After several years of training in dance, and assisting and delivering dance to various ages and abilities, Karen Louise Pratt set up her own dance company in 2016.
Karen Louise Dance creates dance in educational, community and professional settings, providing a safe, honest and social environment to explore movement and creativity.
While based in Suffolk, Karen also freelances for other wonderful dance organisations further afield, such as the brilliant Dance Network Association in Essex where she delivers youth classes and Parkinson’s classes.
Determined in her belief that everyone should have the access to great dance, whether that’s watching or taking part, Karen delivers dance to a range of ages and abilities, from her youth company based in Ipswich for ages 13 to 19, to her Older Movers classes in Hadleigh and Stowmarket for ages 55+. Karen also creates project work, and has previously involved dancers from three to 78 years old.
Lockdown was a difficult time for the dance sector. All of Karen’s freelance work had to stop immediately but, as with a lot of dance artists, she transitioned onto Zoom. For regular participants who didn’t have internet access, she created movement postcards which contained exercises to do at home.
“My regulars really appreciated the postcards, which also reminded them that I was thinking about them,” says Karen. “I also provided those who didn’t fancy Zoom with some YouTube videos to do at home.”
Desperate to keep being creative and to keep people connected, Karen created a ‘lockdown project’ titled From Home, a five-week project collated into a dance film for anyone that wanted to join in. She describes it as “a beautiful experience”.
You can watch the final dance file at:
Karen also ran an online Digital Dance Festival for other dance artists and dancers who were missing the studio and wanted to keep up their technique and keep their creative juices going!
While her work in schools is still restricted as external hires are not being allowed, Karen does hope the community venues where she holds her Older Movers classes will be available soon, mindful of the fact that many participants are in higher-risk categories.
“People are really eager to get back to dancing with me, as I am with them, so some are going ahead this term with lots of extra procedures in place to keep everyone safe.”
Karen’s passion for dance and for community dance in particular, must surely explain why her classes are so popular, and why her regulars have been missing her so much.
“I think all community dance is brilliant. If you’re looking for a social, creative and inclusive class, we’d love you to join us at Karen Louise Dance. I love watching participants having a laugh, engaging and growing in confidence. There are the health benefits too, getting fitter whilst dancing to some great music with great company!”
At Older Movers classes there’s even time to socialise, an added benefit for those who might otherwise be quite isolated.
Karen is keen to share some of the feedback she has received. The word ‘engaging’ is used more than once here and it’s clear that her enthusiasm and her caring approach are appreciated by those who work with here.
“A wonderfully encouraging dance artist, who works tirelessly to ensure the best experience for her participants!” Lizzie Hawes, Dancer
“Her classes are fun, engaging, always empathetic to the needs of the participants but still managed to sneak challenges in there for individuals to grow.” Lizzie Croucher, Artist and Teaching Assistant
“Karen is a wonderfully creative and engaging dance artist. Her enthusiasm shines through in everything she does! Karen has been very encouraging and a great support in helping me to kick-start my journey towards becoming a dance artist and for that I am very grateful!” Beth Fisher, Dance Artist and Assistant
“Karen is a brilliant dance artist. Having worked with her in various projects, she provides a professional and caring approach, making sure the participant is getting the most out of the experience!” Phoebe Chung, Dancer and Teacher
Karen is very grateful to the local businesses and charities that continue to support her, such as DanceEast and Stowmarket Rotary Club. She now has risk assessments and new policies for all her classes to ensure they’re COVID safe.
“We have been thorough with our supporting venues to make sure everything is in place ready for us to dance again. My wonderful dance assistant Beth Fisher (check her out on social media under Beth Fisher Dance) and I can’t wait to see our regular dancers and to welcome many more to our classes. They really are a wonderful opportunity to join like-minded people in doing something with so many benefits, for the mind as well as the body. We laugh a lot!”
Find out more about Karen Louise Dance by visiting her Facebook page or YouTube channel and follow her on social media. You may even see a poster or a flyer if a class is taking place nearby.
YouTube; Karen Louise dance