Archive for the ACE Youth Category

ACE Youth new dance piece with Douglas Thorpe

Posted in ACE Youth on February 27, 2014 by charlottegregory

ACE Youth have been working with Douglas Thorpe throughout February Half Term 2014.  They have been having loads of fun creating a brand new dance piece.  Here’s what two ACE Youth members have to say about their experience:

“Overall this week has been a refreshing experience, indulging in a particular rare style of dance that I myself have always wanted to try. Having only witnessed a production by “Douglas Thorpe” which was pure genius, I was highly intrigued to take an insight into the creation process and his methods that lead to excellence. Each morning we would begin with a class and then start to learn some material, when Dougie would give us a piece of movement, he would spend time making sure that we understood the exact quality and concept of the movement, he described his movement as being very internal, moves that were generated from inside the body as supposed to external movement, alignment and placement. Initially we were told that the piece was surrounding the idea of “velocity”, however as the week went on Dougie wanted us to find our own intentions for the piece so that we could relate to the movement on a higher scale. On a whole this week has been an amazing success working with such a professional choreographer, and I can only hope to work with him again in the future.”Tyler Blair-Thompson 14

“This week has been a very enjoyable and interesting! Working with Dougie has opened me up to a very new gripping style of moving. I really enjoyed the work we did with Dougie as it was very different to what ACE youth are used to doing, giving us that extra knowledge and experience.

I feel as though I learned some key points from Dougie, the most simple and memorable one being to finish the movement after an exercise, and doing it as if you were performing on stage.

The movement was hard but it got our body use to Dougies style of dancing, which contains a lot of emotion and feeling so this week we all tried to think about the emotion and meaning behind the dance in rehearsals, and interpreting it in our own way.” Kianne Shervington-White 16

And some piccies too!


Dance for everyone at the NEW Dance SPACE

Posted in ACE Youth, Classes, Education and Schools, Mana, Uncategorized on January 30, 2014 by charlottegregory

IMG_1024Intermediate Contemporary Class //Tuesday evenings from 11 Feb // 6.30 – 8pm  A weekly dance class for students & dance enthusiasts. Company members from the ‘Mana’ tour will teach, with guest choreographers invited periodically. Attenders will expand on their dance knowledge & vocabulary, explore contemporary styles, push themselves & gain an insight to the professional world of dance.

DSC_7314ACE youth New Recruits 12-18yrs // Thursdays // 6pm-7.30pm Dance training & technique in a variety of styles for young people. ACE youth new recruits is a feeder into ACE youth Performing Company.

ACE youth Performing Company // Thursdays // 7.30pm-9pm
ACE youth Performing Company tour both nationally & internationally & have developed a growing reputation for exciting, physical, challenging work.
ACE Youth are the youth dance company of ACE dance and music. ACE youth classes are a mixture of different styles such as contemporary, ballet, African & street style dance. We aim to encourage and inspire young people to have freedom of expression through dance.

“I always look forward to Thursdays because of ACE. I love training with highly energetic dancers & very approachable teachers. We are a big family driven by the same passion – dance. Our desire to perform connects us & motivates everyone to reach our full potential. The high standard of training will help me pursue my dream of becoming a professional dancer while the discipline I acquire will keep me grounded and humble throughout my dance career.” (Grace Camba 17 years)

AAO_7162 (2)ACE dance and music offer Creative Dance classes for 2 -11 year olds on Saturday mornings. Our teachers draw on your child’s natural abilities, encouraging potential, nurturing inventiveness & building physical confidence as movement vocabulary develops.

Parents and Tots // 2-4yrs // Saturdays // 10am-10.45am _DSC9196Playful & practical sessions to encourage young children to express themselves with the support of their parent/carer. Through movement play, music & games, toddlers & carers have the opportunity to have fun working together to explore their physicality and develop confidence.

Funky Fusion // 5-8yrs // Saturdays // 11am-12pm
A fun session where children begin to build physical co-ordination & confidence in creative classes which offer them the opportunity to create their own imaginative movement sequences and dance phrases.

Fused // 9-11yrs // Saturdays // 12pm-1.15pm
Children are introduced to the principles & foundations of contemporary dance technique. They will have the opportunity to work creatively together, devise movement work of their own & develop performance skills.

