A big group of people throw their hands up in dance wearing brightly coloured carnival costumes - led by charlene low our workshop leader

Meet our workshop leader

For the last two decades, Charlene Low has been on a mission to spread the joy of moving to music.

As a choreographer, facilitator, and director, she focuses on making movement accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, young people, families and older people at different stages of dementia.

In her work, Charlene pushes herself to make each piece relatable to the people she works with, finding inspiration in listening to their stories, learning from each other, building bonds and creating magic through movement.

Charlene’s infectious energy caught the attention of Upswing when we were looking for an Assistant Artist for our Seasons project. Her skills as a facilitator and passion for inclusivity made her a perfect fit for the project, which has involved delivering education and community workshops based on nature, to local schoolchildren in Brent libraries.

She has facilitated acrobatics and creative writing workshop, as well as hosting the activity videos as part of our brand new Seasons Learner Resources – Free guides for teachers and workshop leaders looking to connect their students to nature.

A woman runs a circus workshop and holds some sticks and dances with some children

“I’ve always loved Upswing’s work but never thought I’d be able to work with them as I’m not a circus artist. I was so excited [when I saw the role] as it was everything that I held dear to me and had been doing for the last 15 years. I’m really enjoying learning more about the circus world and being able to transfer my skills as a facilitator.”

Her dedication to her craft has led to some incredible accomplishments in her career – One of them being The Thank You Dance’ for the closing ceremony of the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations – which Charlene Assistant Directed. The Dance (by Jeanefer Jean Charles and Kinetika Arts) was a bright and bold spectacular made up of over 200 performers of different ages and abilities, and highlighted key workers and the essential role they played throughout the pandemic.

She’s also been working on our Homemade Circus project as Lead Artist – delivering circus activities to residents and staff in care homes throughout the UK. Behind the scenes we’ve been creating a Digital Toolkit together, so that care home staff can learn to deliver these activities themselves – watch this space!

“Working with everyone in Upswing has been really eye opening, I was very conscious when I joined that my background is dance therefore I needed support to understand the circus world betterUpswing was able to provide a circus consultant to work alongside myself and we hit it off from the moment we met like donuts and sprinkles! I’ve learned a lot and felt extremely supported throughout.”

We’ve loved having Charlene on board as a Lead Artist and see her connecting with students and teachers – who kept asking when she would be coming back!

Charlene is Artistic Director of Sardines Dance, a collective of exceptional, integrated, contemporary dance artist’s, working with people with profound multiple learning difficulties.

You can follow along with Charlene’s work at Sardines Dance or @‌sardinesdancecollective on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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