My name is Lee Smikle and I am the artistic director of Shoreditch Youth Dance (SYD) & Smikle Project. Right now I am developing our own permanent base & new home 'Smikle Space' in (Brighton &) Hove. Celebrating our TEN year anniversary.
Smikle Space will house SYD:B Creative Dance Academy, as well as be a home for SYD Company and our professional alumni dancers. Here, they can train, create and develop new work.
Where it began
I trained at The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary dance, upon graduating I worked in Europe and then became a founding member of DansConnect in Swindon dance. DansConnect played an important role in impacting how I work with dance education to this very day. Following this I joined Matthew Bournes New Adventures where I remained for 10 years. Whilst in the company I performed, taught, was a part in developing their educational programs, was a resident artist, and I toured the globe! After I retired from performing I took on the role of lead teacher at Centre for Advanced Training program (CAT) at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. I remained there for the next 7 years. From this point forward I decided to put all my experience as a dancer and teacher into building my own platforms for enabling young people to be empowered by creative dance. I believe my career has been an absolute priveledge, but I fully comprehend the many struggles that I had to face as a young person, with little guidance and only instincts to follow. And this is what drives me today. I work towards building ways to open the many possibilities that can help a young person flourish through creative expression and individual exploration.
The last ten years of my life has been dedicated to developing and providing open creative spaces and experiences for young people, an ambition that could not have happened without the dedication of the young participants, and the passion, talent, and generosity of people and friends such as SYD’s Rehearsal Director, Micheala Ellis.
Losing our home
In 2014 The Rich Mix could no longer afford us space to work, and so we sadly lost our home of many years. However, this didn’t prevent us from continuing forward with our SYD Sunday’s, we struggled to find places to meet, but we always did, this actually made us as a group more resilient, determined, and active in our ambitions to be with and work together. This period helped us become even more of a dance family. Once all SYD members had gotten into dance conservatoires I took the decision to take the company from London to Brighton, this was due to the difficulties financially that London put on maintaining the group. SYD continued working in Brighton, and then in addition I created SYD: B for Brighton based youth. Things once again took a turn for the best, and I was able to further create my projects involving both companys.
We’ve found a new home!
After all these years of being displaced and moving around from studio to studio, we have finally found a great spot where we can now settle down, and look into a future of building what we do into a permanent fixture. With once again establishing a company base we lay for ourselves a foundation that provides a much needed sense of longevity and security, one that can support current members, invite in new ones, and allow for more possibilities with future projects and collaborations.Your support ultimately enables this future vision. The funds raised from our CrowdFunder will go towards renovating the space into a working dance studio, so we can open in January 2020. We need to build and fit a sprung dance floor laid with dance vinyl flooring, mount a mirrored wall and make portable wooden ballet barres.
Celebrating 10 years!
I believe that the performing and creative arts matter because it genuinely transforms lives. I have seen and felt the joy that dance and being creative can bring, I have witnessed it repeatedly in the youth that I have worked with, and this is what is so special about finding a new home. For the forseable future ‘Smikle Space’ will be a hub, a community of past and present members, a platform for confident young people to inspire other young people, a place where locals can gather for all sorts of physical activities. By reaching our 10 year mark we have proven that the ‘SYD SPIRIT’ is alive and kicking, and will continue to do so for many years to come. Become a part of our journey!