Classes with Irreverent Dance provide a safe, supportive and fun space for London’s LGBTQ and allied community to move and socialise together.
We understand that the complexities of experience, bodies, and gender don’t always fit into simple binaries - and our 500+ students agree. But for all our hard work, we’ve had to operate in hired spaces where our ideals are not always catered to.
The time has come to get our own premises - we've found the perfect place and we need to raise £30k by 12 November to pay the deposit and fit it out as Europe's first gender-neutral community dance studio.
Successfully funded! STRETCH GOALS:
We hit our initial funding target on Saturday 8 November, in the middle of a dress rehearsal for our annual Showcase performance the next day. Thank you all so much for helping us push past the funding barrier with days to spare! Now, amazingly, we can start to look at stretch goals.
If we raise…
£32,000 - SUCCEEDED!
We’ll be able to set up proper membership management software for our new studios, letting us keep secure track of all our students’ details and any special requirements alongside their class bookings. This will also mean our students have a proper bookings/membership system they’ll be able to access, storing details of their classes and performances so we can make sure everyone is getting the right information.
£35,000 - SUCCEEDED!
We’ll be able to build additional changing cubicles in the changing rooms, to give people more privacy when they’re getting changed for classes. This is really important for many members of our community, who may not feel comfortable dressing and undressing around other people. We’ll also be able to extend the ballet programme above Grade 3 and increase our pointe courses from once-a-year to an ongoing opportunity. At the moment we have quite a few students who’ve progressed all the way from Grade 1 up to pointe classes with us, and without sending them off to mainstream ballet classes, there’s no more we can realistically teach them. An extra level of funding would mean we could afford to create a syllabus for Grade 4 and more advanced classes.
We’ll be able to build additional storage in the studios, allowing us to start accumulating stage backdrops and props, staging items, staging deck and extra chairs, allowing us to transform the studio into a mini cabaret space for evening events
We’ll be able to set up a small shop in our reception area, selling things we know our students find hard to get anywhere else like plus-size ballet tights or gender-neutral base-layer dance clothing. This will include a swap shop - not all our students can afford to buy new, and for someone with a pair of tap shoes gathering dust, it would be great for everyone if we could facilitate proper kit-swaps.
Can you help us hit these new targets? Please keep sharing the link and keep making noise - the finish line is in sight and we'd love to be able to offer our amazing students even more...
Tell me more about Irreverent Dance
Not everyone who wants to learn to dance is young, skinny, graceful, cis-female and gives a toss. In fact, most of us aren’t...
If you’re atypical in any way, learning to dance can be a nightmare. Be it ballet, hip hop, or any one of our growing number of hosted styles, you want to give it a go but you’re worried you wouldn’t be able to keep up; you’ll get stuck in the kids’ class, or you’ll look like an idiot in your oversize t-shirt and those sweatpants that haven’t seen the outside of the flat.
Irreverent Dance is designed for adult beginners and doesn’t take itself too seriously. We aim to have you feeling better about yourself when you leave the studio than when you arrived; week on week. Our studio is a LGBTQ-friendly, body-positive space and our sociable classes frequently roll on to a nearby pub/park for a quick post-dance catch-up before we all head home.
In many ways, Irreverent Dance isn’t really about dance at all. It’s about individuals reconnecting with their bodies; sticking two fingers up to society’s prejudices about gender behaviour, beauty, and identity; and gathering our messy, hard to define, WIP-selves in a space where that imperfection is not only tolerated, but celebrated.
I like to think that, as a group, we are dragging amateur adult dance classes back to what they should be ; a fun, physical, sociable space that has absolutely no business undermining your body, identity, or your self-esteem. We Promise.
As part of creating this Kickstarter, we asked a few of our students to talk about what Irreverent Dance means to them - let them tell you about why we matter:
How will the money be used?
Our costs can be rounded and broken down into 10 broad categories. We need to raise the whole sum to achieve these aims. If the Kickstarter does not reach its goal we will not receive a partial sum, as it could not be spent effectively.
£14, 600: Deposit & legal fees
£1,200: Fitting (gender neutral) changing and bathroom facilities
£800: Fitting a small kitchenette
£6,650: Kitting out a high standard studio with professional floor and curtained mirrors
£400: Installing suitable sound and lighting equipment
£500: Installing suitable heating / air conditioning
£650: Furniture for reception and seating area, including lockers
£900: Equipment for the studio, including mats, barres, and space for bags
£3,000: General decor & partition walls
£2-7,000: Fulfilling the rewards. Variable.
Why do we need a building?
Irreverent Dance has worked for over 2 years to build an inclusive movement community of students and teachers who understand that the complexities of bodies and gender don’t always fit into simplistic binaries. But for all of our hard work, to date we’ve still had to operate in studio and social spaces where our ideals are not always catered to.
Here are our ‘top 5’ reasons getting our own space is important.
Wheelchair accessible, gender-neutral dance spaces don’t exist.Not only does this make finding venues to teach in an exercise in over-compromise but we think this is fundamentally wrong. We’d like to show that they can exist, should exist, and in a way that is profitable and well attended.
Our own space means an increased programme of classes. We seek to offer a broader range of courses, to repeat popular courses on different nights / weekends to better suit your schedule, to schedule more ‘one off’ workshops, private classes and ‘intensives’, and to use this freedom to host guest workshops from specialised teachers.
Our space can double up as a venue for some socials. Much like finding venues to teach in is complex, finding safe(r) spaces to socialise in can also be problematic. With the advantages of it not being an alcohol or food oriented environment, not being open to strangers who may not share our ideals, and already being accessible with gender-neutral facilities, our studio will allow for social time, too.
Maintaining our own space is more cost effective in the long run. Irreverent Dance has grown organically far beyond the expectations of the original idea. It has, in many ways, outgrown its resources. Our options financially are either to reduce our schedule and to rotate out some classes and teachers, or to go for this ‘step change’, acquire our own premises, and continue to grow.
We don’t believe that being an ‘alternative’ dance studio is an excuse for unprofessional practices. Some students will have noticed that we are frequently at the mercy of the organisations we hire through with room changes, late openings, and other administrative hiccups. While our own space will doubtlessly have its own teething problems, we hope that being self-sufficient will mean we are better able to run an organisation we can all be proud of.
Risks and challenges
Right now, as an organisation, the main risk we face is failing to change - which is exactly why we're running this campaign! Without a permanent premises, we're spending more and more money on hiring studio spaces across London every night of the week, and our next step would need to be scaling back what we offer instead of expanding it. We really don't want to do that.
Regarding the building itself - is it fit for purpose? Are there any problems? We have two professional experienced surveyors working with us and we hope that will avoid any nasty surprises.
Like any organisation, we've thought carefully about whether we can afford the rent once we're in - although we plan to offer daytime and weekend hire, our budget works even without these and we should be able to meet the rent even if we were to only offer a slightly expanded programme of evening dance classes.
If there are any unexpected costs, we'll make sure to keep our community fully updated - we prefer to be as transparent as possible about what we're working on. We're confident that (unless unexpected costs spiral into thousands!) we will raise the funds needed - whether through fundraising drives via our amazingly supportive community of dancers, or whether through using our board's experience in the not-for-profit and social enterprise sectors to apply for grants and funding to see us through.
Our priority is to build on and maintain the creative, fulfilling and joyful space we've already made for hundreds of people, and we are absolutely committed to making sure that happens, no matter what.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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