We have decided to get to know some of our local business partners a bit better - today we speak to Fiona Ring & Elena Burslem from MyCharleston...

Please tell us why you started MyCharleston?

MyCharleston began in 2014, the idea was to make a film showcasing Brighton and its dancers. The film was picked up by a tabloid who mentioned it contained nudity and it went viral. We wanted to capture the city of Brighton in all its diversity, one scene was recorded during the naked bike ride and the result was an explosion of people signing up for Charleston classes.


What’s the best thing about your work?

We love the dance and the music but actually it’s the people and the community which make our work so rewarding. We just have such lovely people in our classes, they are always up for a project from films to flash mobs and performances and they are always up for dressing up and doing something new.


What’s your average day like, or is it ever average?

There is no average day at MyCharleston. Some days we might find ourselves dressing up and driving off somewhere random to perform. From glamourous gigs to community centres, we get involved with a full range of projects. Other days we might be working on choreography; this process involves playing the same bit of music over and over again, as you work on each section. It’s great fun but it must drive our neighbours mad! Then there are the days where we get our heads down and work on the business, there are always lots of emails, marketing, meetings and finance so there is never a moment where we are twiddling our thumbs.


What is the biggest challenge or opportunity for you at the moment?

Lockdown highlighted that MyCharleston is unique as we are the only dance company to specialise solely in teaching the Charleston. During the pandemic, we began teaching Charleston online. As a dance which is popular worldwide, we began to grow an international audience and requests started coming in for teachers to train and run their own Charleston classes.

We had already trained teachers locally, so we were excited to take the teacher training programme and work with teachers across the UK, Italy, France, and The Netherlands. Despite the uncertainty over the Christmas period, January has seen the launch of new classes in Devon, Darlington and Nottingham and 3 locations in Europe, as a small dance company that started in Brighton this expansion is incredibly exciting.


Have you got anything new planned for the rest of the year?

Our biggest hope it that the Spiegeltent will be running at Brighton Fringe this year. This venue is the heart of the festival and provides a unique space for people to social dance. We are one of the many dance groups who run an event there and it is so nice that adults get a chance to go out and dance in this beautiful venue. If it does go ahead, it will be an opportunity to revive our performance troupe, The Ragtime Rascals who have had little opportunity to perform since the pandemic. We are optimistic that events will go ahead this summer. I think everyone is keen for the full return of live performances, so that’s a big goal for us.


What do you love most about Brighton?

We love Brighton because it’s so full of character, in fact it’s very like the Charleston; cheeky, quirky and playful. The Laines are so unique, you can browse for hours, stroll past some great buskers or just sit and people watch. It’s fascinating to see all the weird and wonderful ways of being in this city. People aren’t inhibited here, nor are they judgemental, there is a real live and let live vibe here. It’s a city which has a positive energy, it’s hard not to feel happy on a sunny day in Brighton.


Thank you!

Related

MyCharleston Brighton
Workshop
Mycharleston Dance Class

MyCharleston runs fun & friendly adult dance classes in-studio, live and online. We specialize in 20s Charleston, musical theatre and street jazz, our 6 week courses are available in Brighton & Hove, Worthing, Lewes, Eastbourne, Portsmouth & online

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