Dance Action Zone Leeds (DAZL) are a community organisation, passionate about enabling young people from deprived areas of Leeds to be able to access the same opportunities of those in more affluent areas of the city. DAZL joined the StreetGames ‘network’ in 2017 and have been an engaging and enthusiastic partner ever since, delivering a range of interventions, accessing a variety of training workshops and often thinking outside the box for new and interesting ways to engage their audience.
Specifically in the Middleton, Belle Isle, and Burmantofts communities, their weekly Satellite Club sessions are dedicated to increase the activity levels of young people, particularly inactive girls. By using dance as an accessible, engaging tool to support the reduction in physical and mental health inequalities. DAZL has built a fantastic reputation within Leeds and positively impacts on the lives of hundreds if not thousands of young people. Part of DAZL’s success can be attributed to their model of support
ing and nurturing young people to become leaders within their own community. After accessing Satellite Club funding and support from StreetGames in 2019, DAZL were able to engage four new young dance leaders. South Leeds residents Amy, Cam, Madison and Sally have since been helping out at Satellite Club and other community sessions as a result. General participants are also given a part to play by taking ownership and having a voice in various workshops and sessions.
“Since being involved in StreetGames, this has inspired me to be more involved and active, I feel my inner and mental health has eased from dancing and interacting with people. I thoroughly enjoy the classes and I am always looking forward to the next session. Thank you for providing and giving me an opportunity to take part in something that I have a passion for.” Chloe Hayley – Dance Leader Final Year Degree Student.
School and Social Media Presence
DAZL are also embedded within local schools, delivering after school dance clubs and Mental Health and Resilience work using dance. As strong social media advocates, DAZL have built a strong presence online and use this alongside their school links to promote their sessions to young people and partners. Their social media know-how has proven valuable, as despite facing challenges with retaining a diverse and difficult group of young girls at a session in Burmantofts, they persisted with engaging them through social media and also generated more interest by releasing an online feedback video. This was also featured in the DAZL Talks podcast where the young people talked about how continuing taking part in physical activity has maintained their positive mental health and wellbeing. DAZL Talks | Podcast on Spotify
Staff at DAZL insist that their feedback videos and use of social media have improved their engagement and retention figures. The differences made to participant’s lives, health and social skills are visible in the DAZL feedback videos, you can access many examples of DAZL’s great work and impressive feedback here.
During the coronavirus pandemic, DAZL have been providing support wherever possible to their participants from delivery food parcels, providing virtual mentoring and keeping young people up to date on all the lockdown restrictions. DAZL created a outdoor social distancing dance program Garden Groovers where they took dance to 80 streets across Leeds, bringing the residents out to their gardens to be active.
Their live virtual sessions have been a success during the coronavirus pandemic, not only increasing activity levels but also providing a positive platform to improve mental health and wellbeing too. The groups also had the opportunity to share work in a live showcase.
DAZL also delivered a Dance with Pride Digital event throughout lockdown to encourage inclusion – you can view their blog here.
As well as upskilling their coaches in ‘Mentoring young people in Community Settings’, four of DAZL’s young volunteers have taken part in StreetGames’ Level 1 Delivering Community Activities to Youth at Risk workshop, where they concluded with a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to real life funders and gained £500 for DAZL to run a youth led dance project.
DAZL are quick to advocate positive social change, recently showcasing their support for the Stonewall Rainbow Laces’s campaign, with many of their staff, coaches, volunteers and participants taking part. You can view DAZL’s campaign videos here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ODpcXIfd8Vw?wmode=transparent&rel=0&showinfo=0