Open company class // Monday 10 – Friday 28 Feb // Daily, Mon–Fri // 10-11.30am  Come along to ACE company class, running throughout the rehearsals for our production ‘Mana’. Classes are led by ACE Artistic Director Gail Parmel, plus guest teachers, offering yoga, ballet & circuit training. A minimum of 3 years dance training is recommended.

All Classes are £5. For more details & to book a place please email or call the ACE office on 0121 3145830.

ACE Youth update spring 2013

Posted in ACE Youth, Uncategorized on May 8, 2013 by The Lift Creative Services

dsc_7537Sell out at mac // ACE Youth and our visitors Virevolte performed ‘Qui Sommes-Nous?/Who Are We?’ at mac on Sat 6th April and the show sold out! This performance was a culmination of a week of collaboration between young dancers from Birmingham’s ACE Youth and Geneva’s CompagnieVirevolte, who worked together at mac, exchanging dance ideas, and exploring social issues around the diverse cultural identities that both cities have developed. We visited Geneva back in October half term 2012.  This visit was made possible by Birmingham City Council’s Great International City programme. Check out pictures taken at the dress rehearsal.

ACE Youth pathways // We are delighted to announce that longstanding ACE youth dancer Jamaal Burkmar was chosen to present a new piece as part of Verve, the Northern School Of Contemporary Dance’s graduate performance group.  Five ACE youth members have also been succesful in gaining a place at The Birmingham Academy of Dance.  It’s heartening that the ACE Youth experience has served these talented young people so well.

South African Exchange // In 2014 we are planning an international exchange programme for ACE Youth and other young dancers with Durban based Flatfoot youth dance company in South Africa.  What an amazing opportunity for all! ACE dance and music’s professional company will hopefully tour in South Africa in 2014 and this youth exchange will form part of the programme. Read about our South African developments here.

dsc_6826And if you didn’t already know… Formed in 1998 ACE Youth are a group of talented young people from in and around the Birmingham area, all between 11 and 21 years old. Trained under the artistic eye of Gail Parmel, our vision for ACE Youth is to promote confidence and understanding in young artists and communities through the appreciation of African and Caribbean culture, dance and music. We encourage ACE Youth members to go off and study further. We offer members support and advice on running a dance company from administrative skills to marketing, web design, set design, technical skills, education and being a touring dancer or education deliverer. We open our doors to those that have recently graduated for apprentice positions. Eight members of ACE Youth are currently studying with or have already graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Amayra Fuller of ACE Youth graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and is now a dance practitioner with ACE dance and music and 23 year old Iona Waite is currently the group’s leader in charge of pastoral care and organising the group’s rehearsal schedule alongside the Directors, evidence of the company’s commitment to inspiring young people and helping them to reach their potential. ACE Youth regularly perform locally, nationally and increasingly internationally and promote young people as artists and leaders in their own right. They are at the forefront of excellence in European Youth Dance, and alongside Virevolte Company are part of a fledgling European Youth Dance Network: Dance=Désir.


BBC performing arts fellow Iona Waite feeds back on the International youth dance masterclass held at Warwick Arts Centre Oct 2011

Posted in ACE Youth, Education and Schools with tags on November 8, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

On the workshop led by ACE dance and music company dancers: The young people seemed really enthusiastic and were really going for it. It was great to see their own interpretation of our current touring production rep from ICE.  They worked in groups to create their own 16 counts of movement based on the phrase they had learned, see footage below:

On the workshop with Mirielle Barlet- Artistic Director of les Ballets Contemporains de Saint Etienne: All the dancers were a little bit nervous at first due to the fact that there was a language barrier to overcome. However this did not affect the class at all or the standard of the work. This class was very different to the others as it was a release/limon technique class which from speaking to the dancers they had not done the Limon technique before. Due to the nature of this the young people were very engaged and approached the technique of the class in a professional manner. The movement sequence at the end was great and it was good to see the French young people interact with the other youth companies.

On the workshop with Jose Agudo- Agudo Dance Company: I must say this was the boy’s favorite class!! Jose is a contemporary dancer but also fuses martial arts disciplines into his work. The grounded elements of the work really had the males in particularly very engaged. This class was very grounded and he focused a lot of getting in and out of the floor which most of the girls found difficult!!! Brilliant phrase and the end real test of being grounded as it was fast paced and high energy!!

