Balbir Singh Dance Company in collaboration with Children & the Arts (CATA) and MAGNA Science Adventure Centre has worked with four Rotherham based primary schools over the past 17/18 academic year. All children have worked towards their DiscoverArts Award and have created group dance pieces inspired by MAGNA and its science exhibitions.
Two schools engaged with a pre-workshop in October 2017. These pre-workshops introduced the children to the project, explained the process of the work, presented contemporary and traditional Indian dance and explained the journey they were to take part in during the forthcoming year.
All four schools visited MAGNA in November to watch a sharing of work performed by contemporary, Kathak and Odissi dancers, live musicians and a BMX champion.
All schools were then invited to explore the centre and see what it had to offer as creative inspiration.
Workshops began in February where classes, alongside their BSDC artist, investigated how the arts can be used successfully when working with concepts derived from a cultural venue. All groups have been taught transferable skills throughout the project in the hope of inspiring participants to translate this new cultural learning experience whilst growing their arts and leadership talents and taking on challenges by experiencing high quality dance events as participants and audiences.
All groups have worked intensely with their professional artist to develop a concept, formulate movement and critically analyse their final creation. Throughout the process, increasing awareness surrounding preparation of the body, choreographic devices and improvisation have all been key elements of the workshops.
Teachers of all four schools have been heavily involved with the creative process and have supported their students, whether this be when rehearsing, offering curriculum-linked concept ideas or facilitating Arts Award written work. Further to the physical aspects of the dance workshops, all children have created their own individual portfolios to support their findings within the dance space.
The Arts Award is a range of unique qualifications that supports anyone aged up to 25 to grow as artists and arts leaders, inspiring them to connect with and take part in the wider arts world through taking challenges in an art form. This year, all children have gained their introductory “Discover” Arts Award. In order to support their Arts Award portfolios, children were able to interview a professional Kathak dancer who visited them at their school. Children were able to perform their work for the artist and then enjoy a traditional Indian dance performance.
BSDC’s collaboration with MAGNA and CATA concluded with a final sharing for family and friends inspired by dance, music, art, science and historic exploration. All dance movement links directly with the surrounding environment and stimulus of the science exhibitions. Children are invited to explore their own responses to what they have experienced throughout this process and we hope they continue to observe art with a deeper understanding and appreciation in the future.