Two University of Bedfordshire alumni have used Steps funding to set up a growing, independent dance company.
Jess Hobson and Tenita Williams, graduates in Dance and Professional Practice, developed the undergraduate Steps Dance Company during their third year, building on their experience of choreography and performance. They have since gone on to form the JT Dance Company.
The group, which has now expanded to 11 members, performed at the ‘Current’ festival in November. The event, which showcased multiple forms of art, was arranged by RAW:natural born artists, a worldwide arts organisation.
Keeping in line with the duo’s emphasis on youth and opportunity, current University of Bedfordshire students worked and performed alongside Tenita and Jess.
The pair utilised the Vice Chancellor’s Steps fund, which granted over ￡6,000 to the ‘Step Up’ project, an initiative providing ‘Opportunities for Performing Arts students to develop as creative entrepreneurs and to showcase their work.’
By increasing student confidence, skills and creativity, the project aimed to provide support for students and to help them make the transition into the professional performance industry.
The project and fund supported the dance duo with professional mentoring, production costs and travel to showcase their work in Milton Keynes.
Jane Carr, the Acting Head of Department of Performing Arts and English, praised Jess and Tenita, as well as the Steps fund:
“We are delighted that Steps funding helped support Jess and Tenita to further their ambition and that they continue to offer opportunities to UoB students to gain performance experience.
“It is great to be able to give students an incentive to develop their work even further.”
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