By Alexander Lawrie
TROUBLED teenage girls are being enticed to stay on at school – by sitting a new qualification in hip-hop.
Dance charity Showcase the Street hope the new classes will help girls dance their way out of trouble and re-engage them in learning.
An initial pilot scheme is already up and running in Arbroath, and if successful organisers are keen to roll the course out across the country.
To pass the 60-hour course the girls will have to learn basic hip-hop dance moves such as ‘bounces’, ‘body ripples’ and ‘butt spins’.
As well as using their imagination to plan, research, choreograph and perform a dance piece, the most important part of the course will be to behave.
The innovative course has been developed by the dance charity and Angus College and will be worth a maximum six SCQF credit points.
Fergus Storrier, a community policeman and chair of Showcase the Street, said: “We’ll be working with a group of girls who have not been attending school or who have behavioural issues.
“We want the course to act as a vehicle to re-engage them but we will be setting ground rules.
“We don’t want simply to take them out of school and that’s all they do.
“There will be a clear understanding that this is an add-on, conditional on carrying out their normal school work.”
Mr Storrier believes the course will provide girls with another much-needed vocational option.
Young males who neither end up in further education, employment or training used to outnumber girls three to one, but today that figure is 50-50.
Iverene Bromfield, from Angus College, said: “This qualification will be of use anywhere where people are trying to enthuse and inspire youngsters.
“It will promote a “can do” attitude and give them a sense of achievement on which to build.”
“This is a really exciting opportunity for the kids and the biggest problem we faced was actually formalizing the dancing into a qualification framework.
“Also, in future, I see no problem at all with this class being open to boys of all ages.”
Chloe Henderson, a recent Showcase the Street success story, started going to classes in Dundee two years ago just as she was on the verge of being thrown out of school.
Chloe, 16, said: “I really enjoyed going and wanted to keep going there, but my mum and dad were quite strict and said if I didn’t get my head down at school I wasn’t going to dancing.
“Getting to Showcase was my goal.”
The youngster admits that the classes gave her something constructive to do in the evenings, rather than “getting steaming every night”.
She has recently passed seven Standard grades and is now training to become a hairdresser.
She said: “If it hadn’t been for Showcase, I’d still be the same old person that I was.”
The Showcase the Street charity first started in Arbroath in 2004, and now has dance classes operating in over ten locations throughout the east of Scotland.