Dublin Youth Dance Company

Dublin Youth Dance Company

During February half term RISE Youth Dance invited Dublin Youth Dance Company to Bristol to partake in an intensive week of classes to create a collaborative piece to be shown at REACH. The piece explores boundaries and borders in relation to the immanent process of leaving the European Union. We interviewed Mariam Ribbon, the Artistic Director of Dublin Youth Dance Company to hear about her experience choreographing on this project.

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1.      Is this the first residential you’ve done with another company?

We have done a residential with a youth company in Sweden before however this is more exciting because we are going to perform with RISE Youth Dance in Bristol and then we have the privilege of performing this piece and Helen’s piece in Dublin this summer. This really feels like a fantastic collaboration and also for an extended period of time which is an amazing opportunity to see how other youth companies work.

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2.       Why is the meaning behind the piece so important to you?

Well I thought that I needed to find something that was important and affected both groups, so I thought a lot about what’s going on at the moment with Brexit. I have explored boundaries and borders especially myself being from Spain and moving to Ireland, therefore I realise that it’s a big thing when you move from one country to another. I feel that it’s great that young people want to travel, discover and have new experiences; so the fact that all of a sudden Brexit is happening and there’s a lot of confusion about whether Britain’s leaving with a soft or hard border. Especially because in my company there is so much cultural diversity that it felt right as the starting point for the piece.

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3.       How can the future outcome of Brexit be interpreted through this piece?

I think this piece has a nice ending in the sense that it is hopeful and in the end we get rid of the boundaries between the couple. It shows that although there’s always a chance that boundaries can cause a break up between families and friends, it can also lead to new possibilities. In this sense the piece can be seen as optimistic, although the interpretation really depends on the audience member.


Bath Spa

Bath Spa

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On Saturday the 8th December Performance Group were lucky enough to perform alongside Dance students at Bath Spa University at one of their many performances throughout the year. There was a variety of dance pieces performed by the University students. Performance Group had the privilege to watch these pieces and then perform in the matinee and evening shows.

‘Go Placidly Amid The Noise’ was choreographed for Performance Group by our Associate Director Luke Antysz. The piece explored themes of individuality and identity.

“We stand alone in the crowd and strive to maintain our individuality, yet seek solace in those whose paths we cross. Do we need the testament of others in order to hold the integrity , or does surrounding ourselves in fact initiate the deterioration of our character?”

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Performance Group said…

What was your favourite part of the day?

Greta: Definitely rehearsing and spending time with Performance group to form a closer bond which can be seen by how we perform together

Zerya:  My favourite part of the day was our performance in the matinee as it was the first time I properly felt the power of the piece, and when we came off and Helen and Luke said we looked amazing so I felt really proud of us all.

What did you find interesting about the pieces performed by the students at Bath Spa? And do you feel you learnt anything from them?

Sophie: I loved seeing the pieces the third years had been working on. For me, the pieces showed me that dance can be a medium to entertain or convey a story through as well, because the students' dances were very different to the pieces I have experienced in Rise. I loved the use of costumes and props to inspire choreography and make it especially engaging.

Flo: I could tell how much dancing meant to each student, their dances were unique and carefully rehearsed.

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What have you most enjoyed about your experience working on this piece?

Silas: Working on this piece with Luke has been great as it has really felt like a collaboration with us because we have been able to create a lot of the movement ourselves so it has become more personal and moulded to our strengths.

Sophie: I think my favourite thing about our piece is that its structure allows us to celebrate different dancers as individuals as they have special moments dedicated to them.

Zerya: I've enjoyed learning the sections of this piece and even helping to make some sections, but I've most enjoyed the transition from learning the phrases to perfecting them and making the piece performance-ready.

What does the title “Go Placidly Amid The Noise” mean to you in the context of this piece?

Sophie: To me the title means we should resist the temptation of the frenzy of trends and instead find peace in being truthful to ourselves


How do you think the theme of identity was explored in this piece?

Zerya: This piece has interestingly explored identity as it shows how some people are influenced by others and follow a group in order to fit in, and yet some choose not to be influenced and follow their own path because they understand their identity.

RISE Residential 2018

RISE Residential 2018


A few weekends ago RISE once again spent their weekend taking part in the annual RISE Residential - a weekend designed to bond the company, allow the young people to learn new skills and above all, have loads of fun! This year we went to a beautiful activity barn in Gloucester…


After a quick discussion to decide team names, the activities began with a Quiz by our associate director / resident Quiz Master Luke, who did a very good job of getting us all thinking frantically for some very tricky answers! All the teams did well, but the most exciting part was learning all of the team names we would be up against: Blue Berries (blue), $quad Seven (green), Vinnies Angels (pink) and Urine Trouble (yellow)!

Blue Berries

Blue Berries

$quad Seven

$quad Seven

Urine Trouble

Urine Trouble

Vinnies Angels

Vinnies Angels

Of course, all were still very distracted by baby Kauan…!

After a good nights sleep and a full English breakfast, we had Fort Building! Each team were given a bag of materials with which to make a shelter - marked on their stability, function, decoration and creativity! We had some strong contenders - even if all of them may not have been very waterproof!


