We are people who love to dance. We hire a church hall near the centre of Exeter, Devon and welcome everyone who wishes to join us, whatever your age or ability.
We meet at St Matt's hall every Wednesday (except during August and not on the Wednesday between Christmas and New Year) and invite you to come and find us.
Barefoot dance ..... someone brings the music, another opens the hall and someone else holds it all together ... and we dance. You never know how the evening will be!
We aim to provide a safe space where people are free to dance with other people as they wish.
No steps to learn, move as you wish, rest when you want. A mix of music from around the world .... slow, upbeat, wild, relaxed - different rhythms and moods. We finish in silence.
Sometimes we invite teachers to lead and inspire us - this can be 5 rhythms or soul motion or contact improvisation. or movement medicine or conscious clubbing Exeter or any other form where you are not required to learn specific steps.
Most of us have danced 5 rhythms over a number of years, but there is no requirement to have done this before coming along.
We are a non profit making group. All the jobs to do with running the group are done by people on a voluntary unpaid basis. We pay the visiting teachers and facilitators and the price of admission to these sessions reflect our expenses. All proceeds are used to promote dance events. Any surplus over an agreed reserve is donated to a charity or charities of the communities choice.
you are welcome to join us ...
whatever your ...
funny ideas about things
In 2021 when we were experiencing various lockdowns we thought it would be a great idea to hear our group members stories about their interest and involvement in dance and movement. We got lots! Click on the heart above to read the one's from people who wanted to share on this site. Thank you all xxx
HOW THE COMMUNITY WORKS ….
There is no formal structure for this group, no one is ‘in charge’ or ‘leading’. Some people take a more active voluntary role in the administrative and organisational tasks to keep things going. Decision making is by consensus where possible and the whole community (i.e. everyone who turns up on a Wednesday) is invited to be involved.
There is an annual meeting (usually in May) to talk about the programme, finances, policy, health and general direction of the group. Other meetings may be arranged on an ad hoc basis.
Barefoot Dance is a not for profit organisation. Funds accumulated over an agreed reserve are donated to a charity agreed by the community.
KEEPING EACH OTHER SAFE
The community wishes to provide a safe place where people can be just as they are. People dance/move on their own or with each other.
There may be physical contact between dancers at times. It is always intended that this is with the consent of all the people involved.
Everyone has the right to decline/invite touch at any point.
If you wonder if you might have crossed a personal boundary of another dancer, we suggest you check it out with the person concerned as soon as possible. We assume most boundaries are crossed unintentionally.
if you feel a personal boundary of your own has been crossed, we think it is important, for all parties, that this is communicated to the person/people concerned as soon as possible. Communication could be with words or dance/movement or both. We hope that this direct approach will resolve the specific issue satisfactorily.
If it does not feel possible to communicate directly with the person/people, for any reason, or that communication has been attempted and failed then we have a resolution procedure.
IF YOU'RE COMING ALONG FOR THE FIRST TIME
It's a place where people come to move and dance with awareness, usually to music. Everyone is welcome and responsible for their own emotional and physical safety. The space is drug and alcohol free and everyone is free to leave the sessions at any time.
The dance floor is kept free of chat though people are welcome to go into the adjoining areas if they want to talk at any time. There are usually a couple of times during the evening where we will gather in a circle and meet as a community. There will always be the opportunity to speak to the whole group, though this is always voluntary.
On Barefoot (peer led) nights the music is provided and the circle is held by members of the group. When there is a teacher paid to run the session they take primary responsibility for the safety and well-being of the group.
People dance barefoot or in dance shoes and bring water to drink (or it is available from the hall kitchen).
There is sort of disabled access and a toilet for disabled people. The hall management are improving these facilities in the near future.
LATEST BAREFOOT DANCE FINANCES - our financial years start 1st Feb and end 31st Jan
There has been a long tradition of this style of dance taking place in Exeter since the mid nineteen nineties. Dilys Morgan Scott ran a 5 rhythms class around that time. From that evolved a five rhythms peer group which met in the basement of a house on Colleton Cresent which had been converted into a dance studio. Fiona led this and handled all the organisation and administration. The studio was in a residential area which meant that noise from the amplified music was a problem if the windows were open. If it was warm the windows really did need to be open. After several complaints from all sides - room too hot, music too quiet, music disturbing neighbours, Fiona found that St Matthews Church Hall was free on a Wednesday evening. This seemed a much better venue all round and the group moved there in 2003. Lorna and Ben had already been running 5R classes at St Matthews once a month on a Saturday with live drumming. Kay had also run 5R classes at the venue on a Monday morning.
In 2005 there was a lot of pressure from the 5R hierarchy for peer groups to close. Fiona's response was to propose the Exeter group should only have teacher led sessions from January 2006 and she organised the programme accordingly. This was contraversial as many of the members of the group did not agree with this. They still wanted to have sessions which were not teacher led where members of the group bought along the music and people danced as they wished. So, in response to weekly 5R teacher led sessions the Sunday Dance Group was formed which was entirely peer led. The first session was held on Sunday 5 March 2006 at St Matthews Church Hall and it met monthly. There was a planning group which involved Karen, Cathrin, Lucie, Alex, Laurence, Michelle and Johnnie.
The group was run on democratic lines and it wasn't long before we were looking for a name to replace the rather unimaginative but descriptive group title. We considered Barefoot Boogie but that name and format, developed elsewhere, wasn't quite what we were about. Movement meditation was also a contender but in the end barefoot dance was agreed by all to be the best and so in 2006 'barefoot dance' was 'born'. Many of the people who attended the monthly Sunday sessions in 2006 were also going along to many of the teacher led Wednesday sessions at that time.
In spite of this, the former 5R peer group struggled to get enough people week after week on a Wednesday in 2006 to pay its way. Having a 5R teacher every week made it expensive. Fiona decided to close down the 5rhythms teacher led group in December 2006.
From January 2007 the barefoot dance community took on the booking of the hall and organised the weekly dance sessions on a Wednesday and the monthly sessions on a Sunday. After a while the Sunday sessions were dropped. The format was slightly different in that other forms of dance as well as 5 rhythms were now 'taught'. These included shamanic trance dance, biodanza, contact improvisation, improvised live music and other forms where there was no rerquirement to learn steps. The core still involved members of the group putting together a playlist on a CD or mini-disc and people dancing as they wished. You become your own teacher as the publicity said at the time.
At one point back in 2008 ....
... only a few people were coming along and we were taking in less money than we were paying out. We were in debt! Alex suggested a plan so that we would only invite the 2 popular 5R teachers every other week at the most. We increased the number of sessions where we did it ourselves. It wasn't long before we were back in the black again.
In 2010 ....
... we had enough money to buy some professional sound equipment. Before that we had some little speakers which Alex had donated - he no longer had any use for them at home.
In 2011 ....
We held the first Gidleigh residential weekend.
Jo Hardy facilitated 'the way of the heart'