Powys Dance

The Stars at Night, are Big and Bright...


...deep in the heart of Wales! Since we were awarded a Wales Commission for People Dancing, the International Event, for Foundation for Community Dance, we've been waiting for this - our visit to Elan Valley and a chance to see the dark skies of Powys for ourselves! Tomorrow, three members of Senior Moment(um), five PYDC-ers, a choreographer/director, composer, a film maker and two of the Powys Dance team all converge at Elan Valley Lodge for a weekend of making dances and soundtracks, telling stories, filming (both stars and people). And we can't wait!

What is Under Dark Skies?

jo and filipe introsUDS is an ambitious community dance project: Joanna Young, a Cardiff-based dance artist with extensive experience of working with communities across Wales and producing her own professional work, will work with participants from Dawns Powys Dance. Joanna will collaborate with Portugese composer Filipe Sousa and British film maker Simon Clode. The creative team will be working to create a movement installation using the Dark Sky Zone and Dark Sky Reserve status given to areas of Powys as their stimulus. The status awards recognise the low light pollution in the area making for excellent visibility of star constellations.

Joanna will work with a cast combined of young people from Powys Youth Dance Company and older people from Senior Moment(um). Working directly with the three collaborators, the participants’ stories will be reflected through the installation with film, sound and their own live performance.

Through this collaborative researching and devising process, Joanna is looking to develop her own practice and the participant creative process beyond the typical choreographic and performance experience they have each been through before. The work will be presented two or three times at People Dancing to allow a larger number of delegates to experience it, and the ‘dress rehearsal’ of the work will be opened to a audience of participant family and friends / public in Llandrindod Wells in advance.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

'Youth Dance, Spectrum!?...Huh....whats that?

Ok, so if your anything like me, you hear the word 'spectrum' and immediately I'm singing, (badly in my case!) Florence + the Machine, dancing around the office like a complete goon demonstrating moves my dad would showcase at a wedding party. Its wild the effect music can have on us, there's certain tunes, love or hate, that can spark something inside us like; emotion, debate or sometimes a physical response. In this scenario our physical response is to dance! So you see a poster, for a dance workshop, over the Summer Holidays, what do you do? Ignore it? Now we all know just how amazing the Summer holidays can be, chilling out with friends, going into town, no school, the freedom you get feels amazing, major lie ins, late night film watching, however lets not forget those days you spend, perhaps when the weather isn't to great or when your mate is away on holiday and your trawling facebook, updating your status for the 5th time that day. Sometimes when you've got to much time on your hands, you just don't know what to do with it. So would you want to come and dance instead......hmmmm?? So lets break it down...

What goes on at a dance workshop? Well without stating the obvious, dancing. OK, so maybe I did state the obvious, but really the word dance can be so intangible and mean so many things to different people, I mean what was your first thought when dance was mentioned, ballet? Leg warmers and sweat bands? Diversity? We all have stereotypes and first impressions affect how we see things, and would perhaps make us not want to do something, when really we probably would've enjoyed it, I wonder if thats the case here, fear of the unknown? I'm not being funny but in a studio full of mirrors think about all the selfie potential! #studioselfie .....see i'm already obsessed....

winter selfie....

new hat selfie....

sore throat so loads of scarves selfie.....

Less talking/ typing then, more dancing!! Let me show you a sneak peek of what you can expect if you did, see a poster for a dance workshop and decided to be brave and do it!

[wpvideo YHP1H3c8]

So you've seen the type of thing you can expect, good music and moves in an amazing studio, and I promise it will be a lot of fun dancing, laughing and having a good time. Learning some great choreography and developing your dance skills! Youth Dance: Spectrum is for over 11's and will run on the 5th and 6th of August from 11am til 4pm on both days! Spectrum will be led by Iain Payne and myself, Jemma Louise, we so look forward to dancing with you! Don't miss out guys, its gonna be good!!




Dance in Health Care Training Day - An Apprentice's Perspective

Fresh off the plane from a summer travelling around Europe and South East Asia and straight into action in Llandrindod Wells. I’m Kayleigh, recent Roehampton University Dance Studies graduate and your new Powys Dance apprentice practitioner. Day 2 of the job and the Powys dance team were out to attend a Dance in Health Care Training Day. Being quite the blogging enthusiast I thought I would get underway with my first post, and my experience down at the Ffwrnes in Llanelli seemed like the perfect opportunity. Delivered by Arts Care Gofal Celf, Carmarthen and Rubicon Dance, todays training day witnessed a fruitful turnout. Bringing together not only a great range of community dance providers across Wales but also several students and professionals across different art disciplines, as well as individuals from the health sector.  Professions aside, we were each present for the same shared reason; to find out where dance in mental health in Wales is situated today and the actions or possibilities that we, as providers, could contribute to the on-going crisis for care. 

With introductory talks by Dr Rowena Matthew, Chris Ryan and Lucinda Jarrett, the morning gave us a contextualisation for dance in health and the current approaches being taken. Jarrett provided an insightful outlook outlining how now more than ever providers are having to justify the deeper benefits of dance, other than the fitness related advantages. Furthermore, the importance of knowing how to articulate these benefits is becoming central to how we draw up our concluded results.

After lunch it was time for our first workshop choice of the day. With a topic very close to my heart, having witnessed the long-term effects, I chose to attend the Dance in Stroke rehabilitation workshop. The session was led by Chris Thompson, director of creative teaching and learning at The Place. Thompson led us through a series of exercises that he would undergo with patients who would have suffered from a stroke attack.  Both stimulating and enjoyable, the tasks combined a mixture of both imagery and touch related exercises. As much as they are aimed toward improving mobility which is often a key factor affected due to a stroke, the primary focus of these particular exercises are to encourage artistic expression not to focus on the negative aspects of the stroke itself.

Workshop number 2 provided a shift in energy as Kirstie Richardson introduced us to dance in adolescent mental health care. Richardson introduced us to certain methods used to encourage creativity when working with a younger age range.  Confidence, self-esteem, emotions and acceptance were just some of the issues discussed that are inherent in teenagers and how we can encourage a healthy balance to boost self-expression and well-being throughout these sessions.

Other workshops taking place that day included Dance in Dementia care by Nicola Jacobson and Dance in End of Life Care taken by Lucinda Jarret. Each of these sessions also received positive response from the rest of the Powys Dance team. 

Summing up, the day proved to be both an insightful and inspiring outlook into dance in mental health. Being a recent graduate having just left an academic setting after 3 years of study, the day was highly refreshing to see the benefits of dance in a completely new context. I’m sure everyone who attended, no matter how much previous experience had under their belts, took away some valuable information that we could all incorporate into our own practise.