My adventure with Jigsaw - a story by Ellie Martin

15 December 2016

I joined Jigsaw at 14 when I was in Year 9 at school. At the time I was new to contemporary dance and I didn't know what to expect because ballet was always my main priority. I started going to the classes and quickly began to realise that this was a form of expression that I enjoyed more than any I had tried before.

I was the youngest in the class but I always felt safe and accepted. I really do think that working with people of different age ranges with different perspectives helped me mature not only as a dancer but as a person.

I achieved an A at GCSE dance getting almost 100% in every practical exam. This was partly because of Jigsaw and the content and movement possibilities it created for me.

I rejoined Jigsaw at 18 when I had my gap year, the numbers had gotten smaller and it was sad to see that such a brilliant platform was not being used. Especially the art cuts going on at the moment we are so lucky to have a Youth Dance Company in Salisbury and I feel every young dancer should take advantage of this.

In my gap year I had no idea what I wanted to do at university, I hadn't danced in a year - my confidence had gone, I lost my technique and I didn't feel that I would be able to even make it through the audition process for uni. I rejoined Jigsaw to try and get my love for dancing back and it was a brilliant decision, I had the opportunity to perform again and also ease myself back into dancing in a relaxed and friendly environment. I am now at the University of Chichester doing the Contemporary Dance BA and having the time of my life. Without Jigsaw who knows where I would be now.