powys dance

Curious, confident and creative!

We are so excited to be back working with Sennybridge Primary School on a new project enabling learners to explore the questions they have about the world around them through dance, drama and poetry. Each week every class spends time with our three artists actively thinking about the questions they created the week before.

The aim of the project is for learners to be more curious, to be confident in their own knowledge and for them to have the skills and tools they need to find answers to the questions they have. We believe that we are all (children, artists & teachers) learners, artists and scientists therefore we aim for the adults involved to have time to explore their own creativity, share practice and be inspired by the children’s curiosity and explorations.

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So how does this actually work? In week one the question was ‘Why do leaves fall?’ This led to discussions about the seasons, life cycles and habitats. To give an insight into the project, here’s an example of a warm up activity that the artists facilitated. All the children stand in a circle and there’s a small box with lots of photos of leaves, trees and blossom. A learner puts in their hand and chooses one at random. They respond to the photo with a movement and everyone copies. Several do this and then all the movements are linked together. Another example, is in small groups children are given a season each, they produce a mind map of everything they can think of related to that season. They bring those words and phrases together into sentences and produce their first instant poems.

During the feedback of each exercise, the artists are able to bring together the learning and further this by asking more questions. Children answer with both facts and imaginings. All are validated however we do introduce the vocabulary of facts, beliefs and opinions which is an important part of the KS2 science curriculum.


We’ll sign off with some of the interesting questions the children have suggested for next week’s explorations!

We are looking to appoint an artist to support the children to create an installation that will communicate the questions collected over the course of the project. The work will be displayed at Theatr Brycheiniog on 5th & 6th April then travel to Imperial College London for display at the end of June.

This project has been made possible with funding from Arts Council Wales!

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New Year, New Term!

So it’s time to dig out our jazz shoes and boogie on into another exciting term of Powys Dance Classes.

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This blog is quite simply a one stop shop for all the information you’ll need to join us at one of our classes, the PERFECT link to share with your friends and family members to get them dancing too!


START DATES

For anyone out there wondering when their class is back…..

TIMETABLE

A complete timetable of all our sessions, including price…….

POSTER OVERLOAD

All our posters, for all our classes……

DANCE CENTRE CLASSES

All sessions you’ll find at our Dance Centre in Llandrindod……..


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A Very Merry Christmas To You

Powys Dance would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We've had a wonderful year filled to the absolute brim with all things dance! There's been performances, workshops, CPD opportunities, classes, taster workshops, mentoring and a tour!


We would like to thank you all for being part of it, whether you're a participant, audience, parent/ carer, partner, funder, contributor, collaborator, liker, sharer, mover or shaker, it's you that makes everything worthwhile! 

We're looking forward to 2019 where Powys Dance will celebrate it's 40th birthday, we're planning some birthday events throughout the year as well as more opportunities to get people dancing in whatever way they want to!

All Powys Dance classes will start back between 7th January and 22nd January, please check our classes listing for when your class is back in the New Year!

This blog has also gone out as a newsletter to our subscribers, if you would like to receive the Powys dance newsletter and information about dance opportunities in Powys then please sign up and join the family!



TUESDAY!

Tuesdays are busy busy at PD we’re here there and everywhere, from Llanfair Caereinion to Welshpool to Llandrindod to Talgarth!



The Boys are BACK in town!

After a a super sunny Summer break the boys of Llanfair Caereinion are back dancing and have got off to a flying start and they are now actively looking to recruit some new members to join their weekly dance group at the leisure centre in Llanfair with Dance teacher, Beth.

The group meet every Tuesday during term time at 4.15 - 5pm and during their class they are able to explore all kinds of movement, from Street to Break, to learning clever dance tricks to refining their own dance technique. The session is fun and relaxed and let’s boys explore dance and movement in their own group, they also get a huge say in what they want to do, they suggest the songs and styles and Beth makes it happen!

If you’re North Powys based and think you may have a budding dancer on your hands but they’re a little resistant to join a dance group then this may be the session for them. Boys are welcome to join/ drop in at any point during the term and we totally encourage anyone who’s interested to get in touch, you can always watch the first session to see what it’s all about!

If you would like to talk to someone prior to attending the session then please contact louise@dawnspowysdance.org or call 01597 824370

It's a Poster Roller Coaster!

New Term begins tomorrow 10th September and we are strapped in and ready to go, NOTHING excites us more than prepping our dance kit and getting ready to meet new faces and excitedly seeing familiar ones!

Sometimes the thought of updating and creating new posters is rather daunting but when you've got a fresh batch of Summer workshop images to choose from it's an absolute blast and to see them all together is colourful treat for the eyes.

So, these are ALL of our current community classes for Autumn Term 2018.