Next up we played the long awaited game of Sardines! A version of hiding seek where only one person hides and the group have to not just find the hider, but join the hider in their hiding place - chaos of course ensued!


After a quick lunch, next up was the Obstacle Course! Each team battled it out for fastest team and fastest player! There were climbing walls, rope ladders, cart wheels, tunnels and even trampolines!


Last but not least before dinner we all had a go on the Zip Line to round off the afternoon!


After a delicious dinner of Brazilian Stew it was on to the Talent Show! Each team had the weekend to prepare three acts, including everyone in the team in at least two! The acts ranged for magic tricks, comedy sketches, dance routines and even a bit of singing! It was hilarious, heart warming and beautiful to see some personalities shine through! And of course the night ended with a little party - even the teachers got involved!


After a late night and an early morning the thing we needed to wake us up was our next activity - Go Karting!


Last but not least, Teams spent some time playing games in the activity barn whilst they waited for the activity that requires the most preparation from our leaders for the shortest time spent completing it - the Treasure Hunt! It was an intense and fast paced half an hour of rushing to find the answers to the clues and one of the most competitive games yet!


Finally, the last activity had been completed, the scores totalled and a winner decided! Scraping their victory by 1 point, the Blue team, The Blue Berries managed to take home the winners trophies and a little prize!

Overall, everyone had an amazing weekend and slept very soundly on Sunday night! Here’s a few more too good to not include…!

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The Edge

The Edge

During Half term week the RISE Company took part in #TheEdge

The Edge was an immersive, promenade performance that explored the heights and depths of the ‘reality’ fame machine: wealth, greed, and the need to be better than you are. Young people performing as dancers, singers and actors and everything in between were brought together to create this thought provoking and challenging show.


We spoke to some of the RISE performers about how they got on…

What did you enjoy most about working on and performing the show?

Amelia: It was really fun to do a show with so many people involved. Having the whole performance in different rooms on different floors was also really awesome.


Maya: I enjoyed most being able to dance at the same time as having fun and joking around with all my friends!

What did you find most challenging?

Amelia: Being in both the main dance section as well as the transitions was really difficult, especially having some high energy pieces one after the other.

Maya: Most challenging for me was finding the confidence to act at the same time as dancing during the dance battles and finding and keeping the energy up by improvising around the outside of the stage.

What was it like to perform right in front of people as opposed to onstage?

Amelia: It was a really different feeling when it came to the stairwell pieces, I was surprised to see how much the audience enjoyed transitions! I felt it was a lot more emotional performing directly to people, it was so fun.

Maya: Performing right in front of people was really fun because it felt more casual and so I felt less pressure but at the same time I had to remember to stay in character the whole time because you were constantly being watched by the audience when you were and weren’t performing.


The show focused on the darker side of fame and the reality TV talent shows we have all become accustomed to – what do you think about the topic you performed?

Amelia: There definitely is a problem in recognising limits in reality TV. I think many of these shows strip away the concept of privacy, it’s sad to think about the personal consequences of that.

Maya: I think it was soooooo cool that we were able to dance about a important topic that not many people are aware of including me (before being involved in the show) and I think everyone should be more aware of how unreal reality tv actually is. I think this is really important because young people at the moment are surrounded by so many unrealistic expectations so being able to understand the actual process is really important!

Introducing the RISE Trainee: Connie!

Introducing the RISE Trainee: Connie!

The RISE Trainee Scheme is in it’s third year, and moving from strength to strength! Our Trainee Alumni are heading out into the world and making room for our most recent Trainee, Connie Cheeseman! We spoke to her to see how she was getting on…


What made you apply?

I've always wanted to have a year off after finishing my A-levels and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to improve my fitness and technique before going into future training. I'm also interested in the range of jobs available to a dance artist rather than just straight performing, therefore the insight into the various aspects of being a dance artist available on the scheme really appealed to me.

How're you finding it so far?

I'm absolutely loving the scheme so far, it's been so nice to get back into training after a long summer off, the variety of teaching I've experienced so far has been really positive and I've been made to feel really welcome into RISE by everybody.


What has been your favourite part of the scheme so far?

So far I've really enjoyed having all the different aspects of the scheme so it's really difficult to pick a favourite part, however I'd probably have to say either the technique classes or experiencing teaching dance to children in a primary school

What are you most excited for this year?

I'm really excited for the various performance opportunities I'll have, I've already got a CYN performance and a performance at Bath Spa before the Christmas break!

Introducing RISE Performance Group!

Introducing RISE Performance Group!


How are you enjoying performance group so far?

Silas: I’m really loving Pgroup so far! We are being taught by Luke on a Saturday and B [Batel] on a Thursday and I love both of their classes, so I’m enjoying being taught by them both!

Sadie: I am loving Pgroup! It's been so nice to start working together as the new part of the company!

Sophie: I'm really enjoying Pgroup so far this year. I am loving working towards a piece with Luke!

Flo: I am really enjoying my first year at Pgroup, I feel like, as it is a small group everyone is improving so fast.

Greta: I’m really enjoying pgroup so far this year. Being new to Pgroup, an exciting part of it is focusing on creating a piece which is longer and more difficult than pieces in core RISE.

