Shropshire inclusive Dance were invited by the Hive to be part of this exciting and rewarding project. Our outreach team led by Anna Belyavin alongside fantastic musicians from Youth Music facilitated workshops where young carers could compose, record and choreograph a piece – all in a week!
The project began with a series of dance and music workshop tasters to groups of young carers throughout Shropshire. Those young people interested in the project and free to spend a week at the Hive signed up. The young people grew in confidence over the weeks activity. Working with dance and music offered time for the young people which was social, fun, creative and challenging.
The young people, musical and dance facilitators worked hard together as a very special team creating a supportive environment full of creativity.
The young carers say that the most important thing for them is “to be around other people who have a lot in common with us” and “to be able to express myself creatively, without judgement”.
Phase one of the project culminated in a brilliant performance by the young people.
We feel the footage in the film below and the accompanied images speak much louder then words. Sit back and enjoy.
On March 21stand 22nd Contact Dance Company welcomed Mark Storor as our guest artist.
On day one, Mark Storor navigated the dancers through an enjoyable, intense and absorbing creative process of making self portraits. The act of making the portraits created a focussed atmosphere that released a feast of surprising images. We saw ourselves and each other in new ways. We talked about and shared our self portraits. Because the dancers were absorbed in the work and all the ideas and details were their own they were able to talk about their works confidently and in a lot of detail.
Day two was a movement based day. Moving away from creating as individuals and towards devising as a dynamic ensemble. Mark drew inspiration from the dancers creativity, sharing with the group the many stories, images and ideas that came to the fore when he watched us move. Moving, talking , imagining, bringing potential performances to life. Mark encouraged us to use props and texts, such as chairs, blindfolds, strands of cotton and lines of text from Shakespeare. The workshops were an intense experience that will stay with us and we will draw upon.
It was with a real sense of pride and joy that Shropshire Inclusive Dance shared ‘Twofold’ to audiences at the Wolverhampton Arena. The work on show was a culmination of our ‘Two to Tango’ project funded by Creative Black Country. Eloquent and diverse duets by Contact Dance Company were performed alongside performances by groups in Wolverhampton we have worked with including Westcroft School and Mosaic Disability Theatre. The rich experiences and beautiful dancing that were present in our community workshops and company rehearsals all really come to life.
Here is a review from one of our audience members
‘Yesterday I had the joy of watching Contact Dance perform their programme Twofold twice, at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. I can’t begin to communicate the profound beauty of choreographic connection conveyed by this company, thanks to the diverse skill and passion for dance demonstrated by all the artists. There is such a rich landscape of emotion, dynamic, and depth which touches and transports one across the stage and beyond. In this particular programme, through all the pieces weaved the theme of dueting; exploring and expressing the dynamics which come into play when individuals engage and merge with one another on many levels of relationship.
In ‘Unspoken’ Mervyn Bradley and Rachel Liggitt speak directly to the heart in their sensitive exploration of friendship and its ebbs and flows. Each supporting and protecting, while encouraging the other to take risks. Attachment and autonomy are in flow. Always maintained is the security of unconditional trust and tenderness, whether the dancers are connected or divided. This is about the ‘work’ of friendship, the effort, honesty and compromise necessary to nurture and empower a lasting bond with another person. This is also about love. The love that exists when two people understand and appreciate one another on a level that goes beyond words. Two very different dancers, Mervyn and Rachel take us on a poignant journey through the unity and solace to be found in true friend.
My brother Michael Wall and Andrew Kelly bring a powerful, energetic intensity to the stage in ‘While you broke through to other worlds’, thought provoking and open to individual interpretation. Is this a parting or a meeting? A reconciliation or a conflict? Perhaps these two people have discovered a division of ways along a previously shared path. There is certainly an insular atmosphere surrounding two separate entities striving to make opposite journeys; but somehow we know that each dancer has a fundamental need for the other. There remains a certainty that each man is facilitating and inspiring the other in his choices of direction. They resemble machines or rockets preparing for take off and landing, the self-contained movements erupting into sudden initiations of contact; launching, throwing, clasping, pushing. Aptly, Andrew’s and Michael’s voices ‘break through’ the music at the start and the end, reminding us that this is not a mechanical process, but very much a human one.
‘Twosome’ is a glorious, playful celebration of twinning; of the delight and harmony to be found in individual expression of the same ideas and motivations. Delphine Wise glides about the stage with grace and precision, as she manouvres the brakes and intricacies of her wheelchair, integral to the spirit of the choreography. Anna Belyavin executes identical movements by foot, running and spinning alongside. There is a sisterly affection, a vibrant closeness between the dancers allowing each to predict and be energised by the other’s interpretation of the choreography, reciprocating the gestures and movements extended and retracted. There are moments when each woman embarks on her own movement motif simultaneously, reminding us that identical motivations have potential for diverse consequences.
In the poetic ‘Father Daughter’, Chloe Shepherd and Ray Jacobs (who was standing in last night for Chloe’s real-life father and usual dance partner), tell the story of family love in a secluded rural cottage. Following a rustic morris dance, Chloe’s birth and childhood is represented by the celebration of an invisible baby; shown to the audience by her father, glowing with pride and wonder. Then Chloe, now a beautiful young woman, emerges from the shadows for real, and the two begin to waltz tenderly, spinning and stepping in time, absorbed by their joy in one another. We witness the hard work of winter life at the cottage, the chopping of wood and the fuelling of fires. Throughout the narrative, Chloe’s journey to maturity is conveyed by hints of gentle conflict between father and daughter; her desire for independence confronting his awareness that parental protectiveness must now be accompanied by detachment and an encouragement of freedom. He retreats into the shadows and we are left with Chloe in a spotlight, standing alone, venturing forth as her own self-reliant woman.
Contact Dance elevate me to a place of pure joy; reaffirming my faith in dance as an expression of the soul as much as the body. This company is a gift to the world of theatre and community. It was also a privilege to watch the students of Westcroft School in their piece ‘Connections’, and Mozaic Disability Theatre performing ‘Will You Dance With Me’.
‘Opening The Treasure Chest’ is a creative project for people with learning disabilities who are living with loss and bereavement. The first workshop was held on Thursday 21st March at The Hive in Shrewsbury. The workshop felt very positive and wove between, movement and dance tasks and times for talking and sharing. It felt like the whole group was on a journey together and supported and nurtured each other throughout. For more infomation about this project contact Ray Jacobs 07817194644