Spotlight on Raw Energy Dance Education (REDed) Founder, Dale Pope

Spotlight on Raw Energy Dance Education (REDed) Founder, Dale Pope
26/06/2023 ASPA Group

Spotlight on Raw Energy Dance Education (REDed) Founder, Dale Pope

Earlier this year, Raw Energy Dance Education (REDed) officially joined the Australian School of Performing Arts family.

The relationship with REDed Founder, Dale Pope, started long before this though, with Dale having had ties with ASPA since 1999 as the first NSW Choreographer for the AGC.

What started out as a wonderment from Dale about what the future might hold for her 23 year old company is now an exciting new relationship with ASPA. We can’t wait to help reach and inspire more young people through REDed’s dynamic dance programs and offerings. But first, get to know Dale Pope and how she took her childhood dream and turned into a successful business.

An 8 year old with a big dream…

Surprisingly, Dale Pope’s relationship with dance was not love at first sight. At age four she started creative dance classes – a non-traditional approach to dancing where students move in response to what they hear and feel in the music. While Dale credits this teacher and way of dancing to the style she has since developed, Dale also recalls crying for the first six months of these classes and not wanting to go! Fast forward four years and Dale began dancing in a more traditional setting to substitute the lack of physical education at her primary school. Unlike her first experience with creative dance, Dale found herself enjoying these jazz ballet classes and her inspirational dance teacher instantly. It was also at this moment that Dale came to the early realisation that this is what she wanted to do when she grew up.

Building Raw Energy Dance Education (REDed)

While the goal was to always be a dance educator, Dale spent much of her early career performing overseas and coaching on the international aerobics circuit. During this time, Dale was still finding herself asking “How can I run a workshop?” and “Where can I teach some kids?”. On a career high after filming ‘Mao’s Last Dancer’, Dale waved goodbye to her performance work to solely focus on building REDed or “RED” as it first started out.

“I’d been running REDed for about three years before I finally gave it the name RED. I loved the colour, it gave a lovely acronym for Raw Energy Dance, and it also didn’t say dance because I didn’t want to come across as a dance studio….kids understand red for energy.”

Dale’s first school dance contract eventuated from a chance year-long replacement role at a Sydney boys school. Using her background knowledge in aerobics, Dale developed routines for the boys that were “repeatable, memorable and work(ed) with the music”. Her goal was to make dance an enjoyable experience, even for the boy hiding in the back row! The program was deemed a success by the school Sports Master, and very quickly Dale’s work was in demand, purely through word of mouth from teachers and the lack of interest from some PE staff to teach dance in schools.

The relationship with ASPA

Concurrently with the birth of REDed, Dale was appointed as the first Sydney Choreographer at the AGC. From the beginning, Dale was in her element finding ways to make dance achievable for many choristers who had minimal dance training, and “making sure that each chorister felt seen and valued in formations.” With this inclusive approach to dance and connection to AGC, REDed seamlessly spread its wings into ASPA Education and Girls from Oz, planting the seeds of the REDed and ASPA relationship.

“I have an alignment with Judith in the sense of creating something that is far bigger than you that will outlive you. That’s what I hope for REDed… I needed to start it so that it could spread for itself.”

ASPA and REDed join forces

“My main focus since 2015 is growth opportunity and where can my team have more work, where we can connect into more schools, parents and communities. Where REDed can be more benefit.”

REDed has come a long way since its first dance contract at the Sydney boys school, expanding its offerings to include school holiday programs with P&O Cruise Ships (‘REDed Ahoy’); an extensive library of digital resources for remote learning; and extracurricular dance programs “giving more kids the opportunity to dance at a price point that is really achievable”. Dale acknowledges that the business was working fine as it was, however her growth mindset and desire to share space with highly elevated, creative people” influenced the decision to bring her work into a far bigger realm of possibilities with ASPA.

While still in its early stages, already the REDed and ASPA relationship is going from strength-to-strength as both companies develop and strategise how to create more positive impact on the lives of young people through REDed.

“I’m absolutely loving talking with like-minded senior staff who have similar experiences or have wisdom to share. I have not had that access before to talk out opportunities and challenges, so that is amazing to evolve that higher level thinking and discussions.”

On what she hopes to achieve with ASPA, Dale says from a personal level, she is “excited to develop the business strategy of (her) skill set.” For REDed, Dale looks forward to discovering

“How can we reach further, inspire more, and empower more.”