Jacob: I’m really enjoying Pgroup; its exciting to try new and inventive ways of moving and performing.


If you are a Pgroup veteran how does it compared to last year, now that Pgroup is a separate company?

Silas: I really like the change. It feels like we are getting more individual attention which is nice because it means we can improve quicker!

Sadie: The change is good! I feel we are getting higher level training and it's nice as we are getting more individual help.

Sophie: Performance group this year is different because we have Thursdays with B so we are getting a change of technique class. Also it is nice to be in a smaller group because there is more focus on each person.


What is most challenging about Pgroup?

Silas: I think the most challenging part of Pgroup is the pieces as they are always much harder technically, but I really feel I am improving with each rehearsal.

Sadie: The most challenging part is definitely the choreography and tasks we've been doing towards the piece, however it's definitely worth it, seeing it come together.

Sophie: The most challenging part of Pgroup is some of B's technique exercises because she really pushes us out of our comfort zone.

Greta: The most challenging part of Pgroup is being pushed technically through a variety of exercises in class.

Flo: I am really looking forward to seeing our piece done and being performed, the choreography is the most challenging part however is helping us improve each week.

Jacob: The biggest challenge is techniques during our warm up!


What are you most looking forward to this year?

Silas: I would have to say I am most looking forward to the piece we are working at the moment, as I am really liking how it is looking so far and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Sadie: I am most looking forward to finishing the piece and being able to perform it all together as the first performances as a company.

Sophie: I am most looking forward to becoming close as a company and having a beautiful finished piece.

Greta: I most looking forward to completing the piece and being able to perform it with the rest of the company. I’m also looking forward to working with the rest of the core company and creating relationships with them too.

Jacob: I’m most looking forward to finishing our piece, seeing the final look and how it will turn out.

Welcome Back RISE!

Welcome Back RISE!


What is it like being part of RISE this year?

Vinnie: I’m really excited to be a part of RISE this year. It’s been awesome to have such a great group of new dancers join the company, especially as they all have such brilliant energy and we all get along so well! I can’t wait to bond with everybody this year and create some amazing dance, RISE-style!

Amelia: It’s really awesome to be one of the older members that the younger ones look up to. I also love seeing a lot of last year’s horizon and junior members joining RISE and growing as dancers.

Lily: Really fun, but different as performance group have separated.

Erin: Being part of RISE this year is really cool because I have met a lot of different people and made new friends. I also really like it because this is my second year in RISE and I feel a lot more confident.

Amali: Being part of RISE this year is so much fun and just the best experience.


What is best thing about RISE?

Vinnie: There’s no one best thing about RISE! The love and support within the company, the laughs, the excellent teachers and trainers, and the range of dance projects and styles all play a part towards making RISE a phenomenal company. To pick one thing, though - I would say getting to see people grow and become stronger and more confident in themselves. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Amelia: RISE is almost like a second family. It’s always so supportive and it offers so much in terms of developing in dance as well as offering important life skills.

Lily: The best thing is getting to know new people and dances and being part of a big family.

Erin: The best thing about RISE is all the amazing opportunities we are given. I have had the chance to perform in lots of different places and lots of different events and even had discounts on some amazing shows in Bristol.

Amali: The best part of RISE is the community, everyone is so nice and welcoming.


What is the hardest bit about RISE?

Vinnie: Getting up at 7 on a Saturday! Honestly, though, my answer to this would be going through those times when you feel less confident in yourself and when just showing up to a rehearsal can feel really difficult. Although dancing is a fun and social activity, there are times when you can feel like you’re not ‘good enough’ or that you’re not reaching a level that you’d like to be at. These times of self-doubt can be tricky to deal with, but ultimately are such an amazing part of the growth in self-confidence that comes with dancing - and the kindness I’ve experienced within RISE towards people going through hard times makes them a million times easier to get through.

Amelia: For first year it was hard for me to work out how to balance weekend rehearsals with other responsibilities, especially doing GCSEs. Second year round though, I’m much more confident.

Lily: Personally, I find contemporary quite difficult.

Erin: The hardest thing about RISE is learning different styles. This requires a lot of confidence and self-belief , I find this hard because sometimes it can be kind of scary, but then when you get something right in the performance or something, you feel really good.

Amali: The hardest part of RISE is probably how achy you are the day after.


Are you excited to be performing The Edge at the Arnolfini on the 30th October?

Vinnie: Sadly I’m not going to be performing at the Arnolfini on October 30th, but the work RISE dancers have been putting into the show has been incredible to see and has produced some exciting and captivating choreography. Good luck to all the Risers who are performing in the Edge, and I would definitely recommend to anyone to go and see it!

Amelia: Totally! I really enjoyed doing the Rights to Move show with CYN last year and loved all the ideas behind it, it’s great to do another project with them.

Lily: Yes I’m very exited, but nervous.

Erin: I’m really excited about performing at the Arnolfini, its gonna be really fun and really cool, and an amazing opportunity. I’m excited because it isnt a show with just RISE, instead its got people from all over bristol.

Amali: I am extremely exited for The Edge as it will be my first performance with RISE and I expect it will be a lot of fun!

