Unify Dance Festival is a celebration of dance for all. As well as bringing together existing dance groups of D/deaf, disabled and non-disabled dancers, the 2019 Festival provides dance artists from artsNK to help establish two new performance groups. These groups worked together for ten weeks to create a new dance piece to perform at the Festival in Lincoln in November 2019.
As one of the dance artists, I was lucky enough to work with pupils from Sandon and Ambergate Schools to form one of these new groups. Together we went on a journey exploring different dance skills and how we could use these to establish both a performance and the skills needed to work as company of dancers. Through choreographic tasks and games we created our own movement language to share our chosen theme. Our piece, entitled ‘Deep Forest Green’ is based on a study of trees.
The group worked incredibly hard and by the time we reached performance day we felt very much like a company. Unify Festival was a long day, but really rewarding. The group took part in dance workshops with the amazing SideKick Dance (Leicester) and were able to meet, dance with and watch performances by other inclusive dance groups. As part of the day, the group completed their own technical and dress rehearsals and then performed the piece to an audience of 150 in a professional theatre.
We had such a fantastic day and our group performed exceptionally well! 10 weeks is a very short time to bring together a new group and prepare for a performance, so we are so proud of all the pupils involved.
As our newly formed Unify Youth Dance Company did so well at the festival, we decided to enter our piece into a platform called U.Dance. U.Dance is a national programme which aims to provide dance performance opportunities for every child and young person in the country. In the East Midlands there are five county events – ‘True Motion’ is the Lincolnshire event. The most exciting youth dance groups from around the UK are then selected from the regional events to attend the U.Dance National Festival.
The application for ‘True Motion’ involved details of the piece we had made – the pupil’s involvement, the choreography, costumes and ideas for lighting and staging, as wells as a film of the piece. We were delighted to discover that Unify Youth Dance Company has been accepted as one of the ten performance groups selected across the whole of Lincolnshire. This is a fantastic achievement for the group! It is also great for Lincolnshire as this is the first time an “inclusive” dance group has been successful in applying to the platform.
Rehearsals for our next performance are about to start and we are so excited to be working together again and developing the piece.
Please do come and support the group at the platform if you can:
True Motion – Lincolnshire’s U.Dance Platform
Saturday 14th March 2020, 7.30pm
Lincoln Performing Arts Centre
Tickets are available from the LPAC Box Office https://lpac.co.uk/event/true-motion-2020/
Dance Development, artsNK
The National Centre for Craft and Design