See the Rhythm

©Carole Edrich©Carole Edrich

Local dance journalist and photographer Carole Edrich has launched a magazine app to help support anyone who uses movement in performance, starting with those based at nearby Redbridge Drama Centre.

Dance expresses the drive to create the perfect moment. It is social and selfish, grasping and gregarious. Dance describes and releases fantasy and fulfilment. It expresses sensuality and sensitivity, intellect and intuition. Dance flows from the cutting edge of creativity where risks are taken to achieve a vision. It reflects extremes of performance, discipline and dedication. Resulting from the need to push body and mind through established limits, from selfishness, generosity, guts and desire, it's an expression of culture, pride, determination and can be very much more.

My name is Carole Edrich. I am a photographer, journalist and social entrepreneur who is fascinated by how human beings react to and anticipate risks and extremes. There are two sides to my work; the fluffy fun side (dance, travel, adventure and cultures) and the risk management side (systemic, organisational and business risks, race, health and youth). You might have met me in Wanstead, Leytonstone or South Woodford or read my Angels in Wanstead column in previous issues of this publication. This piece explains why I've stopped writing that series.

My earliest memories of dance as a child are the excuses I used to avoid Yvonne Dudley's ballet lessons. Ironically, in my early thirties I sought her out for private lessons to bring more control and fluidity into my bodybuilding routine. At no time during those lessons did I ever imagine I'd become a 'method' dance journalist and learn enough of 65 different dance forms to feel able to write about and photograph them, or that I'd become so frustrated with the way these wonderful creatives were treated that I would decide to do something to help them.

Four years ago I started working on a small social enterprise. It's called Dance GRiST and is a training organisation that looks like an online magazine. Each issue covers just one subject with beautiful photographs, wonderful words, moving videos and surprising sounds. Conventional media doesn't do what I believe that dancers need, so Dance GRiST covers dance in ways that do dance justice.

It's just the beginning. I want to use Dance GRiST to help dancers directly. By training movement creatives (performers, social dancers, teachers and dance enthusiasts) how to create high quality content (images, videos, words or sounds), how to pitch their ideas and get paid for them, I can help them earn more. That's important. In the UK, the average dancer's annual salary is £5,000. That's about a quarter of the living wage.

Dance GRiST marks my line in the sand. With help from the Council of Europe, Redbridge Drama Centre and some of the dancers themselves, I've created the first app and soft-launched it, and the images I've selected for an exhibition currently on show in Leytonstone tell the stories of some of the people I am working to help. Life is hard for these people and it shouldn't be. Many are based in Redbridge Drama Centre on Churchfields in South Woodford, others have been rehearsing in Leytonstone or other parts of London and a few are from further afield.

I need your help. Subscribe at the Dance Grist website (it's free) and I'll let you know how.

An exhibition of Carole's dance photos will be on show at Le Petit Corner in Leytonstone until 26 August. The free Dance Grist app is available on iOS, Android and Amazon. For more information, visit dancegr.ist or view more images at wavidi.co/dancegrist


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