First day at Ysgol Cedewain has been lots of fun and heat. Three groups of pupils exploring aerial for the first time – Liam was scared at the start but at the end was spinning and swinging, he said “that’s incredible” Alfie simply said “more”.
“You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are grey,
you’ll never know dear, how much I’ll miss you,
please don’t take my sunshine away”.
Holding space for connection.
Listening and responding.
Improvising and offering.
Invitations and travelling.
We await the arrival, fairy lights alight, urn a-boiling, dance floor taped down, sheep wandering on leads, horse snuffling, dogs looking at the plates where soon the scones will lay. It is, of course, a tea dance day at Longlands!
As the rain tinkles on the cowshed roof, a white van full of life a stories arrives. I stand on the make-shift ramp and play all the popular waltzes I know on the accordion. Watching the kerfuffle of getting the very sweet eldery, dementia care group out of their van and transported into the world that Rachel Freeman has beautifully crafted in the barn is humbling, and the sun has done a classic ‘Everybody dance shine time’.
In these times of life is it becoming more and more important to look after each other and carve spaces for connection, engagement and fun. And this is absolutely what has happened this afternoon. We landed into the magical space together just in time for the rain to start up again. Wrapped in blankets we chair dance and for those more mobile we glide and step around the floor. It is amazing to watch the body memory of these traditional dances; for sure these were women who used to whip around the dance hall and share their sparkles. I can see their sparkles still today.
Music and movement are hugely healing tools and a great invitation to be present in the body. Something I have witnessed through my nan’s journey of dementia, is the power of song, singing, music and dance. It has been an absolute privilege to meet and work with these women and carers today and a great reminder that we NEED to keep sharing what we know, love and connect, connect, connect!
Some quotes I remember from the session;
“yes that’s great”
“waltz, I remember”,
“I can’t dance I’ve got dodgy knees”
“you know all the words”
Here’s to more positivity and possibility.
Yesterday seemed like a difficult day with staff and students all over the place and a poor turn out for the staff session and the Master Class. However, today has been a very different experience with some absolutely magical time with students. Lots of behavior and learning above and far beyond expectations, periods of focus and collaboration, laughter and relaxation.
At the end of the school day, staff members came forward asking to have a go on the ropes and realised just haw well the students have been managing to adapt to this new experience.
The family session saw students returning to school with mums, dads, aunties and siblings. Some watched whilst others danced and moved on the ropes. It was a lovely relaxed and informal session in the sun.
Thanks go out to Ruth, Linda, Sandy and Nigel from Waterbaby Dance who have made this week happen and are supporting us in our practice this week.
A very rainy day brought us indoors but the silver lining was focused time to get to know pupils and staff who will be working with us all week. We will gather feedback and evaluation from everyone involved throughout the week so that we can evidence the impact of the work.
This year we have a wonderfully varied programme of workshops and performances in different parts of the UK. Glasgow, Gloucestershire, Powys, Lancashire and Norfolk over the next three months: Glasgow, Gloucestershire, Powys, Lancashire and Norfolk over the next three months.
In the run-up last weekend we worked with an enthusiastic group of people at Circus Fantasia in Rostock, Germany, a great opportunity to get into the swing of things!
What a delicious treat for us all!
What a variety of forms we shared, aerial rope, contact improvisation, Performance and games, aerial hoop and Veyu Aerial Yoga. Phew! We are strong and tired.
Here are a few snaps I took when I wasn’t teaching or rolling or flying or hooping….
We have spent all morning tidying and scrubbing and rolling the dance floor in preparation for our journey to GERMANY!
Wismar festival here we come! Very excited to be sharing Kingfisher and Damselflies on Saturday and Lovely Bugs Sunday.
To the continent.
Bug sniffs, chez*xx