Radical Rhizomes at The Dance Space

We want The Dance Space to be a home for dance that is welcoming and safe for everybody in our diverse community.

Image: Rosie Powell.

When Tarik Elmoutawakil, Creative Director at Marlborough Productions, suggested that we host Vogue classes for their Radical Rhizomes group here at The Dance Space, we were more than happy to support. 

Marlborough Productions is a leading UK producer of queer-led, intersectional performance, parties, heritage and radical community gatherings and their Radical Rhizomes group is Brighton & Hove’s only regular social and support network for QTIPoC (queer, trans & intersex people of colour).

We all know and understand the mental health and physical wellbeing benefits that come from taking part in a social dance activity. So, when Marlborough Productions launched their Vogue classes  in partnership with South East Dance at The Dance Space, with support from The Postcode Society Trust, they were free to participants and included a nourishing hot and healthy meal inspired by global south cuisines and cultures. Travel was supported too, to make the programme as accessible as possible for those who needed travel support.

Pearl Mayaki dances at a Radical Rhizomes class wearing a black t-shirt and black trousers. They had dark curly hair. Three more dancers are dancing behind them, blurred out by the camera. They are in a white studio room.
Pearl Mayaki at Radical Rhizomes. Photo by Rosie Powell.

Led by the acclaimed dancer Bambi, House of Revlon and Mother of the Kiki House of Laveaux, who specialises in Vogue Femme and Runway, the classes ran for 10 months from October 2022, and were a great success, attracting regular attendance from people across the QTIPoC community. 

One participant said: “This programme has been amazing for my mental health and for building connections with new people and building my confidence! Bambi is amazing. Thank you.”

Other participants said they had developed newfound confidence and felt they’d learned new creative skills. Many of the group also talked about the benefits the sessions had for their mental health, as one participant described:

“For my mental health it has been amazing, my mental health was in a bad place towards the end of last year and it's been an amazing space for my self-confidence, my self- worth, having something to look forward to every week. I was experiencing isolation when I was living alone. Being around other Queer People of Colour, (the classes) being free, having a meal afterwards and being able to sit and dance with people has been like therapy…”

Claudette Atkinson at Radical Rhizomes. They are dancing, wearing a black sports bra and black sports leggings. They have a red head scarf aith a bright multi-coloured pattern on it, which keeps their dreadlocks out of their face. hey are dancing in a white studio space.
Claudette Atkinson at Radical Rhizomes. Photo by Rosie Powell.

Tarik Elmoutawakil, Creative Director at Marlborough Productions said: “The partnership between Radical Rhizomes (Marlborough Productions) and South East Dance has created space in Brighton & Hove that has previously been unimaginable.

“Our members have had regular access to a genuinely accessible dance class, a supportive and growing community and a healthy and delicious meal, all for free. Providing space for communities to thrive rather than simply survive is crucial to making Brighton & Hove a liveable city for its QTIPoC citizens.”

Rhize Up Festival at Ironworks on Sunday 24 March, 2024 celebrates five years of Radical Rhizomes, and features live performances, exhibitions, workshops, dance classes and more. Find out more and book here.

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