Harbourside Festival 2018

Harbourside Festival 2018

Bristol Harbourside Festival

On Saturday 21st July we went and performed at Harbourside Festival! Last year the Festival didn't have a Dance Stage, so we were extremely excited that they reintroduced it and we were first in line to apply to appear! Take a look at some of our pics from the day!


St Pauls Carnival

St Pauls Carnival

This year marked the 50th anniversary and return of St Pauls Carnival! RISE were absolutely delighted to be a part of the event and we worked so so hard to make it amazing. We had a troupe of over 80 people spanning from as young as 12 to adults - all with fantastic routines to perform and costumes to flaunt! It was a huge success and a joy to take part it!

Procession Leader and Dancehall teacher Deanna Roberts

Procession Leader and Dancehall teacher Deanna Roberts

Another group shot of some of our Leaders

Another group shot of some of our Leaders

Beautiful costumes lent to use by the wonderful Pareesha Valentina

Beautiful costumes lent to use by the wonderful Pareesha Valentina

Our very own Carnival King, water distributer and associate director of RISE Luke Antysz

Our very own Carnival King, water distributer and associate director of RISE Luke Antysz

Carnival King and Chief Volunteer Rico

Carnival King and Chief Volunteer Rico

Chloe rocking her Devil Costume

Chloe rocking her Devil Costume

Zerya, Jago and Amelia getting ready for the procession

Zerya, Jago and Amelia getting ready for the procession

Our full troupe sweaty and exhausted but happy, after 5 hours on the road!

Our full troupe sweaty and exhausted but happy, after 5 hours on the road!

Take a look at our video if you missed out!

Dancehall and Carnival Costume Making with Pareesha Valentina

Dancehall and Carnival Costume Making with Pareesha Valentina

Dancehall and Carnival Costume Making with Pareesha Valentina!

RISE were lucky enough to have Pareesha Valentina come all the way down from Leeds to lead a workshop in Carnival costume making! She took us through how to create devil horns, devil wings  and head pieces using gems, specialised wire and industrial glue!

We created some amazing pieces that we can't wait to were at St Pauls Carnival...but we don't want to give too much away!

The young people tracing out their horns and crowns and Trainee Imogen making some ribbons!

The young people tracing out their horns and crowns and Trainee Imogen making some ribbons!

Making use of some industrial glue..!

Making use of some industrial glue..!

Getting our sewing machine on..!

Getting our sewing machine on..!

 Not only that, but she lead a Dancehall workshop for the whole company! We learnt fundamental dancehall moves and put them all together in a super fun routine. It was especially nice to see our Dancehall teacher Deanna Roberts absolutely smash the class and work it with Pareesha.

Check out this video!

Find Pareesha on Facebook Valentina's Collective and Instagram @valentinascollective

REACH 2018: Find Your Own Journey

REACH 2018: Find Your Own Journey


This years REACH was a special one, as it marks the 10th Anniversary of RISE Youth Dance!


Held at the Trinity Centre in Bristol, the show attracted over 400 people over 3 days who helped us sell out 4 shows! Preparation for the show began months in advance with all of the team working incredibly hard to make it happen. 

Two full weekends of rehearsals, technical and dress rehearsals were called to pull the show together, not an easy task when having to accommodate so many different groups of various ages

REACH 2018 was a beautiful, moving and rewarding show for all, from the audience to the teachers to the performers.

With a growing number of students involved and more volunteers and leader than ever before we had a busy time getting ready back stage!

RISE Teacher Erin fixes one of her students costume

RISE Teacher Erin fixes one of her students costume

Trainee Imogen helps a dancer patch up before going on stage

Trainee Imogen helps a dancer patch up before going on stage

Greta getting ready for the stage!

Greta getting ready for the stage!

Flo looking cute!

Flo looking cute!

The first half of the show explored the idea that although we often strive for the same things, we each must find our own way. The dancers have been invited to think about their own journeys, their future opportunities and the decisions they may make.

Juniors perform their piece 

Juniors perform their piece 

RISE performing 'Alligned'

RISE performing 'Alligned'

RISE performing a piece choreographed by Silas Grocott-Cain

RISE performing a piece choreographed by Silas Grocott-Cain

Horison South Performing 

Horison South Performing 

All of the beautiful photography used in this article was taken by Malcolm Rea - we are so grateful he was able to capture such amazing images!

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

Performance Group performing Luta

The second half of the show celebrates the achievements of the company and the young people that have been part of its journey. We have revived some of our favourite pieces from the last 10 years, and invited previous company members on their own journeys, some working as professional dancers or training professionally, to join with the 2018 company.

Cameron and Deanna performing 'Catatonia'

Cameron and Deanna performing 'Catatonia'

Jasmin, Imogen, Cameron and Josie performing 'Kenjo'

Jasmin, Imogen, Cameron and Josie performing 'Kenjo'

Olive leading the performance of 'Providence'

Olive leading the performance of 'Providence'

Imogen, Olive, Zerya, Alamay and Paula performing 'Catatonia'

Imogen, Olive, Zerya, Alamay and Paula performing 'Catatonia'

On the Saturday Matinee Performance we were able to showcase another, very important, side of RISE! We teach world styles and had an afternoon of Carnival and Dancehall!

