Kick Off Boys & Positive Futures CSE Project

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Overview CSE Dance Project

The Kick off Boys Youth Dance Project which was originally partnership between Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) and Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL), Phoenix Dance Theatre and Leeds City College. Each of the organisations have a different focus from FE, HE, Conservatoire dance providers, to health organisations and a professional touring dance company. Our collective focus is to bring together boys from across Leeds through dance to explore issues which relate to them. We aim to provide artistic opportunities and progression routes for boys in dance with multiple entry and exit points.

In September we partnered with Health for All Leeds –Positive Futures project which is funded by BBC Children In Need. In the last 4 months we have engaged 18 boys from areas of deprivation weekly and they have had the opportunity to perform this work at the following platforms.

  • DAZL Christmas show at The Riley Theatre
  • MASSALA Dance Theatre (All male international dance company) 2nd February 2019 – Curtin raiser 
  • NSCD Community Show 17th March 2019 
  • Child Friendly Leeds Awards 7th March 2019 at City Varieties (The lads have been nominated for youth group of the year) 

The main cohort of the boys are aged 11 – 18 years, from deprived Leeds with some older members acting as mentors to the younger participants. The boys of which many would consider as vulnerable have just finished working on a CSE dance project with artist Donald Edwards titled ‘No Exit’, this focuses on Child Sexual Exploitation of young men and how this impacts on their emotional wellbeing and resilience. Allison from Positive Futures delivered a series of CSE workshops and worked with DAZL and the boys to create a film resource which accompanied the live work to be used wider throughout Leeds to support young who have or are experiencing this. The project included live performance, film and created by professional film maker Wayne Sables which was launched on 15th December 2019 at the Riley Theatre.

All boys state that they have all experienced some form of older adults trying to contact them online. All the four older gay young men had experienced inappropriate relationships/ situation with older men which they hid due to the fear of coming out to parents and others.

Here is a link to the live performance of #NoExit by the Kick Off Boys – the performance shows “The Four Stages of grooming” through the art of dance which in a clear way so the message can resonate with the audience

Here is a link to the information film from the Kick off Boys Project and how they used dance as a tool to highlight the topic of Male CSE

What the information film covers

  • Overview of the project on how we use dance to tackle the issue.
  • What is child sexual exploitation?
  • What are the four stages of grooming?
  • The Kick off Boys tips on how to stay safe online!
  • The Kick off Boys tips on stay safe in general!
  • The Kick off Boys message to other boys!

What the Kick off Boys say…….

“The four stage of grooming have really stuck in my head and now I am much more clearer about what’s right, wrong and how easy it is to fall into the trap – KICK OFF BOY

“I am shocked how many cases come from online and now I will set my social media setting to privet or higher privacy settings and not adding people I don’t know or giving out personal information. – KICK OFF BOY”

“I have learnt it happens to boys a lot more than you think and I dint realise my own experience was that I had been exploited when I was 16yrs and coming out – KICK OFF BOY

The boys have gained confidence in having the discussions around Child Sexual Exploitation as positive futures delivered the workshop in small easily digestiable chucks over the 8 workshops. This then give the boys not only time and space to talk about the topic but workshop this through movement. This then meant they could really understand and pick apart the process when creating their dance work.

The boys have opened up about experiences and situation which have effected them and developed a support network within the Kick off Boys group and the partners involved. For the younger boys listening some of the older boy’s situation/ experiences allowed open discussions on how not to get into similar situations and prevent this from happening again. They boys have gain a lot of knowledge and nowhere to go for help and support, but key to this they are understanding how to listen to their own bodies which come up lots in the film.

This project has highlighted that child sexual exploitation does happen to boys a lot more than we think and that we need to see the signs for boys and girls equally. It’s really highlighted that we shouldn’t revert to “its just boys been boys” or anti-social behavior. The partnership with positive futures have been wonderful and the boys are now performing this work and bringing topic to light and the attention of people across Leeds.