Freestyling dances

Dancer: Shazia

Dance Location: Killinghall Primary School, Bradford

This is a dance that... made me feel free

I would have been about 10 at the time, getting ready for a school talent showcase in my PE kit. I'd have been in the music room. I was allowed in there on my own to practice with teachers just checking in now and again.

The room itself was quite a small space. I can remember the projector and lots of colourful displays and there was a piano, two pianos actually, and a guitar, because it was a music room rather than being a space for dance. If you moved the tables away there was enough room for one person, a 10 year old, to move around. And it was cold, I had to move about to get warm.

I remember this dance in particular because it's when I realised that I use dance as self-expression in a different way from my peers. They never understood when I was pratting about and doing my thing. I always felt like I was weird because no-one else in my class did it!

I learnt the dance completely through free-styling. I grew up watching a lot of Hindi, Indian and Pakistani films and didn't realise there was a whole crew and choreography team creating what I saw, I thought these actors just got up and started dancing. So I just used to copy what I saw.

It's a slow dance, set to a ballad sung in Hindi. I'd have loved to sing along but I'm no singer! In this dance, a lot comes through the hands and the hips, but what I like doing most is freestyling, just moving with the music and seeing how it feels.

When I'm dancing I feel liberated, empowered. Coming to the park today is important to me. The feeling of dancing, whether it's on a stage or at home, in the park or in the gym and you're doing a zumba class or whatever it might be, it feels like the outside: open and a breath of fresh air.

If I listen to that song again, I go back to being that 10 year old who was messing around with the song, just wanting to dance and be free.