On the workshop with Mané- Jamo Jamo Arts: This was an African class and it was brilliant. The energy in the class was brilliant, I think this was enhanced by the fact he had live musicians (drummers) which created a great atmosphere. The movement was challenging as the discipline of the African techniques are very intricate, what was great was the way in which Landing taught the classes and the young people responded very well and stepped-up to the challenge!!!

On the sharing from all of the youth companies: The sharing of work from the young people was brilliant. It was a nice mix of work, there was two duets and three group pieces. The energy was great even though the young people were all exhausted after all those fantastic classes!!

Overall the day was an amazing experience it was great to see so many young people from different walks of life all come together to share the best thing in the world “dance”!!

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Iona Waite is a BBC performing Arts fellow, read all about the BBC performing Arts Fund here:

Exciting shots from our Youth Dance showcase at mac

Posted in ACE Youth, Education and Schools with tags , , on November 8, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

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Summary from ‘Promoting Youth Dance in an International Context’ event

Posted in ACE Youth, Education and Schools, Uncategorized with tags on November 3, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

Promoting Youth Dance in an International Context. What we have in common – A summary from event on Saturday 29th Oct 2011

We have a shared passion for youth dance, a belief that it matters both for what it means to young people and the future of the art form of dance.  We want young people to have the best possible experience of dance, and for one of them to become Prime Minister!

We share a belief that dance is, and has to be, fun for young people.  We know that the human relationships that grow and the social aspects of being involved in youth dance are vital.  They matter to young people developing as citizens and seeing the world differently.

We are agreed that involvement in youth dance consists of many activities and has many purposes; it involves different styles of dance and different roles for young people – at different times any one of them may be a dancer, dance maker, organiser, mentor, teacher, leader, audience, critic.

We value the different kinds of models and frameworks that exist.  Professional dance companies may set up youth groups, programmers may promote the work of youth dance groups, professional choreographers may create new work with youth dance groups, groups may emerge from schools, community arts activities, and through young people setting up their own group.

We work to ensure there are progression routes for young people.  This may include to higher education, a career in dance, a life-long enthusiasm for dance.  Youth groups may perform locally, and we want them to have opportunities to perform with their peers regionally, nationally and internationally.

In the current economic climate, we all need low cost dance projects.  England has done a lot on 58 pence per school-aged child over the last three years, but even that amount cannot be relied on in the future.  We all have experience of dance being less visible than other art forms, and not being recognised by those who hold the purse-strings.  We need politicians to recognise dance and appreciate what it means in the lives of young people.

Dance is nearly famous.  Young people know dance is great, even if policy-makers have not yet caught up with the fact.  Young people challenge assumptions, they are risk-takers and revolutionaries.  However difficult the current period of austerity seems, it is young people who will safe guard the future of dance – as future artists, audiences, and policy makers.

October madness

Posted in ACE Youth, Classes, Education and Schools, ICE, Revival on October 17, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

This October there are many ways to get involved with ACE, get dancing or get inspired…

Tues 18 Oct // 6 – 8.30pm // Friends of ACE open
evening, drinks and nibbles, performances from ACE dance and music, ACE Youth and class members // The Link Dance Space,Digbeth // Just turn up

Wed 19 Oct // 6 – 9pm Revival FREE launch event, taster dance and drumming workshops.
Everyone welcome // come along and give
it a go! // The Drum, Pit and cafe bar, Birmingham // Just turn up

Fri 28 & Sat 29 Oct Dance: Desir // ACE Youth & friends dance showcase // Dancers from Europe
and the UK. An exciting evening celebrating
the creative talents of teenagers // Foyle Studio,mac, Birmingham mac // Box Office 0121 446 3232 // //
Buy tickets

ACE youth and friends perform at mac 28th & 29th Oct, phone, book, job done.

Posted in ACE Youth, Uncategorized on September 28, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

Cultural Exchange back in the mix

Posted in ACE Youth on March 3, 2011 by The Lift Creative Services

Did you know that the ‘ACE’ in ACE dance and music is an abbreviation of ‘African Cultural Exchange?’  The last year has definitely seen this part of what we do slide back into the spotlight.

Not only have we held research and development residencies with Japanese and South African Choreographers, ACE Youth have also taken part in a unique cultural exchange with Dutch company Untold.  In Oct 2010 we spent a week in Amsterdam and in Feb 2011 our new friends came to stay with us  to complete another week of creative exploration leading up to a performance at mac last Saturday 26th Jan.

