The workshops are part of a wider programme of sporting and dance activities aimed at raising fitness and skill levels among the country’s young in the run-up to the Olympics and beyond. Devised in partnership with the Co-operative and organisers Activate Sport, they bring fun and an inspiring way of learning dance to girls and boys aged between seven and 16 and they are custom-designed to cover all aspects of dance appropriate to all levels.
“The inspiration behind my academy is so much more than teaching kids to dance,” says Brendan. “It's the opportunity to share what I experienced throughout my childhood and something I am very excited about doing.”
The Brendan Cole Dance Academy launched last year (see the September 2011 issue of Dance Today) and is back for its second season now.
“Dancing is an important part of a child’s development,” says Brendan, who is shortly to become a father himself. “It’s not just about learning steps and keeping fit, it also teaches many different skills including posture, rhythm, coordination, interaction with others, emotional expression and more.
“It can develop a child's mind and learning skills and I honestly believe dance can have a major and very positive effect on growth and development through their early years.
“I believe that dance is about discovery, learning the discipline of dance strengthens the body and the mind but most of all it makes you happy! I want to make my Academy something special that’s available to all children across the UK.”
The courses will be held in local school buildings across the country during the summer holidays over a three-day period at the end of July and beginning of August. Every course is led and directed on one day by head coach Chris Wilson, who brings his experience and Brendan Cole's approach to build skills and confidence.
Brendan tries to get to as many camps as his dance schedule allows and when he does he likes to lead the coaching himself as well as holding question-and-answer sessions. His visits tend to last around two hours and parents are welcome to attend these as well.
Every week a competition is run to find the camp’s Star Achiever, who wins signed photos and a place on the winner’s day dance session hosted by Brendan himself.
“Once dance grabs you it can open up so many different opportunities, as it has done for me,” says Brendan. “Giving kids the chance to learn this art form could potentially change their life.”