Dance Your Socks Off in Greenwich & Eltham
by Shermain Slocombe
Local arts producer Shermaine delivered Dance Your Socks Off in the borough as part of Royal Borough of Greenwich and Visit Greenwich's campaign to get people back to the high street.
What is Dance Your Socks Off?
Dance Your Socks Off is an interactive dance game where participants earn points by learning different dance styles. From hip hop to rock and roll, the game is designed to be played by anyone regardless of ability.
“We had so much fun, thank you so much” Parent
“Joyful, energetic and fun and I loved the independence of it” Young Person
Dance Your Socks off was developed for ArtsUnboxed by Pervez Live2Break and Scanners Inc. They have designed and provided resources complete with a series of video tutorials of how to play the game with examples of dance moves that can be included and music suggestions. The game is designed to be delivered by 2 professional dancers and dancers can choose to add their own dance styles. The dancers need to be confident in hosting the event in a public space, such as speaking via a microphone, skilled in engaging and teaching members of the public, experienced in multiple dance styles and proficient in working with people of all ages and abilities. Above all, the dancers need a willingness to bring dance to life for participants to ensure your event is a lot of fun.
The aim of the game is for participants to try out different dance moves individually and/or work in teams and win points. The dancers deliver the activity, score points for winners and the crew engage with members of the public, collect details, and enter participants into a prize draw or to win prizes. The games requires a 5 x 5 metre space. Cones or markers can be used to set out the space.
Within our event in a public setting, members of the public were able to drop-in to take part or sign up for later in the day. Our locations included:
Cutty Sark Gardens – Greenwich (cancelled)
Passey Place and the Leisure Centre/library – Eltham
Dance Your Socks Off was supposed to be delivered in two locations in Greenwich, during half term. However, due to storm Eunice, the worst storm in decades causing major disruption across the country, the event was cancelled in the interests of safety and severe weather warnings issued.
Despite the cold weather and the threat of rain, we delivered the event in Passey Place, just off the main high street in Eltham. Before the heavy rain arrived, we moved into the leisure centre and library. This kept both the dancers and members of the public safe and dry. The staff were very accommodating; they helped us to recruit participants and were very flexible. The high street was busy with shoppers and the leisure centre and library had other events happening like swimming lessons where we could approach families.
We delivered three sessions in one day. Once young people started to engage, others joined in and were less intimidated. The dance styles we focused on were disco, rock ‘n’ and fusion (a mix of hip and hop contemporary dance). When a larger group participated in the leisure centre, the dancers led a short warmup to prepare the participants for moving.
We had 3 crew members. This was helpful when working with multiple groups, speaking to parents and seeking photo permissions, generating interest and answering questions, taking photographs, disseminating bags and collecting feedback where possible.
Participants and Responses
Members of the public responded positively to the novelty of dancers and music on their Highstreet. Young people made up the majority of our participants. Adults were less likely to get involved but did so once we were inside sheltering from the rain. It supported an opportunity for both young people and their parents and carers to experience something together and/or for parents to watch their children move to the music and see them engaged in the activity. In both settings, young people had time to learn the style of dance and learn dance combinations (choreography) to feel more confident in moving.
“I think it was fun. Are you here every week?” Young Person
“It made me feel happy” Young Person
“I want to do it again” Young Person
“The first time I’ve seen this on the high street” Parent
Our event was supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The aim of the fund was to animate a high street post-Christmas and attempt to return to normality safely after COVID. In light of this, we approached shops and venues in Eltham and Greenwich to donate prizes and display posters. We led a campaign to engage shops in the lead up to the event and to donate prizes to advertise the event and spread the word.
Prizes were generously donated by shops on the high street in Greenwich and Eltham including ArtFix Café, Royal Museums Greenwich, Coco Barclay, Theatre of Wine, Ruby’s, Greenwich Picturehouse, Bill’s Restaurants, Paul Rhodes Bakery, Greenwich Market, Pizza Express Eltham and Eltham Palace.
The prize draw added an element of excitement, and it was lovely to contact so many winners. The winners were very surprised and delighted.
“You have made my weekend. Thank you so much. A £50 voucher, wow. I have never won anything before” Parent
“I was really intrigued to see what this event was all about after seeing the poster. It’s an amazing opportunity” Parent
Taking Dance Your Socks Off to different venues within the borough has enabled us to build deeper relationships with RGB and the library staff. It has enabled us to meet venues, shop owners and to hear their issues in these challenging time as well as interact with families in our local community.
Recent times have been challenging for everyone and many members of the community feel their mental health and wellbeing has been compromised.
Dance Your Socks off will give members of the public the confidence to return to arts events in an outdoor setting and will give your artists the confidence to work in public settings.
This exciting opportunity would enable your organisation to support young and experienced dance artists to work with member of the community to provide a physical activity in a fun and playful way to increase their wellbeing.
Registration form and signup sheets/QR code
Photo consent form
Risk Assessment and method statement
Handheld microphones for crew
Headset/wireless microphones for dancers
Large PA to play tracks in a public place
Cones and markers to mark out 5 x 5 metre space
A frame board to advertise the event on the event day
Posters/flyers printed in the leadup to advertise the event
Drawstring bags provided for participants, crew and dancers complete with logos
Tape, pens and clipboards
Feather banner advertising our organisation
QR code for feedback form