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January 16, 2013

The Year In Review

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Happy new year folks!

Well, I’ve been a bit quiet on my website over the latter part of last year but I though now’s a great opportunity to take a moment and look back over the successes of last year.

Last February Sadler’s Wells’ Company of Elders toured to Austria and it was a pleasure to join them and have one of my pieces (previously choreographed for the company) shown at the Festspielhaus in St. Pölten.  It was a great experience to tour with the company and also a great opportunity to show some of my work in Europe and to be part of an international gathering of various artists working in the community setting.   I was taken by the openness of the colleagues from St. Pölten and it was wonderful to be able to learn from each other’s teachings and absorb other styles of movement and choreography.

Later in the year I was involved with a Big Dance Project in collaboration with the Claremont Centre based in Islington.   We created 3 workshops of one hour each and invited The Choir With No Name (a choir made up of people who have experienced or know someone who has experienced homelessness), young people from Fujian White Crane Kung Fu and Claremont members (all of whom are over 55) to take part.   I had a team of volunteers from Counterpoint Dance Company (who are my dance company of over 55’s, resident at the Claremont Centre) to lead and facilitate the workshops.  We used one of Madonna’s pieces called Jump! which was upbeat and quirky so we could get some cool moves in the choreography! The day after the workshops we performed the piece at the N1 shopping centre in Islington, it was amazing to see everyone performing so well with just one day to put the piece together and a fantastic collaboration of people from a wide range of ages and experience   One thing I really loved about this project was the community spirit and the bonding that went on between the groups.  We even got one of the young Kung Fu ladies to bake a cake for everyone!

The last thing I wanted to mention is the three years birthday of Counterpoint Dance Company and all the successes we’ve had!   The dancers continue to surprise and delight audiences whilst conveying our message that the older person can be a VIBRANT person!  I am really enjoying the opportunity to lead and direct a unique group of people, we have gone from strength to strength and have been able to work with various artists as well as perform in great theatres such as the Queen Elisabeth Hall.  I have enjoyed setting up the company and figuring out the management and artistic direction of Counterpoint Dance, all things I’ve never done before!  I have learned about how enriching it is to work with other older people that are passionate about dance and creativity but most of all I have learned a lot about challenging people’s perceptions of older people through the work my company does.

There’s lots more to come in 2013 and I am looking forward to creating change with other artists and choreographers, as well as developing my own creative ideas.  I’ll keep you posted throughout the year!

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