non competitive approach to dance. I want my children to enjoy dance, not be worrying about taking exams when they are so small! If you start putting that pressure on something that should be fun then it would lose its enjoyment for them. There is no uniform which helps them feel relaxed, whether they want to wear a purple sparkly tu-tu or a batman costume then they are encouraged to express themselves! They love taking part in the annual show and really enjoy watching the older classes perform and what they can aspire to achieve. I love how Instep celebrates all abilities and allows everyone an opportunity to explore dance in such a supportive environment.
Becky Butler - Practitioner for Instep and teacher of Dance at Mascalls School
I began dance with Instep when I was in Primary school . instep was my passion through all my school years until I left at 18 to go to Uni to study dance. During my years at Uni the Artistic Director of Instep stayed in touch with me , supporting my efforts and providing me with ongoing mentorship. I moved from my BA ( 1st class honours ) to my MA. The artistic director of Instep supported me again helping me secure some funding for this additional year. When I completed my Masters I returned to teach at Instep, travelling 90 miles twice a week to teach class. I do this because I am keen to give back and to give the next generation of dancers the opportunities I had . I also know that working in this team offers me continuing professional development and I am immersed in a collective of like minded people - we are able to support each other's artistry and ideas. This is invaluable when I return to school to teach
I recognise that Instep is for many young people a lifeline and an opportunity to discover new things about themselves in a safe environment in which emphasis is placed on the progress each dancer makes and the value they all bring to the whole
Sue and Steve Hill - Parent and grandparent
For over 20 years, InStep has provided dance experience and support to our two daughters, one of which went on to become Head of Performing Arts at a Secondary School in Orpington and also to 3 of my Grandchildren, two of whom went on to study Dance at University. The third is still dancing at InStep. My other two Grandsons dance regularly inspired by their mother's experience at InStep. I put all this down to the inspirational leadership, tutoring and guidance that Jackie Mortimer and her InStep team have provided over the years, providing dance experience and opportunity for people aged from 3 to 50 in their many class structures and shows. My family have confidence, careers and futures as a direct result of their involvement with Jackie and InStep.
Doreen Draper - Member of ViveKamayas
I have been a member of the Vivekamayas since its inception nearly six years ago. I had heard that it was for people over the age of forty but I did wonder whether a seventy-four year old would be just too old for such a group. I need not have worried. From the first I have been very much a part of the group and I have enjoyed my participation in it. There have been other advantages. I would have expected that with advancing years, my mobility would have deteriorated. This is not so, it has improved, and so has my short-term memory. I, who came to the Group, with no previous knowledge of Dance have enjoyed tremendously the opportunity to Dance, to be involved in the Drama that is part of it and to enjoy the companionship of some very special people. Who would have thought that at the age of seventy-nine, I would be part of a group of Dancers invited to Dance at Sadlers Wells? What next I wonder.
Eleanor Weekes - Former students at Instep now studying at Laban Conservatoire
I began dancing at the age of 4 and since then Instep has always been a part of my life. I learnt tremendous amounts from my time at Instep and still feel very much part of the company; even from where I am now. The regular classes, showcases, projects and endless opportunities really helped me develop a deeper understanding of contemporary dance and gave me an insight into the professional industry. Not only did Instep facilitate my personal needs as a dancer but also helped me grow as a person and has massively influenced who I am today. Throughout my time at Instep I was able to realise my potential as a dancer and strive to not only fulfill this but to go above and beyond. I am currently in my third year at Trinity Laban and often go back to Instep, especially when I'm finding dance challenging; here at Instep is where I found the love and joy for movement and when I return I am always reminded of my bursting passion for dancing.
Emma Tarabay - Former student , now training at Northern School of Contemporary Dance
I was at Instep for 7 years from the age of 11 and my journey began in the Thursday workshop classes where I was motivated to push myself to get into a company. I was inspired on a weekly basis to explore new techniques; this was an eye opener to the wider possibilities of performance whilst I was also choreographically challenged and motivated to improve with all the support around me. I was lucky enough to be involved in the Mayakaras and Intergenerational Project where as a collective, we worked in collaboration with Lîla Dance. From this I was able to build my knowledge on the professional industry of dance which can now be applied in my training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. My teachers and peers became family. Instep gave me opportunities to see how dance can be used as an outlet for creativity and expression, experiencing this hands on when given working with young children and individuals with impairments. Overall instep gave me confidence and support which I will always be grateful for the opportunities and strength that has allowed me to be the dancer I am today. I know that anyone who is involved with Instep is in the right place.
