Hello, fellow students! I hope my tutting tutorial entertains you a little bit whilst we’re all stuck indoors. If you enjoyed it, this is one of many street dance styles that you could learn with Rawkus Street Dance Society. I’d like to tell you about our history, what we provide and what we stand for.
Rawkus was founded in 2004 by Loughborough University alumni, Bagsy and André Bright. Both are now very successful in the dance world. For example, Bagsy is a European Waacking champion and André Bright has taught at the Royal Academy of Dance.
When they were students, there was no street dance at Loughborough, so they established their own society. On Bagsy’s return for a workshop with us, he explained how Rawkus got its name: “Someone told us that our dance was really raw. And we joked that it was rawcous.” The name stuck, but whoever created the logo later thought it was about lions. I don’t blame them, we thought the same!
Fifteen years on, Rawkus is still going strong. We welcome all who love to dance, regardless of ability; many novices who join us find themselves improving rapidly. Last year, we entered Go Hard or Go Home (a well-renowned dance competition) and won three trophies: 1st in the intermediate street category, 3rd for best choreography and 1st for team spirit. This was quite an achievement, especially considering some members had never danced before joining Rawkus.
It is that team spirit that makes Rawkus special. Members say that they love the family feel of the group, the lack of judgement and absence of cliques. The fact that our teachers are paid professionals makes achieving this environment a lot easier. When they make a decision, we know that it’s nothing personal. Our two fantastic teachers are Gareth Woodward and Rianne Gayle, who both run one class per week.
Gareth Woodward has worked with Mariah Carey, Take That, Coldplay, Cheryl, The X Factor and The Voice UK. He has featured in hit Bollywood films and has also appeared in commercials for Cadburys, Cartoon Network and Morrisons. In his classes, you will learn popping, locking, house, hip hop and many more street styles.
Rianne Gayle’s classes are a vibrant amalgamation of her street dance training in France, her time competing in Sheffield with Ink Dance and her experience performing all over the UK with a Caribbean carnival troupe. Her choreography is sassy, fun and exotic.
Alongside these weekly classes, we organise special workshops with other high-calibre teachers. As mentioned above, Bagsy (our co-founder) ran a waacking and house workshop. In the same month, we were lucky enough to have Alex Mechanikool teach us a popping workshop. Mechanikool is a two-time UK popping champion and is Diversity’s go-to teacher for this style. I’m sorry for all this name dropping–just can’t help myself.
I hope this has given you an insight into what it’s like to be part of Rawkus Street Dance. Perhaps it’s something that you’d like to try! We would be delighted if you joined us for a free taster session when we return in the Autumn.
Peter Keefe, Chair of Rawkus Street Dance
My name is Peter, I’m twenty years old and I’m a second-year Sport and Exercise Science student. This year I have loved being chair of Rawkus Street Dance Society—I look forward to doing it again next year. At eight years old, I did my first street dance show and I have performed every year since, mostly with my local dance school, Younique. Along the way I have learnt about street dance, specifically popping, from watching videos on Youtube and learning from my mentor, Alex Mechanikool. When I graduate, I would like to work in public relations.
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