This week, Jill Reidy spent some time hanging out with FY Westcoast to discover their story, motivation and how they can inspire others:
Sam Bell is an inspirational young dance teacher based in Blackpool. I found her on the top floor of The Oracle, on St Anne’s Road, last Friday evening, surrounded by young kids and teenagers, all anxious to get on with their lively street dance lessons. At 28 years old, she has achieved a lot in the last ten years. I asked her what first drew her to street dance.
“I got into it properly when I was 17 years old,” she told me, “I had some family problems. My dad was attacked and it left him with life threatening injuries. I was getting very down and didn’t want to leave my room to go to sixth form. It was suggested to me that I should maybe go to a local theatre school to try and get me out of the funk I was in, and give me something positive to work towards to take my mind off my problems at home, that’s what I did and eventually left sixth form but it opened up a new path for me.”
Sam’s brother Mark is, in her own words, her biggest influence and inspiration. After making a name for himself in the music industry by becoming a producer, singer and songwriter this spurred Sam on to do something positive with her life, something which would allow her to make a difference.
Sam’s first dance teacher, Mel Ramsey, recognised her potential and invested a lot of time and effort in building up Sam’s confidence and skills. “Urban dance is my passion,” Sam informed me. “It always has been. I respect and enjoy other dance styles, but for me it’s always been about street and breakin’. Rap and R n B music were big influences on me, growing up. They got me through some difficult times.”
FY Westcoast was established in 2006 by Sam and Mel . They wanted to give young people an activity to foster new skills, improve fitness and, above all, something positive to work towards. Their aim was to provide a quality service that was affordable to all, no matter the background or financial situation.
Since starting the dance school, Sam has become a UK, British and World Street Dance Champion, as have several of her students. Sam and Mel have worked closely with The Prince’s Trust, Visit Blackpool, Radio Wave, Rock FM, CBBC and many more. Sam told me her proudest moment was performing at The Olympic Torch Ceremony held in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, a beautiful venue with a great atmosphere, despite the wind and rain outside!
Sam is full of enthusiasm for the future, “I would advise anyone serious about getting into street dance or breakin’ to prepare for hard work, smiles, tears, laughs, but most of all prepare to have FUN! There is so much that I’m still looking forward to doing and achieving. The next step for me is opening Wingz Management, a company representing young performers who want to break into the TV industry. We are currently running weekly casting workshops at The Oracle, with a top BBC casting assistant.”
Sam concludes, “My life was going on a downhill spiral, but with great support from my family and friends I have managed to come out the other side, and do something positive that inspires young people. I’m very lucky at this point in my life and hope I can carry on until I’m old and grey with my walking stick!”
To find out more about FY Westcoast or to get involved visit the Facebook page.
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