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Waggle Dance Co offers storytelling and dance workshops to very young artists.

Promoting fitness, focus and freedom in youth-led sessions – we use creative dance to make a positive impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. Our mission is to inspire, co-create with and encourage the next generation.

How did it all begin?

Professional dancer and facilitator Jess wanted to make her own dance work that is tailored for young artists and to get them moving! Increasing confidence and co-creating with them, her aim is to bring the joy of dance to young people and families. Learning the Waggle Dance Workshop was piloted in Luton Academy and since then we have worked in Museums, Festivals and coming soon Local Libraries.

What sets your business apart?

Waggle Dance Co was named after the waggle dance, a figure of 8 movement that bees do in nature. They communicate through dance and we think it’s the most powerful form of storytelling. Each Waggle Dance is unique and we believe that so are our dancers. Co-creating with and designing shows for them is at the heart of what we want to do.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

Our work engages young people 5-13yrs in fun, accessible, movement sessions that explore storytelling skills in new creative ways. This supports emotional and physical well-being in a world where we can spend all day without moving and where the Department of Health recognises that over half of UK, children do not do at least 60mins physical activity every day. We promote Fitness, Focus and Freedom.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

Empowering very young artists by giving them a high quality experience and to develop a new dance graduate scheme – where each facilitator teaches one and we can give work experience to brilliant people who need to get credits on their CV. Sharing in a community of dancers who would like to role-model for young aspiring creatives. My hope for the future is that I can get online and reach more home educators and/or international schools.

Jess Royle

Founder of

Waggle Dance Co.

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

The 3 F’s. Fitness is such an important quality in a dancers life especially as soon as your injured or suffer from low moods, you’ve never been more grateful for a healthy body and mind. Focus when my mind is racing and I can’t switch off it’s great to stretch and move my body and to focus on a completely different task that has a massive effect on low energy. Freedom this is something I’ve found out on my own dance journey that you can break the rules and cross-pollinate the genres of dance to create something different.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

I was very lucky at 19 years old to have been awarded a grant to continue my professional training, without this golden ticket (as coming from a single-mum family we couldn’t afford the fees), I don’t know where my life would have turned. It made me grateful for opportunity and to work hard because of that.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

After it being on my vision board for 3 whole years last summer I actually gave a Waggle Dance Creative Workshop at Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place in Chiswick House and Tatton Park – seriously awe-inspiring.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

WRITE IT DOWN.

Sometimes I have ideas or great conversations and I just wish I had recorded them. Having my finances straight and organised now means I can look forwards instead of worrying when something unexpected creeps up. To share knowledge has always been something I can see coming back in a boomerang it literally has helped me to book jobs or new clients.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Be the chef – not the cook. Ann Wixley Mentor from Moving Ahead 30% club.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

Talk to everyone and be understanding of people’s time.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

Arts Council England have just awarded us NLPG for a new project Dance Maven about Dance and Dyslexia. I hope to scale this to tour by 2025.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

Feeling not enough. I went to Dancer’s Career Development, found a coach and have been in rooms with Principal dancers who were also sharing their fears about imposter syndrome and their future after leaving the stage. Finding people who understand has been invaluable. I’m sure they would say the same. I actively went to look for support. If you don’t ask right?

Why is it important to support women-led business?

Championing women-led businesses is what drew me to The Women’s Chapter. I think we must reduce the gender pay-gap and figure out a flexible way around our discriminations; through building our own company’s and then empowering others to climb up the ladder. The Women in my life are strong, resilient and resourceful. They are excellent cheerleaders and can always throw another spin on things when life gets tough. I honestly have so much respect and love for Women who run their own businesses – there should be more ways to celebrate and give kudos to these absolute heroes!

60

Seconds

with

Jess Royle

My inspiration is...

Megan Bowen NYC dance artist (Founder of dance from home).

My greatest fear is...

Being found out. Chants daily mantra "I have great confidence in all that I do".

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

Kept going!

Guilty pleasure?

Watching Bridgerton and wishing I was in the ballroom choreography.

Mantra you live by?

Meliora, it means for the better.

Female role model?

Kate Prince - Zoo Nation.

Women-led brand you love?

Noble Yoga (the best leggings I've ever taught dance in).

Top productivity tool?

Asana, my productivity method diary by Grace Beverley and a whiteboard.

Waggle Dance Co. has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members

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