Your body or circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier to expressing how you feel. That’s why we were proud to be part of the DAN.ce AcCEssibility INclusion (DAN.CE IN) project in 2019.
We’re taking it a step further, partnering with DAN.THE. It’s a network of arts organisations from Italy, Spain, France and the UK. Over the past two years, we have been working together to share practice around social inclusion.
The aim is to increase the theoretical and practical skills of dance and theatre professional practitioners within the organisations and the wider sector.
This programme of work has been exploring how the arts can improve the lives of young people who face challenging circumstances like physical and neurological disabilities, educational poverty, those at risk of social exclusion, refugees and economic deprivation.
Each partner has been sharing how they work and learning how the others use training, education and artistic interventions like physical theatre, inclusive dance for social integration.
Danielle Gardner is our accredited programmes course leader. Victoria Taylor is our participation producer. Both are also tutors and went to Paris in May to work on the first performance piece as part of the project.
Danielle picks up the story.
“This was a promenade performance where there were different sections of works performed in different locations in the area. This was a celebration of closing the winter theatre and opening the summer one. We worked with masks, dance and even sang – in French!
“We explored this work further in Italy in July. The performance from France was adapted around a new theme and also performed in different locations around the town. The song we sang in France now featured more Italian lyrics.
“The experience highlights the importance of dance and movement when working internationally, as the body is no barrier to expressing how you feel.
“A story can be told through actions. Having four groups of people from around the world come together who share a passion for the arts was really powerful.”
On Friday 21 October, the group will recreate a performance that was performed as part of the Alter Art Festival on the streets of Pergola, Italy. The “happenings” will take place at 6.30pm, in King’s Lynn’s Vancouver Quarter, near the bus station; 7pm at Greyfriars Tower, 7.30pm at King’s Lynn Minster, and 8pm at Customs House.
Some of our participants will work with the group during the week and take part in the performances. The theme of the piece is “when you leave a place, what is left behind?”
The “happenings” will be complemented by the town’s famous projectors that light up its iconic buildings. It’s a really exciting opportunity to explore the home of The Workshop both culturally and physically.
Our executive producer Carrie Mansfield believes a diverse, inclusive approach is needed now more than ever.
She said: “This project widens the exploration of inclusive practice to not just physically diversity and neuro diversity but also social inclusion. Bringing theatre into the mix alongside dance and performance and challenging ourselves and our partners to work in a more sustainable way – decreasing our drain on the world’s resources and increasing our impact on our communities.
“It is important that we give time to explore inclusivity, challenge ourselves and learn from others. We are pleased to once again be working with Mila Dance and are looking forward to working with new partners from France and Spain – having that dialogue, conversations and working practically with each other in the coming years.
“We’ve also been asked to share how we make a mid-sized arts organisation sustainable, our business modelling and how we contribute to the cultural ecology providing viable creative careers and jobs and supporting artists to survive and thrive.
“This sharing on an international platform directly relates to our new MA Performing Arts Enterprise. It encourages those seeking creative careers to think bigger, to approach their art as a business from which they have a right to earn, and to diversify their practice to open up more opportunities across art form and sectors so they can have a long and successful creative career.”
This work will also carry through into next year’s Introduction to the Creative Industries programmes, made possible this year thanks to a grant from Norfolk Community Foundation through the New Anglia LEP Community Challenge. Read about how that’s already changing people’s lives.