Leyl el Raqassa Solo Performance Project

Raqassa Show

Over the summers of 2012 and 2014, Claire has run her unique Summer Performance Project. The project comprises a carefully crafted programme of workshops, group choreographies and private lessons designed to help dancers of all level of experience to improve, or embark upon their very first, solo performance. The course culminates in a small, intimate theatre show, “Leyl el Raqassa”, where the participants demonstrated all their new found skills. These shows have been some of the proudest moments in Claire’s life, and Claire looks forward to taking more dancers on this amazing journey.

Leyl el Raqassa will hopefully return to Newcastle for one final time in Summer 2018. Come back soon for further details. If you would like Claire to bring the course to your area, please get in touch to discuss this.

You can read about the 2012 course, including feedback from the participants, below.

The Course

The solo performance project comprised two main parts; two weekends packed with group workshops, choreographies and rehearsals, and a series of private one-to-one lessons ensuring that all of the dancers had help tailored exactly to their own needs and aspirations for the project.

“[Claire’s] warm and supportive teaching style, together with her contagious enthusiasm, encouraged us to explore and develop our individual style (sometimes in directions we had not expected!)” – Hazel Gray, Participant

The weekends provided a relaxed and informal environment for sharing experiences and building a support network between the dancers, which was vital to the successful conclusion of the project. During the group sessions, we explored the general tools needed to make a fabulous solo performance, including understanding music, choreographical skills and how to beat stage fright. We also worked on some fun group choreographies to help put into practice the choreographical skills learnt, and to help develop the group dynamics which helped make the show go with a bang!

Raqassa Show

“The course was exceptional with a great deal of time, energy and passion put into the planning and delivery” – Emma Hamilton, Participant

Each student had a minimum of 3 private lessons as part of the project, with more if they felt they needed them. These were tailored to the individual dancers’ needs. With soloist virgins to professionals and Improver to Advanced level dancers on the course, the private lessons meant that the course could truly address their own aims and aspirations. For some people we concentrated on posture or technique, and for others on performance skills, choreography, musicality or a combination of all of these!

“I will need to visit you in future for more private lessons – I’d happily drive the 280 miles for a lesson” – Emma Hamilton, Participant

Quality of Teaching rated 9.8*
Level of Own Improvement rated 9.8*

“The course has completely changed the way I approach listening to, and dancing to, music” – Deborah MacFadyen, Participant


The Show

Our end of project show provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the solos and group choreographies that the dancers had works so hard on all summer. It was held in a small, atmospheric venue, giving the show a lovely intimate feel and a relaxed and interactive evening! With professional lighting tailored to the dancers’ performances to add atmosphere, the show was something to behold. Without a doubt, every single dancer outdid themselves, raising their performances to a new level.

“Wow! What a show! Had a fantastic time at Leyl el Raqassa …and a MASSIVE thank you to you, Claire – you’re such an inspiration!” – Anon Participant.

By working together over the project, the camaraderie between the show participants helped develop a magical atmosphere, whilst supporting each other through those inevitable moments of stage fright that approach before going on stage.

Experience of Taking Part in Show rated 9.3*

“[Claire] really did get something out of you girls I had never seen before: your stage presences were incredible!” – Christine Chailloux, Audience Member

“Have had a fabulous night. Everyone was wonderful and the venue perfect. A lot of emotion and a lot of hard work. Thank you everyone and well done” – Katherine Proud, Audience Member


“Looking back at my aims at the beginning of this project you helped me achieve them all ... and more! I listen to music differently now, and feel more confident in understanding and expressing it - and myself” – Hazel Gray, Participant

“I can’t rate this highly enough – a life (and dance!) affirming experience!” – Clare Stobbs, Participant

“I have gained so much from this course, not least a greater confidence, relaxation and enjoyment when dancing” – Anon Participant

“My personal development of my own dancing was incredible – I have learnt so much!” – Kim Young, Participant

“You helped me realise it was okay to get out there and smile and dance because I love it” – Deborah MacFadyen, Participant

“I would definitely recommend the course no matter how long (or short) you’ve been dancing – there is always something new you can teach!” – Anon Participant

You can see more photographs and video footage of the show in the gallery. To find out how to get a copy of the show DVD, get in touch


*Quotes obtained from participant feedback and audience comments. Ratings are average rating out of 10 given by participants in end of course feedback forms. Ratings were scaled between 1, representing very poor, to 10, representing excellent.

Raqassa Show