Funded by Youth In Action, this project encouraged the group to learn more about their common European identity and shared Caribbean heritage, increasing understanding and raising aspirations, and it’s certainly done this, and much more.

We love performing at mac and this Saturday was no exception.  After an intense week of rehearsals, radio interviews and preview performances in mac’s foyer – and a whole load of fun, the young people  performed with great poise and focus and more importantly you could literally feel the energy and passion resonating from the stage!  Feedback from audience members communicated that this was an enlightening experience all-round and mac were happy to see many new faces that hadn’t visited their venue before.

ACE Artistic Director Gail Parmel talks about the project:

“We learnt that both our groups are so alike, there are subtle differences in how we live but as the young people came together and worked with each other I started seeing the respect  grow, they helped each other learn new skills and supported each other’s development . I believe this has forged a long lasting relationship with longer term effects, it’s not just about the dance or the music, it has been a genuine life-moulding experience.  ACE youth learnt a lot about the Surinamese influence of Untold’s work and Untold gained a sense of discipline and learnt that warm ups, rehearsals and stretching are an essential part of putting on a performance. The moment that shone the most was definitely the collaborative piece, you could see the influences of both groups but the outcome was a whole new style, with the movement inspired in response to a visit to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It was a successful Fusion, self-named ‘ACEtold’.”

mac‘s Artistic Director Dorothy Wilson talks about the performance:

“This show was a delight – a really powerful mix of two young companies showing passion and enthusiasm for dance and for communicating wholeheartedly with an audience. The response of a capacity house was terrific – respect for such achievements, enjoyment of the creativity of the young artists on stage, and a feeling of witnessing something quite special; all ingredients for  a memorable evening. I’m so pleased mac was able to play a part in helping this to happen. We look forward to hosting more of both companies work”

And here’s what the audience made of it all:

“Enlightening, very energetic and diverse”

“A wonderful, inspiring collaboration between two highly committed and youthful companies”

“I love the rhythm of our culture naturally expressed in this way, loved the drumming. I was moved to tears with pride, I have loved it, loved it, loved it!  All the hard work paid off, you have a new fan!”

“A great spirit, made me want to join in!”

Watch footage from this exchange

Dancing Rings, Tracking Rhythms

Posted in ACE Youth, Uncategorized on September 7, 2010 by The Lift Creative Services


During July 2010, ACE Youth took part in a Heritage Lottery funded project, organised by Pritam Singh of Drumatised. The project was a celebration of the history of drumming and dance in Birmingham: where it has come from, the peoples and cultures that have brought it here, and where it is today.

ACE Youth learnt a traditional Ga dance called Gahu of the Ewe tribe of Ghana from their Artistic Director Gail Parmel, with fantastic drumming provided by Music Director Ian Parmel, performer Clive Cole and ACE Youth member and musician Azizi Cole. Some more information about Gahu:

‘Gahu was created by Yoruba speakers of Benin as a form of satirical commentary on modernisation in Africa. Performers poked fun at the pompous manners of Africans who had been to Europe or who had turned their backs on African tradition and attracted European ways. The word ‘Ga’ translated means ‘iron’ and ‘hu’ means ‘vehicle’. The dance not only imitates the flights of aeroplanes but also that the aeroplane is treated as a symbol for modernisation.’ (From Nicky Reid)

ACE Youth were also joined in some of their rehearsals by young people from Norton Hall, Alum Rock, which allowed the cultural sharing to spread even further as young people of all backgrounds moved to African beats together. This was part of a wider education project from ACE dance and music, led by dancers Amayra Fuller and Laura Vanhulle, who have been teaching at summer schools for groups such as Norton Hall over the first two weeks of the summer holidays.

The Drumatised performance event took place on Friday 30th July, at two Birmingham heritage sites: Sarehole Mill, in Hall Green, and Blakesley Hall, in Yardley. ACE Youth performed alongside other dance and drumming groups from a mixture of cultures, such as Bhangra dancers and musicians, Irish dancers and Brazilian dancers and musicians.  ACE dance and music and ACE Youth would like to thank everyone involved for a thoroughly enjoyable event.

ACE dance and music’s Director Gail Parmel: “It was a fantastic opportunity to delve into the Traditions of African dance and music (something rarely done today). Being part of a cultural melting pot is part of ACE dance and music’s existence. Passing on such Traditions to our next generations was what was most special about this project.”

Photo Credit: Drumatised and Satvinder Sehmbey