Please note: ALL of Carolyn's Powys Dance sessions start back w/b 17th September, so that's Senior Moment(um) Llandrindod, Senior Moment(um) Bronllys and Adult Tap in Llandrindod!

Now, there are dance in education sessions happening throughout the week in Powys too, we LOVE working in schools, AND some exciting session developments happening in other locations (woo hoo!).....AND some half term activity being planned after our successful Summer activity.......ooh AND our regular sessions at the Dance Centre led by external hirers, so lot's to get stuck in to and lot's to look forward too!

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POWYS DANCE

01597 824370 hello@dawnspowysdance.org

 

 

Big Fish Little Fish finds a permanent home in Machynlleth!

We can't wait to get dancing with Machynlleth under 4's this term as Big Fish Little Fish take on a weekly slot at Y Plas in Machynlleth. Along with our already popular under 4's dance classes in Llandrindod and Talgarth, our Mach session will start next week and we cannot wait!

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The lovely Clara will be dancing with you all every Tuesday 1.30 - 2.30pm at Y Plas in Machynlleth and looks forward to running a regular session, filled with fun, play, games, dance, music and of course some parachute play. Encouraging creativity, movement development and letting little ones find a safe place to be curious about the world through dance with their accompanying big person!

You can turn up and drop in when you can or alternatively you can pay for the term online!

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Taking the stage outside!

Theatre Practitioner and freelance producer Lauren Hussein has worked with Powys Dance since 2016, successfully taking Flying Atoms into Powys schools and enabling it to take flight into the world of professional touring - see Flying Atoms in theatres across Wales this Autumn!

Last weekend she attended the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival of Outdoor Arts with a bursary from Articulture, in her own words read how this trip has inspired her thinking and ideas about outdoor performance.


Taking the Art Outdoors, Lauren Hussein

My parents took me to Covent Gardens regularly as a child to see the street performers. Growing up in London, seeing performance and art in public places was fairly normal. However, this weekend I was watching not only as a spectator but as a maker too. Being able to see the amount and variety of outdoor arts on offer at Greenwich & Docklands International Festival with making in mind was overwhelming and made the performances all the more impressive. Thanks to Articulture for making this trip possible. 

An example of the many performances throughout the festival

An example of the many performances throughout the festival

I want to highlight five key characteristics of outdoor arts that became clear to me this weekend, and that I’ll be taking forward in my producing role with Powys Dance.

 

RoboPole presented by UliK Robotik was an example of precision and simplicity. A 10-minute performance displaying outstanding skill, making the audience gasp and turn to each other with raised eyebrows. The performer and robotic arm were perfectly in sync, and if I’m correct that it was all pre-programmed, the performer’s precision in standing at exactly the correct point over and again to interact with the machinery was so interesting to watch. Although the development must have been detailed and the subtext could be discussed for hours, the piece itself was simple and concise.

 

An obvious trait but one that becomes all the more significant when you set out to make is that there is no backstage, there’s no hiding, everything is laid bare. Many companies make this a focus of their work. I loved to see this embraced by Helen Eastman Production’s Bicycle Boy, and Dip by Max Calaf Seve. In Bicycle Boy, we saw the wires and audience members provided the pedal power; seeing the way things work was at the heart of the show. The Dip soundtrack was made in collaboration with the audience. Words, crisp crunching and bottle popping looped as a backdrop to breathtaking trampolining.

 

The skill in looking like you don’t know what you’re doing is immense. I was lucky enough to get some overalls and make my way into the big white tent for Plock! presented by Grensgeval. To start, I really was tricked into believing I was going to watch someone simply paint for 55 minutes. It wasn’t until I became aware of the most beautiful and subtle soundtrack, I realised that every movement, moment of eye contact and mark made on the paper was perfectly choreographed. When watching Doble Mandoble’s La Belle Escabelle, it wasn’t the final balancing on top of a step ladder by your neck spectacle that was most impressive to me (although that was pretty jaw dropping!). It was the timing and skill required to make their intricate bottle and glass choreography look chaotic and wild.

 

Connection between the performance and audience is what many artists aim towards. However, this weekend, I realised again how this is dependent on the spectator’s subjectivity not only the quality of the work. Teatro So’s Sorriso’s was indisputably beautiful and faultless but I failed to connect emotionally (despite trying!). I saw in the characters’ interactions one last dance with life and when the male figure took the largest balloon I imagined it floating to the heavens. But he popped it and I realised that what I saw was not what was intended and my connection with the piece was lost. Conversely, a scratch performance by Flintlock Theatre at the HUB called Last Words wasn’t based on a subject I felt instantly connected with. However, the skill of the single performer in storytelling and including the audience, particularly through her eye contact made the work touching and compelling.

 

Lastly, seeing 14 shows across the weekend was a wonderful opportunity to really think about.........