Amanda Beardsell - Parent and Sponsor of Instep
My daughter started at Instep Dance Company when she went into Year 7 at Brockhill School and has loved every minute! She is now in Year 10 and has gained so much from Instep in both her ability to dance and in confidence. She has learnt through intergenerational dances how to mix well with younger and older members and this also shows in her manner towards others. It is so lovely to watch her and others perform and the absolute professionalism of the Instep is outstanding. My daughter now wants to take a career in dance and Instep has definitely put her on the right path to helping her to achieve it. Thank you to all of you who are involved.
Ro Samson - Grandparent and volunteer worker
I have been associated with Instep Dance Company for more than 30 years, as a dancer, a parent and now a grandparent. My daughters danced, often with me alongside them, from 5 until they left for university and now my 5 year old grandson is following in the family ‘dancesteps’. We are not alone in this. The family connection has been one of the important factors underlying the continued success of the company. I haven’t danced for many years but volunteer alongside other mums and grandparents wherever needed.
Due to the wide age range of its members, from 2 to 70+ it has given numerous children, young adults and the more senior members of the local community the opportunity not only to enjoy dance and have an outlet for creativity but to work together in a quite unique situation, producing some amazing intergenerational pieces. They are also given the chance to work with professional companies and choreographers thanks to the never ending quest for funding.
As well as dancing Instep encourages children to grow in confidence, to develop good social skills, to have the ability to work as part of a team and a ready-made social life.
I have watched as Instep has evolved from its beginnings as a school club and a weekly afternoon ladies class in a church hall to the successful company it is today, due entirely to the dedication and enthusiasm of Jackie and her team of teachers.
Long may it continue !
Anna Noble. EX Instepper and now parent
I first started dancing at Instep at the age of 3 and continued to do so until I was 18. It was a family affair for me as my older sister and my Mum also danced. I loved dancing. I was fortunate because I was part of it all. From the annual Instep dance shows to national dance competitions (which we won) to workshops with Rambert Dance Company. This was not just any old dance group! Jackie was there from day one. She was and still is passionate about dance, dedicated, motivational and inspiring. It was impossible not to get hooked! To this day Jackie was probably one of the most influential individuals in my school years, aside from my family. So now at the age of 37 I find myself back at Instep with my own children.......the next generation! They see it as a fun, friendly place where they can learn a new dance each week and see their friends. I see the broader picture and know that they will learn so much more than just steps to a dance. They will acquire coordination skills, rhythm, musicality, performance skills, creativity, confidence and spatial awareness. They will make new friendships, learn about commitment, and most importantly learn about the responsibilities of being part of a team. Instep has already touched so many people's lives in so many different ways. I look forward to watching my children develop in this dancing world with Jackie and her team guiding them all the way.
Katie Green. Professional Dance Artist
I have worked with Instep on two occasions creating work for large intergenerational groups of dancers. I am always hugely impressed and inspired by the warmth of the Instep 'family', the professionalism, commitment and creativity of the dancers, whatever age, and by the constant energy and enthusiasm of Instep Director Jackie Mortimer. The dancers work at a very high level, which means that choreographically I am able to test out new ideas with them, take risks, and work with them as I would with the dancers in my company. We always manage to achieve a lot in a very short space of time, and then I am confident that practitioners and teachers from the Instep team are able to take on the work and rehearse it over a period of time to ensure the dancers are ready for their performances.
It is always a great pleasure to work with Instep. It is an opportunity that makes me raise my expectations of what can be achieved choreographically with children and young people and appreciate the extent of the potential impacts that being part of Instep has on those young dancers, who give up so much of their time to working with Instep because they love the challenge, and love being part of the company.
Jane Green - Parent
My children have been at Instep for almost 6 years now. My son started in the pre school class when he was 3 and is now in primary workshop. He was also lucky enough to have been chosen to take part in the inter generational project with Lila Dance in 2014 which was an amazing experience for him and all involved from Instep. He loves every second there and I have seen a maturity and passion for dance that has been nurtured by the teaching team. My daughter joined Instep when she started at Brockhill School in year 7, 4 years ago, when she had no self confidence or belief in herself and is now studying Btec Dance and planning on taking A level Dance in 6th form; this would have just been a pipe dream if it hadn't been for Instep. Instep dance company isn't just a dance school; its part of the students' life. It isn't just about the dance: it's about learning to work together; to develop not only their dance skills, but about learning self confidence, team work and also about hard work and commitment. Being part of Instep has helped my daughter to discover herself; increase her confidence and develop an understanding and compassion for others, through working as a team. Instep dance company is our family; the teaching team are like older, siblings to my 2 and I cannot imagine how life would have been without being part of it. I hope we will continue to be in the Instep family for many years yet! "
Fran Hajilou - Dance Practitioner and parent
A couple of months ago, my 5 year old daughter and I joined Instep; Lila as a student and I as an assistant practitioner. Lila has told me that learning at Instep is just like playing and that she loves it!! As a parent this was all the assurance I needed that I had placed Lila, and the happiness she feels when she's dancing about, in expert hands!! I can easily understand why she enjoys Instep so much; simply put, lessons are fast paced, exciting, and fun. During class students are encouraged to be creators of dance as well as learners- I love how this approach has captured Lila's imagination! Instep mentors skillfully mangage this dynamic classroom environment; all the time building confidence and a can do attitude in the dancers.
