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Ida Freeman trained at the Stella Mann Performing Arts School

Ida Freeman, Founder, Sway Dance

What is your background? The Sway brand was set up by myself, and has been operating in Worcestershire since 2005. I was born in Sweden and trained at the Stella Mann Performing Arts School in London. After graduating, I worked as a professional dancer on a wide range of shows including Stars In Your Eyes, West Side Story and A Chorus Line. I was also involved in a tv series called Blam! which was screened on Sky One. I have a wealth of experience in the dance industry and am a highly trained dancer. I love dance and hope to share that passion with others.

Dance seems to have seen a surge in popularity recently. Why do you think this is? There has definitely been an increase in the popularity of dance in recent years, and it has become much more fash- ionable. There are a number of factors influencing this trend, but the most significant is prob- ably the increase in media coverage for dance. Boys have become more

interested in dance, in large part thanks to street dance and hip hop crews such as Diversity and Flawless.

How was Sway Dance born? The Sway Dance brand was founded in 2005. When I moved to Worcerstershire, I recognised quite quickly that there was a gap in the market for the provision of dance in the local area. I contacted local pri- mary and secondary schools with the aim of setting up my own dance school. I started with one class in the local parish hall, with six students tak- ing part. This soon increased to four classes, and we now have more than 125 students taking part in dance classes each week.


“Sway Dance gives people from all age groups and backgrounds a chance to perform across different genres of dance. I

wanted to create an experience that balanced learning with fun”

What does Sway Dance offer? Sway Dance gives people from all age groups and backgrounds a chance to perform across different genres of dance. At the end of term everyone takes part in a dance show in the the- atre. I wanted to create an experience that balanced learning with fun. Sway Dance offers all the physical benefits of dancing while improving confidence. While it can be hard work, the most notable benefit is the amount of fun participants have at each class. I felt it was important that partici- pants loved attending classes and felt truly inspired. I’m proud that many of the dancers who started with me right at the beginning are still attending Sway Dance classes today, and I’ve spent a lot of time ensuring partici-

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Ida Freeman

pants feel truly part of the brand. If you attend a Sway Dance class you’ll notice that the majority of dancers wear the brand mer- chandise. Ultimately I love dance and I want others to as well.

Who does it attract? Who has been taking part in the classes so far?

Sway Dance is aimed at every- one. It has no specific target market. The brand was built on the idea of helping local people enjoy the benefits of dance.

Why did you decide to link up with Parkwood Leisure? Last autumn I engaged in infor- mal discussions about developing dance within Parkwood Leisure. Both Parkwood Leisure and I realised there could be mutual benefit to Sway Dance becoming the dance brand across all Parkwood Leisure centres. I had spent five years develop- ing Sway Dance into a recognised brand within Worcestershire. With the building blocks in place, I had a real ambition to grow the brand. I really felt that the ingredients of the brand were unique and that Sway Dance had the potential to become a successful national dance brand. l

ISSUE 2 2011 © cybertrek 2011

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