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

RISE performing 'Ministry of Road' 

REACH was a joy to watch and to be a part of - if you missed it, you can watch some of the reactions in this short video below!

RISE FUNDRAISING 2018 - so far...

RISE FUNDRAISING 2018 - so far...

REACH, the 10 year anniversary..


This year RISE are proudly celebrating their 10 years anniversary and are planning on this years REACH being the most inspiring show yet.

Taking place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of April, the show is set to be a true tribute to the companys long standing history of teaching and creating not just exceptional dance, but exceptional young people. 

We are delighted to invite you to experience this with us the wonderful achievements of our young people, our teachers and our director Helen. 

However, as you know, RISE does a huge amount of fundraising to make events like REACH happen and we want to share some of the amazing things we've been doing and also a little about how you can help us!

Keep an eye on the Trinity website for tickets!



We are holding a RISE Pub Quiz Night on 18th February at 8pm! 

You'll find us at the Inn On The Green, 2 Filton Rd, Horfield, BS7 0PA.

Entry of £1 to enter per person and no maximum team number!

Prize is a free round of drinks on the house!

We will also be holding a Meat Raffle!

We would LOVE to see you there!




As you may already know RISE are currently taking part in Easy fundraising. It's a scheme where, whenever you buy anything online you could be raising a free donation for RISE.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation, including Amazon, John Lewis and Sainsbury's and it doesn't cost you anything extra!

Just head over to Easy Fundraising to sign up and any time you go online shopping you will raise money for RISE without costing you any extra money!



RISE are looking to secure sponsorship from any local businesses or individuals who would like to support us and what we do.

We offer marketing and promotion to sponsors at various levels in any way we can to make the partnership mutually beneficial!

If you'd like to become a sponsor, or know someone who would, please email risesponsorship@gmail.com to talk to our sponsorship director Charlie and receive an information pack.



We have a huge amount of money to raise for REACH and our other events this year, as well as the above, we have way more fundraising initiatives happening! February will not only see our Pub Quiz on the 18th, but a bucket collection at Lloyds Bank - a very early morning start for some of our volunteers on their half term! You may also see us doing a Flash Mob out and about in Bristol, holding some Cake Sales in St Andrews Park or collecting pennies for Pick Up A Penny!

We will also be holding a Movement Mash Up Dance Day on the 18th March! Details coming soon!!  





How did you get involved with RISE?


I got involved with RISE Youth Dance 10 years ago, when Helen Wilson started up the company in my high school. At first I thought this would just be a class that I would grow out of, but Helen opened my eyes and allowed me to realise that having a career in Dance was possible, as she was living it.

When I was younger, I really took passion in dance - I didn’t really enjoy anything else! I know waking up on a Saturday morning isn’t the most appealing of things, but it was what I looked forward to most in the week. Being creative was something I just couldn’t get enough of and of course, the Family that you gain when become a apart of RISE.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

This is a really funny story...

At one point during my studies, I decided to take some time out of education and I took part in an internship with RISE, where Helen mentored me through all aspects of a dancers career. I remember going for coffee and Helen said that she sees a lot of herself in me, which at the time I could not see! However, she explained that teaching would be something I would be really good at. Of course, I thought she was talking crazy and that I was going to be on stage dancing and not teaching. Then, she started to mentor weekly, teaching a childrens class at Parson Street Primary School. At first I dreaded it, but one week I was ill and the children did nothing but ask about me. This was when it clicked, that I did have a passion. The growth the children gained allowed me to feel like I have done something good. Funnily enough, I still teach at Parson Street and most of all Helen was right!

How are you finding teaching for RISE?

Working with RISE really is a dream! I am extremely lucky to be able to graduate and go onto become a freelancer and just be a dance teacher. I really owe it to Helen for her constant support and belief that I am capable of delivering classes on a weekly basis, under the company name.

I am lucky enough to teach children up to adults in a huge range of dance styles. Having the RISE family inspires me to keep learning new things, as this allows the company to grow and develop, to keep getting better.

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What projects, RISE or otherwise, are you up to at the moment?

At the moment I couldn’t be busier! Weekly I am teaching a multitude of classes at a range of ages and levels under RISE. A new RISE class that has begun is the adult Dancehall classes every Wednesday. This is an exciting new style I am focusing on, to research and develop my understanding of the culture and movement vocabulary, to then embrace this and pass it on to others. Helen and myself have the pleasure of working together on Thursdays where we go to Gloucester, working with Strike a Light Organisation to educate those into dance. This is a great opportunity for me as I then am able to keep on track with my teaching techniques and learn from Helen as I work alongside her.

I'm also currently being independent and getting back into Street dance. I'm going to events and classes with professionals all over the UK and abroad and focusing on battling and free styling.

Recently I auditioned for Avant guarde Project and was offered the training programme with them which will be heading to London every Saturday to work under the ‘Guarde’ project. This really was a dream come true and cannot still believe it!

Introducing RISE Teachers: Erin!

Introducing RISE Teachers: Erin!

