Ely Pride to include special performance by 4th Dimension dancers to raise awareness of LGBT rights and gender stereotypes
- Credit: Archant
Performing at Pride in Ely is teaching teens compassion and acceptance, dance company principal Sara Ford says.
Sara, who runs 4th Dimension, said taking a pivotal role in the free festival has got her students to "question their own ideas and views".
Ely's second ever Pride festival will take place outside the Maltings at Ely riverside on August 10.
4th Dimension will perform a special piece to raise awareness of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights, as well as gender stereotypes.
Sara said: "Having many teenage boys in our dance school, this was particularly important to me as I know the struggles they've faced at school from their peers."
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4th Dimension caters for over 300 families across Cambridgeshire, with its members ranging from 10 to 19 years of age.
The dance school principal got in touch directly with Pride in Ely to see if they could help.
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As a result, Pride in Ely donated special t-shirts for 4th Dimension to wear at the recent Aquafest, which the students got to keep.
Sara said: "When I explained all this to the students they were absolutely over the moon, and we all felt it really added a whole new level to the piece.
"To have our local LGBT committee supporting us was just incredible and it made the students want to shout even louder about what they were doing."
One of the organisers, Fritha Love, came to watch the students' final rehearsal and gifted the kids with Pride wristbands.
Sara said: "They were all so honoured that someone had taken the time to visit. I honestly can't tell you enough how much all of this meant to us as teachers, to the students and to their parents."
The dance teacher was overwhelmed by the feedback 4th Dimension received for the three performances of their special dance over that weekend.
"Many parents that have been with 4D for years said it was the best piece we'd ever produced. We had messages on our social accounts from other children and teenagers congratulating us on spreading such a positive and moving message.
"One of my favourite things was how many of the dads approached me to say it had made them so emotional and in some cases tear up while watching - they loved to see their children being part of something that was all about acceptance and love.
"It was also beautiful to see parents complimenting other people's children saying how proud they were of them."
Fritha said: "It was amazing to be asked to support the kids this year. Whilst funds are non-existent, how could we not sponsor this dance?"
One of the organisers of Pride in Ely, Fritha was blown away by 4th Dimension's performances at Aquafest.
"It was amazing to see how much this meant to them and the crowd. I can't wait to see them perform at Pride."
Sara said the impact the dance had made on the students and support they'dreceived from Pride was momentous.
"It meant we had open discussions in classes about experiences they'd had at school, being aware of the language we use when talking to others and just generally got them to question their own ideas and views.
"On top of all that, they stood up and performed this piece, projected this message so PROUDLY. That means more to me than any other accolade."
You can see 4th Dimension perform at Pride in Ely on August 10.
For more information seehttps://www.facebook.com/PrideinElyCambridgeshire/