Experienced dance teacher runs online burlesque lesson for DMU students

By Olivia Messum

De Montfort University Students’ Union hosted an online burlesque dance session on Zoom, run by the passionate and experienced dance instructor, Doe Demure. 

This session on February 26 encouraged DMU students to let go, have fun, and learn a new skill. 

Doe said: “I thought the DMU burlesque class went really well. I felt that everyone was getting involved.”

She has been teaching various styles of dance for the past 12 years and said: “I think creative opportunities are important in busy modern-day life as there can be too little chance for adults to express themselves.”

As a result of the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the class had to be moved onto Zoom rather than the typical in-person class.

She said: “I will always prefer in-person classes and there’s no substitute for that, but I think online classes were something which was coming anyway, the pandemic has just speeded things up.

“As a teacher of niche dance styles, many of my students are overseas and I would only see them once or twice a year at specialist conventions and festivals. The pandemic has allowed me to reach these students on a regular basis and I definitely intend to continue some online classes.

“Teaching online comes with its difficulties, mostly related to poor internet connections, but it also comes with pluses; sometimes in-person classes can be noisy and hard to control, it has definitely been helpful to be able to mute everyone and speak without having to raise my voice.”

To learn more about Doe Demure and her dance lessons or to get involved, visit her website: http://www.doedemure.co.uk/doe-demure.php, her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DoeDemureUK  or email her at doe@skytribe.org.

What women say about Women’s Day

By Olivia Messum

On March 8th, many women in Leicester and around the world shared their thoughts and experiences on what it’s like to be a woman and how this day affects their lives. 

This day allows these women to express themselves completely, address the hardships they’ve faced, and celebrate the triumphs that they have experienced as a woman throughout their lives.

Zeeta Paddier, a Leicestershire resident, said: “International Women’s Day is a time to show progression in the world and how far women have come to be recognised and appreciated as equals.

“It’s important because I have been underestimated a lot of times, purely for being a woman. Especially being a woman of colour, I’ve had to prove myself to be much more capable in the workplace.”

Zeeta isn’t the only one who has faced adversity on account of being a woman.

Ellie Hector, a 21-year-old law student at the University of Winchester, who lives in Leicester, said: “I’ve had to overcome sexual harassment and assault and consistent questioning on my knowledge, so International Women’s Day means a lot to me because it recognises both the struggles and successes of women around the world and it shows just how much they have to go through on a daily basis.

“But this is why I look up to women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s a huge inspiration to me because she did a lot for women in the law and she was one of the first female Supreme Court judges, which really encourages me to persevere with my law degree.”

This day resonates with countless women worldwide because many of them share similar experiences in terms of the battles they face with harassment and omission on a daily basis.

However, Nick Andrews, an accountant in Leicester, offered a male perspective on why International Women’s Day is so significant.

He said: “It’s so important to recognise women for their contributions in any form. Whether that’s at work or in your family, it’s necessary to appreciate women for everything that they do.”

There are so many reasons to celebrate women, and International Women’s Day is the perfect time to do just that. It is such an important event that honours and acknowledges women for their accomplishments and their progression in the world.

Prince’s Trust aims to change lives of young people in Leicester once more

by Ada White

The Prince’s Trust is aiming to begin another of its 12-week self-development programmes in September in Leicester.

The organisation aims to help young people aged between 16-25 develop their life skills as well as confidence and general life skills.

It aims to help young people from all different backgrounds and celebrate their inclusivity. The team attempts to improve the employability of the people in the programme by improving their CV and interview skills as well as team building.

They receive many different referrals from job centres and police and youth centres. The qualification at the end of the 12-week programme is equivalent to a B-Tech level 1 qualification.

Weeks 1 and 2 of the programme are centred around basic team building exercises which allow the participants to connect, as well as perform tasks that will be taken through into their future.

Pre-pandemic, a residential trip allowed the young people to sink into the programme and get to know their peers, however due to current restrictions of Covid this was no longer possible.

Following on from the trip, into weeks 3 and 4 a sponsored walk and cake sale will be held with all proceedings donated to the designated charity. During the following two weeks there is a community project which differs from course to course. It has included the improvement of garden spaces in the city as well as the local church gardens.

Weeks 7 and 8 are generally reserved for work placement with the organisation using its contacts to secure work experience for the participants, usually with the hope that they can find one that is similar to their likes and interests. The Prince’s Trust prides itself on creating a tailor-made environment that suits the needs of each of the young people.