Erin is one our junior teachers, teaching in schools and after school clubs for RISE Youth Dance. She's a valuable member of our team and we spoke to her to see how she is finding this year with!


How did you get involved with RISE?

After graduating, I moved back to my hometown Bristol and felt a bit out of my depth. I was attending loads of classes to try and see what opportunities I could get involved in and met Helen where she informed me about her training programme at RISE. I instantly felt part of the family from then on in.

How are you finding working with RISE?

erin chiers 2.jpg

Loving it! I have a real passion for teaching and allowing people to be involved in dance; to experience dance. I am now teaching a variety of ages, abilities and environments which is allowing me to progress and develop my understanding of teaching techniques. RISE always works together, and creatively we all share ideas and bounce off each other which is lush!

What other projects are you up to at the moment?

Along with teaching for RISE I also work part time as Education and Development Assistant Coordinator at Swindon Dance which I’m really loving! Having the chance to put ideas forward, following them up and making them actually happen is great! I also assist in their inclusive dance group Salto! Juniors which has always been something I wanted to be involved in, the kids are so fab! Me and my St Bonaventures KS1 dance group are working towards a performance for Stages 2018 which they are incredibly excited about!! We are working really hard to promote our new Horison South class this year, make people aware of the new class for young dancers living in the South of Bristol. Thinking ahead to the summer, me and fellow RISE techer Dee will also be putting our heads together for this years RISE Summer School. And of course, this year is the big 10 year anniversary, so all guns blazing in the lead up to REACH in April! 2018 - very exciting




Alex Gosmore: Assistant Choreographer!

Alex Gosmore: Assistant Choreographer!

This year, RISE member Alex has been assisting our Director Helen Wilson in the choreography of our Udance piece! It's Alex's first time as a choreographer so we spoke to him to see how he was getting on...

RISE Activity Weekend!

RISE Activity Weekend!

On the 17th of November, RISE students and staff packed our bags to head out for our second annual Residential weekend up in the misty wilderness of the welsh countryside.  With Helen, Dee and Charlie having done the main bits and pieces of organising alongside the trainees, and Denis in the kitchen cooking up a feast ready for everyone to arrive, the weekend ahead was set to be fantastic.

The weekend kicked off with team naming (Orange is The New Black, Anaconda, Frosted Core and Bridezilla’s) , a quiz and all new activity ‘Trash-ion’! 

Saturday started with a lovely cooked breakfast followed swiftly by the first activity of the day – den building. Teams flaunted their skills for practicality, durability and aesthetic. With just a bin bag, plastic tube, a few pieces of duct tape, some netting, a bit of foam sheet, a cardboard box and quite a few rubber bands we set to work crafting our masterpieces:

After a hasty lunch and clear up came the highly anticipated obstacle course. Upon first setting eyes on it, you wouldn’t expect quite how much of a challenge this turned out to be (but not quite total wipeout style). Well done to Cato for fastest boy and little Erin for fastest girl! Oh, and not forgetting Charlotte and Alex best synchronised fall! 

Dinner and a bit of time to finish up planning and the talent show ensued. What a year for the talent show! We had a couple of stinging diss’s, a history of dance, a live horror story, a fairytale-style soap (?!) and some B-E-A-Utiful dancing (bridezillas, Frosted Core, yes, I’m referring to you here). Our glamourous Judges, after much deliberation, came to their conclusions. To celebrate the days successes the floor was cleared and we all had a good dance.

Our last morning took us out into the woodland with just a few tasks left to complete – Charlie’s photo checklist of bits to spot on the walk, Helen’s Treasure Hunt (my personal favourite task of the weekend) and the music videos to submit. 

As Risers (and Riser’s parents) gathered in the dining room tensions rose as we awaited the results of the weekends efforts. 

Well done to winning team Orange Is The New Black and all of Rise who took part. It was really obvious to see how much effort everyone put in to taking care of eachother and having fun and supporting oneanother. An absolutely HUGE thank you to Helen and Denis, as well as Charlie and Dee and also the interns for all the effort that went in to organising such a wonderful weekend.

Denis Veloso using his Tetris skills to get the car filled!

Denis Veloso using his Tetris skills to get the car filled!

The Trainees get started cooking up a feast with Head Chef: Denis for the young people's arrival!

Immie, Chloe, Maia and Denis!

Immie, Chloe, Maia and Denis!

After arriving, making all their beds and tucking into homemade Feijoada; the young people get stuck into a quiz made by leaders Deanna and Charlie!

Pure concentration faces!

Pure concentration faces!

Followed by a 'Trashion' competition! The teams had to create two outfits using only the recycables they were given!  


On Saturday Morning after a lovely breakfast cooked by some of the young people, we started the day with another team game: Shelter Building!


Whilst the leaders worked hard setting up the next activity, we played the simple but hilarious game: Cat and Mouse!


Despite the rain, we soldiered on and started the next activity of the day: The Obstacle Course!


As we all worked up a huge appetite, one of the teams went about preparing dinner!

cooking dinner.jpg

After dinner, the most infamous event of the weekend got underway: The Talent Show!

Orange Team!

Orange Team!

White Team!