 

why outside?

 

This is probably best exemplified in the piece that I found myself thinking about for most of the long journey back to Wales. Rodadoras presented by Becky Namgauds could have been performed inside in terms of scale and production. Three dancers performing powerful and primal choreography in soil didn’t have to be under a tree in the corner of the gardens. So why should it be? Firstly, being situated outside added to the artistic vision. The organic movement coming from the earth amongst nature and against the backdrop of the sky heightened the performance, making it so much more interesting that had it been performed in a pristine black box with professional lighting and surround sound. Secondly and most importantly for me, there were people who saw that work that would not have seen it had it been performed at Sadlers Wells. The deliveroo cyclists that stopped to watch at the fence, the toddler who paused puzzled at the women kicking the soil and the little girl in the front row ‘face timing’ her dad to show him what he was missing. None of this would have been possible in a venue and that’s what its all about.

Lauren Hussein

See Lauren's original blog here

Big Fish Little Fish comes to Machynlleth

It's no secret that Powys Dance has been actively looking for practitioners in North Powys to enable us to offer more sessions to more people and we are delighted to be working with Clara in Machynlleth to deliver some Big Fish Little Fish sessions, hwre!

Our sessions for 8 months - 4 years old and their parent/ carer offer your little one an insight into the diverse world of dance, giving them a free space to explore movement, rhythm, song and play. These sessions have also been known to support parents/ grandparents/ carers, giving them the confidence to be creative movers at home.

So if you are near the Machynlleth area join Clara for 2 dates this term and see what Big Fish Little Fish is all about!

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Production Assistant opportunity with Powys Dance!

Since 2016, Flying Atoms (aerial dance and science production) has toured to 24 schools, venues and festivals to an audience of 3,000 children and their families. This Autumn, the professors are heading back out on tour to six venues in Wales.

Flying Atoms performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

Flying Atoms performing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017

We are looking for a new member of the team to act as production assistant on the road. It’s an exciting and varied role so we’ll be recruiting someone with the right skills who could need additional training to take up the opportunity.

For a text version of the Job specification visit the Arts Council of Wales website here

Closing date: 11th June 2018

Contact: Production Manager Lauren Hussein at education@dawnspowysdance.org // 07791 368 357

Out with the 'old', in with the new way of thinking about dance for the over 50's

Powys Dance recently played host to delegates from across Wales for a CPD day organised by The Wales Wide Training Programme and Network - which is a consortium of community dance organisations in Wales that programme training for the dance practitioners we work with.

The day focussed on dance for the over 50's and how we can challenge, create and inspire with older participants.

One of our lovely freelance dance leaders Helen, or 'Helly' as some of you may know her, attended the day and has given her humorous and thought provoking insight on it, written with jollity and passion we couldn't help but share!

Photo by Paul Whittaker of Hide Productions on behalf of WWTP

Photo by Paul Whittaker of Hide Productions on behalf of WWTP

I was so delighted to be offered a free place for this day and pleased that I took up that offer. As a freelance practitioner the cost of a course can often be a disincentive – the cost has to be weighed against the earning potential along with the benefits to my practice.

This is also a subject close to my heart as I am becoming (okay already am) one of a growing number of older people. My own work has also gravitated towards the “older” organically – as I connect with and can relate to a certain age and time of life. My birth certificate informs me I am nearly 56 but on the inside I feel young but with a lot of hindsight and life experience. My hips and knees tend to disagree.

Living and working within a rural area means it’s easy to become isolated and insular so days like these are really important to connect with other practitioners, to give and receive support and inspiration. To be reminded that we are not alone.

The topic of dance for older for people covers a wide area and the presentations covered this both geographically across Wales and through their contents. We were taken on a journey that took us to an over 50s dance group, to work with the elderly and those with various stages of dementia, from those in care homes, to those in the community, to a lady of grace and eloquence of 104 years.

The stand out presentation for me was that of the cARTfreu Project.
Emma Robinson first gave us the background of the work that continues to evolve and looks across the whole area of support for staff within the homes and very importantly support for the artists as their work can have an adverse affect on their emotional wellbeing. Emma also spoke of the practical approach that the artists use to build connections between themselves and the participants and also between different homes.
Emma also spoke that their approach was not necessarily that of reminiscing but looking into the now, of being in the moment and the future. A pertinent reminder that as we age we are not just beings with a past but we are dealing with the current moment and may still have wishes and hopes for the future.

This was followed by a practical seated session led by the awesome Emma Thomas. Prior to the session she confided that she had been nervous of leading a group of her esteemed peers – they can be the hardest crowd to play to – but in this instance no worries. Emma led an interesting and inspirational session that I will definitely be able to use as a launch pad within my own sessions. From the music to the content to her engaging warm personality that shone through – she had us all in the palm of her hands!

