Stepping out with Step Up

Mon 14 Oct, 2019
This post was written by squarechapel

Step Up is an exciting project for young people with additional needs, funded by BBC Children in Need and delivered by Square Chapel Arts Centre. We believe young people have a lot to gain from taking part in arts activities – a chance to try new things, improve confidence and have fun with friends. We get to work with the amazing young people at Gateway Youth Club, and recently extended this work to William Henry Smith school, near Rastrick. The young people have been brilliant – taking part in quite varied drama workshops with Douglas Thompson, exploring emotions and expression using character, masks, puppets, games, movement and video. We’ve even had a play with chromakey (green screen) and had them flying on magic carpets! It’s such a treat seeing these young people get to grips with drama skills, and see their teamwork and personal confidence really boosted.

We were excited to be visited recently by Anjali Dance Company, ahead of their performance of the Genius double bill on October 24th.  Anjali engages and celebrates the creative abilities and artistic potential of people with learning disabilities, and demonstrates exciting new possibilities in dance. It was such an honour to have two of their dancers, Hannah Dempsey and Lauren Payne, deliver a workshop, along with a sneak preview of one of their dances. They were accompanied by Rachel Liggitt, a dance artist, educator and coach with an impressive record of achievement. Rachel won the ‘Inspirational Community Dance Practitioner Award’ at the One Dance UK Awards in 2018, so it was great for us to have an opportunity to work with her and the brilliant team of creatives from Anjali.

The young people were mesmerised by Hannah and Lauren’s dancing, and loved being encouraged and inspired to create their own movement to the music of Beethoven. As often happens when we try new things, there were young people who insisted they didn’t like the idea of dancing and didn’t want to join in, but, by the end of the workshop, they were bursting with ideas, energy and enthusiasm.

We can’t wait to see Anjali perform at Square Chapel, and we hope you’ll join us. There will be two performances of Genius, 1.30pm and 7.30pm on October 24th. See you there!

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