White Team!

Blue Team!

Blue Team!

Green Team!

Green Team!

Followed by a Dance Freestyle Tunnel...


...And a Hot Chocolate before bed!

Story Time!

Story Time!

RISE were a tired bunch by Sunday morning so we started the day with a leisurely walk!


The then, onto the final activity: The Treasure Hunt, finishing with a Piñata full of sweets for each team!


We had such a fun weekend! 

Introducing the RISE Trainees

Introducing the RISE Trainees


The RISE Trainee scheme is in it's second year and going strong! We began the year with three trainees: Chloe, Imogen and Maia and have recently been joined Lucy! We spoke to them to see how they are getting on...

What made you apply?

Chloe: I applied because it came at the right time for me as I finished my university course early in order to get more dance experience and ultimately apply to dance school. 

Imogen: Returning to Bristol after travelling I wanted to get back involved with the dance community. As I had been in RISE before my training, at Falmouth university, I knew Helen already and a conversation with her about the training scheme really made me think that it would be a brilliant way to get involved with dance again. 


Maia: I applied to the course for three main reasons. Firstly, because I love dancing and wanted to continue after I outgrew my previous dance company. Secondly, because it keeps me fit. The final reason is that it helps me become a more versatile performer; I am auditioning for drama school this year and so dance can be very important in this process, especially for the musical theatre courses I am auditioning for. I also wanted to challenge myself; contemporary is a style of dance I have never really explored and so I decided to push myself out of my comfort zone and experiment a little.

Lucy: The idea that I would be working in a more professional way with dance. Having recently graduated from university in Bristol, it was really appealing to have a closer access to the real dance scene and work with others who have similar aspirations and interests. I had met and worked with Rise earlier in the summer and saw their incredibly high standard, so although it was daunting I thought it would be good to try and build myself up as a dancer and artist by learning and being from such amazing teachers and dancers.

How are you finding it so far?


Chloe: The scheme is really great, it’s hard work, both physically and mentally. Physically, as I have never had training days that last 9-5 before which is so wonderful that I can now have this experience, but also, it’s tough to push through till the end and maintain the same energy and make the most of each day. It’s really interesting getting to know the rest of the company because Helen puts such an emphasis on everyone being supportive of each other and that openness is really obvious from the first time I met everyone.

Imogen: So far, I am finding the training scheme really helpful in re-discovering my passion for dance. Also getting involved with so many aspects of the dance world is helping me to learn what parts I enjoy most and what parts I struggle engaging with. 

Maia: The course has been absolutely amazing so far! I have found a huge increase in my technique and performance ability, as well as my general fitness. I truly love going to class and learning my craft!

Lucy: I've only had one session so far, but it was great! Great to get myself dancing again and to be involved in a creative project.

What has been your favourite part of the scheme so far?


Chloe: So far, my favourite thing has been the week intensive for the performance group over the half term. I really enjoy the physical pushing myself/being pushed and I can feel a difference in my stamina and strength since the start of the course already. 

Imogen: Currently I have enjoyed feeling part of a group again, whether this be in rehearsals or class. There is a real sense of friendship amongst the company. My favourite part is probably performing and creating again.  

Maia: My favourite part so far was performing in the Mini-Moon festival, where the trainees, Helen and some other teachers performed a Chinese-inspired piece at the O2.

What are you most excited for this year?

Chloe: I think I’m most excited to be able to say that I have created work that I’m happy with! 

Imogen: This year I am most excited to get my peak performance body back and start using it to its full advantage. I am also very excited to see how the company improves and what the young people create together.

Maia: This year I am most excited for the Residential weekend in November. I cannot wait to spend a weekend fully bonding with the company, getting to know each other and having lots of fun participating in the different activities.

RISE Intensive Week!

RISE Intensive Week!


This half term, instead of relaxing and being off school like most teenagers, the RISE performance group spent the entire week working hard at RISE Intensive Training!

Each performance group member spent 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, taking class and learning the new UDance piece. This group are so dedicated we even had poor Faye break her hand on the Monday and still attend the rest of the week!

We spoke to some of the young people to see how they were finding the week!

How have you found the intensive week?

Zerya: The intensive week has been incredibly challenging and tiring, but also really exciting and generally a joyful experience.

Silas: Hard, but when we repeat exercises everyday I can see how I am improving and building strength.


Faye: I’ve found the intensive week intense, fun, tiring, challenging, exciting and has made me feel a stronger and more experienced dancer.

Sadie: It's very intense and challenging but so good to see how our bodies are improving and getting stronger each day.

Alamay: The intensive week has definitely pushed us all to our limits but we’ve all bonded as a group and it’s great seeing us all developing and getting stronger over the week.

Sophie: The two of the days this week I attended have been more challenging than the whole of Duke of Edinburgh that meant I couldn't make the other three! I have really enjoyed being pushed like a proffessional and feeling out of breath continuously for 6 hours.

What do you think about the piece?

Zerya: I think the piece is great even at this point and will look amazing when it's finished, so I think we will have a great chance of getting into Udance.


Silas: I love how the piece is looking, it is really interesting and a lot more mentally challenging, which is good.

