I have has the priviledge of watching REACH for a number of years and each time I am moved, inspired, overwhelmed and speechless by the range and professionalism the young people express. It is very clear that each young person on stage is supported and encouraged to reach their full potential in a safe and caring way. REACH is a true gem in Bristol which is shining and developing every year. I hope to see it occur every year and grow as it should.
To recognise and nurture talent the way Helen does is a very special thing. To recognise and have the generosity of spirit to offer other artists the opportunity to work with such gifted young people is, again, a very special thing. RISE can only ever go forwards.
RISE Youth Dance are pretty special. Theirs is a story of ordinary people achieving extraordinary things. A tale of how, with the right support and opportunities, dance can transform young lives. They are living, ever growing and ever moving proof of what young people can achieve.I was fortunate to work with RISE at the start of their journey, managing Arts Awards programmes, two outdoor performance commissions, delivering the first of what is now an established and much loved annual event, REACH, and linking the company with Creative Apprenticeships. With each opportunity the outcomes were tenfold. Since those early days the company has continued to grow and make impact not just in Bristol, but nationally – representing the South West at prestigious events such as One Dance UK’s U Dance national platform, working with ACE Dance & Music in Birmingham, supporting young artists to access development opportunities through the National Youth Dance Company and Pavilion Dance South West, establishing an intern programme and creating all manner of industry relevant opportunities for young people to build skills in leadership, event production, sponsorship and development, marketing and choreography.They are one hell of a team. Under the dedicated, outward looking and ever generous leadership of Helen Wilson, RISE have flourished. Young people have flourished - both as artists and as engaged, aware young people supporting each other to be their best. And they inspire those of us who know them to be better too.Thank you RISE.