The day began with Jemma giving us a presentation on the work of Dawns Powys Dance with older people. Some of this work was carried out prior to Jemma working with DPD – for me it was a trip down memory lane!
Following this we were taken on a trip around the country with presentations from Alyson Pugh and Lizzie Davies covering their Falls Prevention Programme within the community. We know that falls are killers – not necessarily immediately but the long term impacts. Alyson spoke of the practicalities of setting up the groups they work with – how to reach out in particular to the lonely and isolated. The logistics of dealing with large numbers and paying attention to gender impartiality within a group so as not to put off any gentlemen that attends. Although factual and practical it was delivered with warm anecdotal illustrations that brought home the importance of such work. Lizzie then spoke of the special training she and her colleagues have undertaken so that attendees are having real physical issues addressed and not just the enjoyment and emotional benefits.


Paul Whittaker presented his film of the work of Bethan Ryland that is part of her studies and research into her work into the benefits of dance within care homes. We were not the target audience of this film as Bethan went through the process of evidencing the benefits of her work through interviews with staff, relatives, and participants. This led to a discussion with Paul on filmmaking and how in collaboration you need to have a clear perception of what you are trying to achieve so the end product reflects your intentions.

The final presentation prior to lunch was from Dawns i Bawb which also included a taste of their interactive performance – currently work in progress. Catherine gave us the context and background along with funding struggles, collating evidence of the benefits. Catherine had a refreshing honesty in her appraisal of previous incarnations of the project – both positive and negative and how they’d realised that when they took themselves too seriously and became too abstract they lost connection with participants – after all if you’re not enjoying it you won’t want to go back for more.

A delicious (and healthy) lunch was accompanied by a delightful beautiful film of Eva’s starring a lady of 104 years – poignant and emotional, reminding us that at whatever age we are sentient beings.

Post lunch we were revived by the double Emma’s and rounded off the day with a practical session with Senior Momentum. A group of over 50s that meet regularly at the Dance Centre led by Carolyn Keown who put us through our paces while bringing out the Jets and Sharks in us!!

So overall what will I take away from this day?
The struggle for funding continues, with organisations continually looking for ways to evidence their work and validate their existence.
The great work being carried out across Wales, by inspirational and devoted people.

The day focused more on the more elderly and those in homes, those with dementia and the vulnerable. The new over 50s have very different needs. We are products of the feminist movement, sexual liberation, juggling careers, children and grandchildren. For those of my age we must never underestimate the mental and physical benefits of a good wiggle and a laugh. If it means we’re dancing, feeling good about ourselves and working those muscles that we will require for those hip and knee replacements – that’s got to be a good thing. I’d rather be wiggling than dusting!!

This day just reinforces how important the WWTP days are – a mutual forum for problem sharing and solving, building a picture, learning, connecting, and reinforcing good practice, inspiration and support.

Thank you Tracey, Rubicon and WWTP!

Photos by Paul Whittaker of Hide Productions on behalf of WWTP

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Cascade Dance Theatre

We are really excited to be hosting Cascade Dance Theatre at the Dance Centre this November for a week of R+D

The company will be here to research their new show for Autumn 2018, a show delving into the world of Mary Shelley and most notably her work, Frankenstein.

While they are in residence with us they are offering opportunities for the local community to get involved, offering both an open class throughout the week to local practitioners/ dancers and a chance for youth dancers to get a taste of how the company works in a one off workshop on 7th November 5.45 - 6.45pm. All at the Dance Centre, Llandrindod LD1 5HE

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For more information please contact louise@dawnspowysdance.org 

 

 

 

Dancing past the big 5-Oh!

Did anyone else see this research last week? It takes a look at movement and physical activity for the over 50's as a way of keeping not just our bodies healthy and happy but for overall general health and well- being.

Senior Moment(um) our over 50's dance class in Llandrindod Wells.

Senior Moment(um) our over 50's dance class in Llandrindod Wells.

We've all seen it before, we know that different types of physical activity can help keep us healthy well into our older years but what really talks to us in this article is how the different aspects of physical activity can improve different areas of health. 

This is an area of our work we are extremely passionate about shouting from the rooftops, that dance is so much more than just a physical experience - don't get us wrong it is an exciting physical experience, but the other benefits are endless!

Just some benefits of dance

Just some benefits of dance

Below is information regarding a brand new dance session for health and well- being in partnership with Ponthafren in Welshpool and some information for our flagship over 50's dance groups, we have one in the North of Powys and one in the South, always warm and welcoming to newcomers, whether you've had plenty of dance experience or none. As you've seen above, you can get so much from these dance sessions and it is so much more than what you think, so why not pop along to meet the groups and dance leaders, your new social group is just waiting to meet you!