Faye: I'm loving the piece so far. I love trying new interesting moves and working as a team. It feels great to dance and is really exciting to watch it all coming together.

Sadie: I love how the piece looks, I think it’s different, exciting and powerful.

Alamay: I love the piece so far, the choreography is great and as a collective it looks really nice. There is still room for us to clean it up but I’m excited to see the final product.

Sophie: The piece is unlike any piece I have done before, I love the music and I constantly have to be counting or thinking about where I need to be. The piece makes use of everybodys' skills to create the best movement.

What has been your favourite part of the week?


Zerya: My favorite part of the week was, after lots of trys and practices, we finally nailed the opening section, also the jelly bean game was pretty fun too.

 Silas: I think my favourite part of the week so far has been bonding as a group, this week has given me a chance to get to know some of the new people and more about the people I already knew.

Faye: My favourite part of this week have been making our solos and improving on them, as well as getting to know everyone better.

Sadie: My favourite part of the week has been creating a new tight relationship as a group and really building a strong bond.

Alamay: My favourite part of the week is seeing us all bond together and create a safe and fun atmosphere whenever we’re together.

Sophie: My favourite part of the week was at the end of Thursday when we started to see how the piece fitted together and felt like we had only one day left to polish and finish.


Introducing RISE Performance Group 2017/2018

Introducing RISE Performance Group 2017/2018

RISE Performance group are for the members of the company 16 and over who want to receive more advanced training or workshops and get to perform at national events like Udance!

Performance Group have to work really hard to push themselves and are role models for younger members of the company!

This year we have loads of new faces so we spoke to this years members - old and new - about what it's like to be in this elite group of RISE! Meet RISE PGroup veterans Alex, Jenna & Cato and newbies Zerya, Sophie & Silas.



What do you like most about Performance Group?


Alex: The thing I like the most about performance group is the contrasting pieces we create each year, it's never the same! That gives me a really wide scope of dance training in different styles.

Jenna: What I like most about performance group is the way it pushes your technique and how much it has helped me to improve as a dancer.

Cato: What I like most about performance group is how much better it has made everyone at dancing and the strengthened the relationships we have as a group.



What has been your favourite performance with the group?

Alex: my favourite performance with the group was Kenjo at the UDance nationals in 2015, the theatre was huge and it was so exciting to share the stage with other youth talent.

Jenna: My favourite performance with the group was the beep beep section (I can't remember what it's called lol!) I loved the style of the dance and really enjoyed performing it at REACH!

Cato: My favourite performance was Sam's, from TrashDollys piece, 'Creed of Youth', because it was such an interesting concept of movement that I’d never experienced before.

Would you recommend this group to anyone and why?

Alex: I would recommend this group to anyone who wants to pursue a career in dance as it pushes technical ability as well as creativity and versatility.

Jenna: I would definitely recommend performance group to anyone who is more serious about dance and wants to widen there dance training to more styles.

Cato: I would recommend to anyone who wants to push their fitness and skills as a dancer in a fun and prolific way.

Are you excited to be in Performance Group?


Sophie: Im really excited! I looked forward to being able to be in it all of last year.

Zerya: I'm very excited to be in Pgroup.

Silas: I am so excited! It is that extra step up that I've been waiting for!

How has it been so far?

Zerya: It’s been challenging and enjoyable.

Sophie: So far, I've enjoyed the change from normal RISE rehearsals and it has made me much more motivated.


Silas: It has pushed me even though we've only had a few weeks, I've noticed the small things improve already.

What are you most excited about for performance group this year?

Zerya: I'm excited about pushing myself and being a part of the elite group of RISE, as well as new experiences; mainly Udance.

Sophie:  I'm most excited about all the new oppotunities and me developing as a dancer.

Silas: I'm probably most excited for Udance as I've seen my sisters go off for their weekends away many a year and I've never been!

Welcome Back RISE!

Welcome Back RISE!

RISE is back!

Our last year has been hugely successful! We sold out our two REACH performances at the Trinity Centre, collaborated and performed Rights to Move with Creative Youth Network and participated in the National Udance festival!

This is our 10th Anniversary and we are looking forward to a year full of hard work and fun!

We have many new members this year, so we asked them how they are getting on…


What made you want to audition?

Greta: For me personally, I’d heard about RISE in January and thought about auditioning but then forgot about it. Then in august I spoke to Alex (RISE Member) and Delilah (Former RISE Member) and they said that I should audition and that it would be so much fun, so in the end, I auditioned and was so nervous but it was worth it!

Lucy: I was very impressed with a performance I saw, straight away I wanted to be a part of it!


How are you finding it so far?

Sarah: So far, I'm finding it challenging but I'm really enjoying the feeling of getting fitter, better and learning new things.

What are you most excited about this year? 

Sarah: The most exciting thing about being accepted is knowing you're a part of a new thing, like looking forward to everything we're going to learn and get better at.

Greta: I’m most excited for learning new styles and developing my dance further. I love the idea of meeting new people. For me, when I got the text saying I had been accepted, it boosted my confidence about my capabilities as a dancer.

Photo Credit: Shadiamond Alcott

Photo Credit: Shadiamond Alcott