18 December 2020
March - December Update
Arts Care Gofal Celf
The Duets residency at Gelliswick Primary School in Milford Haven, was the last residency that Ballet Cymru led in March, just 4 days before lockdown. During this time we have kept in touch with the school and also our partners and practitioners. We led an online training session via Zoom, to guide the practitioners through the Duets Toolkit. Ballet Cymru returned to the school for 3 days in October to continue delivering the Duets training with 2 practitioners, and also lead the selection process with 144 pupils, and 31 children were selected and invited on to the Duets programme. They began their 2 year, dance training at Gelliswick Primary School, in October.
Dawns i Bawb
During the lockdown period Ballet Cymru continued conversations with Dawns i Bawb and Llanllyfni Primary School. We delivered a training session with 4 practitioners via Zoom which enabled them to ask further questions and learn more about the content and aims of the Duets programme. In October, we returned to Llanllyfyni Primary School, to deliver further training and lead the selection process for the Duets Scholars. 33 children were invited on to the Duets Scholarship Programme, and the weekly sessions in ballet and street dance, began in early November.
Key staff were placed on furlough or were on maternity leave, so contact was limited with Impelo. There has also been a change of head at the school where we were hoping to lead the Duets programme. Once the full Impelo team were back, we were able to continue with the plans for Duets. 2 new practitioners had joined Impelo, and they both have strong ballet and contemporary technique and were very keen to be the lead practitioners on the Duets Programme. Ballet Cymru delivered 2 days training at the new school, Cribarth Primary, based in Abercrave, alongside the selection process. 27 children were selected on to Duets and their weekly sessions started in November.
The partnership with Jukebox Collective has been very active during lockdown, and together, we led 12 live Zoom sessions, on a weekly basis, with the Duets Scholars at Moorland Primary School. The Family Engagement Officer was a huge support during this time and attended every session. We are now back at the school, albeit in the playground, but we felt it was so important to see the Scholars face to face again, and deliver a fun and energetic session to begin their second year of training. The Scholars have created a piece for film and we will bring in a film company to work with us towards the end of term.
Both practitioners worked hard during lockdown, planning and delivering creative ballet and capoeira sessions, via Zoom, to the Duets Scholars.
Teachers from Ty Ffynnon School attended the sessions each week and the children enjoyed seeing their teachers join in some of the Zoom games. We are now back at the school and teaching in the hall with social distancing etc. in place. We are delighted to be back and the NEW Dance practitioners had a wonderful time dancing with the children again. The scholars are also working on creating a film to capture the amazing work that they have achieved this term.
We ran weekly Zoom sessions with the Duets Legacy students for 12 weeks. The term was packed with guest teachers and Ballet Cymru professional dancers leading the classes. Numbers were good to begin with but as the weeks went on we ended up with a core group of 5. Since schools have returned, all of the Duets Legacy students have moved on to Secondary School, and have scattered across Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. This really did effect the Legacy session. The children not only had a new school, friends and teachers to deal with, but also add Covid-19 too, it was inevitable that Duets Legacy session would suffer.
The remainder of funding for the Legacy group will now be reallocated to Somerton Primary School in Newport. Ballet Cymru has had a good relationship with this school in the past, and would like to develop the partnership, by establishing the Duets Scholarship Programme at the school in January. A series of taster sessions have been delivered and the response and support from the Headteacher, staff and children was very positive.
Pillgwenlly Primary School
Unfortunately, Ballet Cymru were unable to engage with Pillgwenlly Primary School during this difficult time. We offered different ways of working to keep connected with the Scholars, but it proved difficult. After a lot of thinking and discussions, we thought it best to reallocate the funding to a different school in Newport. Eveswell Primary School is the ‘sister’ school to Somerton Primary and the head teacher is passionate about the Duets Scholarship programme being established there, as the criteria fits with the school well. A series of taster sessions were delivered, engaging with 360 children and we aim to set-up the weekly scholarship sessions in January.
Both sets of Duets Scholars from Ysgol Ty Ffynnon and Moorland Primary School, along with the Duets Legacy Students, worked together to create a film inspired by Ballet Cymru’s production of ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’. This was all developed over the Zoom sessions and Red Beetle Film Company edited the work achieved and created a lovely film “Duets – Dancing Through Time” that the children can keep forever.
As a direct result of the mentoring programme Ballet Cymru delivered with Jukebox Collective last year, a new student from the organisation has joined us for the second year. We are now looking at this way of working as a model to offer the Community Dance Organisations. Duets is such a unique programme and young, emerging community dance practitioners, can learn from this. Ballet Cymru also realise that we need to look at our own workforce and develop a team to deliver the Duets programme, and therefore organising additional training for practitioners in the Newport and Cardiff area.
Wales Wide Training Programme
During lockdown, Ballet Cymru continued to attend the regular Wales Wide Training network meetings and we were asked to organise a skill sharing session, focussed on children and young people. So what better programme to use as an example but Duets? We hosted the session, and 19 practitioners from around Wales joined us, through Zoom, to experience the different styles of dance delivered by some of the Duets team, and learn more about the programme and our work with children and young people. For us, this is a perfect opportunity to meet new practitioners across Wales and it could lead to further training opportunities as the programme develops.
Pontio is our partner theatre in North West Wales and before lockdown we worked closely together on the Duets residencies based at Llanllyfni Primary School. During lockdown, Ballet Cymru professional dancers created a film for the Blas students, based on the Duets dance and art project delivered by Ballet Cymru and Carl Chapple, Artist in Residence.