 This is followed by a week of CV building and development of interview skills. During weeks 10 and 11 team challenges are issued and the participants visit elderly homes to hand out food packages and give back to their local community.

The final stage of the process is the presentation week in which the young people talk about their experience with the 12-week programme. They invite their parents, friends and other family members to celebrate the progress that they’ve made as well as doing a speech to summarise.

The programmes have been running for over 10 years and have had a significant amount of positive feedback. The main goals of the programme are very often met with the participants making lifetime friends and developing their confidence and connections with others. They pride themselves on being especially helpful with those with special educational needs and anxiety as well as many other common struggles.

In order to prevent the risk of Covid exposure, when the course resumes, there are going to be a great amount of sanitary measures taken, including the wearing of visors by the organisers and masks by the participants as well as regular cleaning of surfaces.

They are hoping that once Covid restrictions have lessened, and the world goes back to normal they can resume normal procedures.

They usually operate in January, May and September as well as March, June and November. For more information contact the Prince’s Trust at 07793588920.

Leicestershire county cricket club hopeful for successful summer season on and off pitch

By Jayden Whitworth

Leicestershire County Cricket Club is in full flow in preparation for the beginning of the summer cricket season.

With the county cricket season set to kick off in April later this year, the team at Leicestershire are embarking on an intricate plan to ensure the safety of players and staff with COVID-19 restrictions still in place.

Further problems arise with fans safely returning to stadiums in May.

The county’s cricket club has experienced a hefty financial impact along with Leicestershire’s other sports clubs, mostly due to the absence of ticket sales.

Vacant: Empty seats as games continue behind closed doors.

Leicestershire and other clubs across the country, as well as the English Cricket Board, will be hoping that they can reignite the nation’s passion for cricket after the success of the Cricket World Cup in 2019 and get fans through the gates.

This summer could prove to be a busy one for Leicestershire County Cricket Club with Virat Kohli’s India set to play at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Dan Nice, cricket operations manager at Leicestershire, said: “It’s been a tough year for everyone really, but at sports clubs, not being able to get fans in and not having the outdoor events has impacted significantly.

“In essence it has been a case of keeping costs down to a minimum and set prudent budgets for this year and hopefully everything will start to open up again.

“There was never going to be a good time for lockdown to turn up, but in reflection it came at a really bad time for cricket.

“Our team was about to go out on the pre-season tour, around this time last year.

“I can imagine clubs are having a battle with keeping people engaged with cricket as well as promoting cricket to youngsters.”

When discussing the prospect of having fans in the ground when India come to Leicester in July, Dan said: “To have the potential of India here, it just opens so many doors for so many people, obviously the chance for people to see their heroes playing in their backyard is important.

“Naturally it is important for the club to get crowds back in, and the benefits to the financial side, but from a cultural perspective it is such an important game.”

With Leicester having the second highest Indian population in the country, the potential of having India at the Leicestershire County Cricket Ground in late July is understandably creating excitement around the city.

University runs exciting Burlesque at home online class to keep student morale up

By Molly Talbot

Students at De Montfort University had the opportunity to take part in an online Burlesque class, inspired by the university’s “Are you okay?” survey, in addition supporting a local Leicester-based dance studio.

The university sent out a survey to try and get a better understanding of how students were feeling and what they wanted to see more of on the university’s behalf.

As a result, many students asked for additional opportunities that were fun and free. The executive officers for the university put their heads together and came up with a number of social activities, wanting to make them fun and different to attract people’s attention.

The event was held on February 26 and, naturally, occurred online due to the national restrictions that are in place with students joining through their devices in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms all over the country.

Laura Flowers, the Academic Executive for the Students’ Union, said: “I think that by having this class online it makes it more accessible to more people, and more people may be comfortable giving it a go.”

The advert for the class posted by De Montfort’s Students’ Union said that cameras were not obliged to be on, it was an optional choice.

The university would have liked to have held this class in person, the focus wasn’t necessarily how many people turned up or how successful the event was, but it was thought up for people’s enjoyment and that could be achieved both in person and online.

Laura said: “My focus isn’t necessarily on numbers. I want everyone to be able to feel like they are getting involved in their own way.”

The main theme behind this event was student welfare. The Students’ Union felt it was important to keep a good line of connection with students, especially at this time.

Listening to the student suggestions and bringing them into reality creates something for those who have not had a typical university year to enjoy.

Laura added: “As long as we can bring a little bit of enjoyment into people’s lives I’m happy!”