Centre (L-R) Ian Rodley of DAZL, Caroline Smalley & Gavin Rees of Rees Dance & Wayne Sables of Wayne Sables Project
PREPARE TO BE DAZLED
LEEDS CITY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW IAN RODLEY, A LEADING FORCE AT DAZL THE INSPIRING DANCE SESSION GROUP
Young aspiring dancers of Yorkshire are set to dazzle audiences, in a number of performances across the region. These performances will be the product of an exciting new project, Yorkshire Connection: a collaboration between Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL), Rees Dance and Wayne Sables Project funded by Arts Council England’s “Grants for The Arts”.
The aim of the project is to provide the level of dance training only available at some of the country’s finest schools, to disadvantaged areas of Leeds.
Can you tell us a bit about you and how you got into the work you do?
My name is Ian Rodley, and I’m a founding member of Dance Action Zone Leeds, or DAZL. We work across Leeds providing dance sessions for anyone between the ages of 3 and 19. We offer all forms of dance education, from Jazz to Street Dance, and provide a natural talent progression for everyone who comes to us. Our most recent project is Yorkshire Connections, which connects children across Leeds who may not be able to afford or access such experiences with some of the finest dancers and dance companies in the region.
I’ve been raised in Leeds all my life, so to be able to give back to the community that raised me and provide such experiences for the next generation is an essential part of why I do what I do.
What would you say to anyone reading this who would like to follow in your footsteps?
We work with up to 5000 children a week, so I would say that if you’d like to do what we do you’ve got to prepare to work hard and miss out on some sleep!
To get to where we are today we’ve had some fantastic mentors and advisors, but the most important thing is to believe in the work you do and the impact it can have.
Who is your main influence?
I’ve been influenced in a way by everybody who gave us the platforms and initial opportunities that led to where we are today. Jan Burkhardt was the woman who helped get DAZL off the ground and she is naturally a major influence.
With regards to dance, I find influence everywhere. With the arts the opportunity to be influenced and inspired is all around you. You just have to keep your eyes open.
If you could have a dance with anyone dead or alive who would it be?
If I had to pick anybody it would be somebody like Elvis Presley. He’s such a significant cultural icon and we know he can dance! If it was only somebody who was alive, I’d probably choose Barack Obama, because if you had the opportunity you would, wouldn’t you?
What do you do to relax?
I’m incredibly passionate about dance and the arts, even when I’m not working, so it’s always good to see other people’s art when I get the chance. With that being said, sometimes you’ve got to get out of the dance bubble, so I like to run, keep fit and socialise when I get the chance.