Home » Common People Dance Project returns to SPARK Ipswich 2024

Common People Dance Project returns to SPARK Ipswich 2024

Guy Hazlewood    April 1, 2024    4 min read   

The Common People Dance Project is returning this year and are looking for performers to dance battle for the city at SPARK Ipswich.

The Common People Dance Project takes people of all ages and abilities, including those with no previous dance experience, and teaches them a choreographed dance number to hit songs.

SPARK Ipswich is an 11-day city-wide event celebrating the people, places, arts and culture of Ipswich, and over the past four years has grown to become one of Ipswich City Council’s signature festivals.

After three months of lessons and rehearsals, the Ipswich group will battle rival groups from all over the larger Brisbane area by taking to the stage to showcase what they have learnt.

Ipswich team at BrisFest 2023.
Eastside Team at BrisFest 2023.

Founder Neridah Waters described last year’s debut at SPARK Ipswich as an excellent experience, and said she was looking forward to returning to the city.

“I am looking for between 30 and 50 individuals who don’t take themselves too seriously to get up on stage and dance battle against other groups from other areas,” she said.

“Last year I think the group had a real connection with the local Ipswich community, and I am all about giving adults a platform to play and embrace that inner child.”

Neridah said the project fosters a welcoming environment for everyone.

“We take all ages and abilities, and we don’t ever turn anyone away,” she said.

“If we get things wrong in the routine, well that just happens, and everyone moves on.”

Heather Passant, who was part of the inaugural Ipswich team last year, said she can’t wait until rehearsals start next month.

“One hundred percent I will be back. It was so much fun last year and in my wildest dreams it was not something I had ever seen myself doing, but here I was front and centre on performance day having the best time,” she said.

“We had some young kids, some kids at heart, a few grey hairs. It didn’t matter if you were a size 4 or a size 24, you were just accepted and encouraged to do what you could.

“Most of us were strangers, there were mums and daughters, friends from work, some friends who reunited to do this, it was this great wonderful mishmash of people who just came together.

Heather said the team would love to welcome more males to the 2024 team.

“The Ipswich team was a bit female-orientated last year, so come on boys – come along and have a great time this year. It really was so much fun,” she said.

The concept was born in 2009 when Neridah Waters teamed up with Ipswich-raised Fez Fa’anana to run a dance workshop at the National Circus Festival based around the hit Pulp song Common People.

The workshop was so popular that it led to a huge flash-mob performance witnessed by the entire festival audience.

Since that initial show, Common People Dance Project has been running dance projects at Adelaide Fringe Festival, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Perth Circus Festival, Surfers Paradise Festival, Edmonton Street Festival (Canada) and Glastonbury Festival (UK) and now SPARK Ipswich.

Nerida said the format attracts everyone from whole families, ex-professional dancers to people that have never danced before, seniors, and people with disabilities.

“Dancing is fun and playful and joyful and can be really funny. It helps us connect with other people. It makes our bodies fit and healthy without us even being conscious of working out,” she said.

“But most of all, it makes us happier. When you dance your body releases endorphins and reduces our perception of pain. It makes us forget our immediate problems and we lose ourselves in dance.”

SPARK Ipswich will be held between July 4 and 14 this year with the Common People Dance Project Ipswich performance on July 14.

Weekly rehearsals start April 15, and are held each Monday night from 6.30pm – 7.30pm at Studio 188 at 188 Brisbane Street.

Registrations open Friday, 8 March. To register, go to ipswichfestivals.com.au/common-people-dance-project

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Guy Hazlewood