As a result of successful funding bids to the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales at the end of 2018, NEW Dance secured the financial means to produce no fewer than six Turning Point projects. Two have been completed, two are on hold (more on that later), and two will be timetabled as soon as it is safe to do so.
Turning Point is a transition project which has several components. Firstly, high schools team up with selected primary schools to create links between Year 5/6 pupils and Year 7 students, in order to ease the transition period when children move up to high school. Each participating class receives nine hours of creative dance workshops from a professional dance practitioner to choreograph their own original dance piece. All the groups then perform together at the high school, to an audience of their parents, guardians and families. Even if the high school taking part is not the one where some of the pupils will go, it provides a performance opportunity, and a chance for them to spend some time in a high school environment. Where appropriate, this sharing also features dance pieces from NEW Dance's Youth Dance Company and NEW Dance practitioners, demonstrating further opportunities in dance, both as a hobby and as a professional career.
Secondly, the project offers training in delivering creative dance in an educational context in preparation for the new Welsh National Curriculum. Through four hours of individual, bespoke one-to-one training, the school teacher whose class has undertaken the project gains knowledge and understanding of the creative process when teaching through dance for the Expressive Arts section of the new Welsh curriculum.
Thirdly, the project enables NEW Dance to signpost young dancers interested in furthering their interests in dance to NEW Dance’s existing programme of community based dance classes, thereby allowing a continuation of skills learned, and the nurturing of a new or existing hobby, or potential career choice.
Since the Turning Point project was launched in February 2019, NEW Dance practitioners have worked with 25 schools and more than 600 pupils and teachers. Feedback given by teachers, pupils and audience members has included comments such as, “The end result was really pleasing”, “Really enjoyable project”, and “[we saw] increased confidence and self-esteem”.
As previously mentioned, two of the projects have unfortunately had to be paused, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. We were all very disappointed by this, but of course, everyone’s health has to come first. We are looking into options to reconvene these projects, perhaps in a slightly modified format if necessary, to ensure that the participants who have been working so hard have the opportunity to see a satisfactory conclusion to their efforts.
Participation in the Turning Point project is by invitation, so if you are a school teacher and like the sound of this project, please keep an eye/ear out for emails/phone calls to your school! Of course, if you would like to work with NEW Dance on a dance project of your own design, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
01978 869456 / 07399 642853