As a practitioner returning to dance I have been given a huge amount of support from Jackie and the team at Instep and I am very grateful. Since joining the team, I have had access to fantastic professional development; delivered by leading industry professionals. At Instep everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dance goals; it's such a positive environment to be in. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of Instep, Lila and I both love it here!!
Carrie Whitaker - Lila Dance, professional dance Artist
Lila Dance has built a strong and meaningful partnership with Instep Dance Company over the past ten years. We have been incredibly impressed by both the care given to developing the confidence and social interaction of the participants, and the high quality of the creativity that goes into the planning and delivery of every session and every project. As a company we recognise that Instep has a unique approach to engaging artists into their dance community. Not only are we welcomed in to deliver projects but also invited into the fabric of the company so that we can build meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
This approach has led to two-way foundation of trust and respect in which we are able to share our creative ideas with the members of Instep and take them on a highly creative journey. Many of the underlying artistic ideas that inform our own professional touring works are explored and shared with the Instep dancers, who thoroughly commit to the processes.
We believe that this commitment and openness is a direct result of Instep’s ethos to expose their dancers and teachers to external professional artists, and then importantly, retain the information and experiences to inform and evolve the practices of the teaching team and inspire creative excellence in their participants.
Our projects with Instep have inspired us to push our community participation outside of the work we do with Instep and has significantly informed the development of our most recent touring model where community members dance directly with the professional cast and within a professional work.
For us each experience is a highly artistic process and a place to deepen our skills and understanding of the role dance can play in developing strong bonds in a community.
Mel Booth -Teacher
Although a love of dance was the reason I joined Instep, being a part of this incredible company for over thirty years has given me so much more than the opportunity to develop that love of dance. Instep has been a ‘place’ where lifelong friendships have been forged – where I have become part of a very special family. Over the years I have been both performer and teacher. Having started out attending one class a week, I soon found myself participating in all sorts of ventures: competitions, workshops, shows, summer schools, even trips abroad. As time passed, and as Instep grew, I ended up teaching a range of classes for many years whilst continuing to perform alongside people of all ages.
I now find myself working as part of a team that is made up of some of the children I taught years ago! They have returned to the fold having left school and continued their dance studies just as I did - although I never really left! Other children that I taught have also returned – as parents who now send their own children to Instep. I am enjoying teaching them as much as I enjoyed teaching their parents. What a journey I’ve had! What a journey Instep continues to have…
From the dancers at the 2016 auditions ...
" not only have I advanced at Instep but also in GCSE dance where I can apply the skills I have learnt "
" everybody at Instep is extremely supportive "
" I have really loved working with new people and making new friends "
" I have really enjoyed previous years .i have been pushed and challenged and have thoroughly enjoyed it "
" I am passionate about dance and loved being with a group of nice people who feel the same "
" I feel as if I am able to express my creativity through dance"
" I am determined to grow as a dancer and as well as maturing in dance I met friends that I will cherish for a long time "
" I know that Instep training will help me feel less foreign when learning advanced movement "
" I would like to progress and advance my choreographic skills. I am ready to learn more "
" even after several bouts in hospital instep supported me and I felt I could come back and still work hard and achieve things I didn't realise I could "
" Instep will provide me with a platform not only so I can carry on dancing , but so I can unlock my full potential "
From the 2016 summer show visitors book ...
"Amazing show as always Jackie & the team. We all loved it"
"Amazing! Proud to be a former Instepper!"
"Fabulous!! So exciting to be in the audience. Brilliant work all round. Well done to all the team"
"Always such a pleasure to attend Instep shows - fabulous and inspirational. Well done Jackie and all those involved"
"Ive been coming to Instep for 26 years and it never fails to impress or disappoint"
"A wonderful show as always! Every year it gets better and better. I miss dancing at Instep but love seeing all the amazing talent!"
"Non stop smiling! So many magic moments. Thankyou for giving my little people the gift of dance"
"Every year we say this years show has been the best! This year was no exception. The professionalism, dedication, discipline and sheer skill of everyone involved was just fantastic!"