A commitment to culturally diverse learning and participation

Photo: Robert Bloomfield

BSDC Learning

The mission of Balbir Singh Dance Company’s learning programme is to inspire creativity and a love of dance in people of all ages and from all backgrounds.

A commitment to culturally diverse learning and participation is central to our approach. The company is well known for delivering innovative cultural education projects in classrooms and communities that leave a lasting impression on all participants. We aim to encourage individuals, groups and communities to creatively connect with dance and music and to engage further with the arts.

Learning and participation is a fundamental part of Balbir Singh Dance Company’s work, and the company has a strong track record of delivering high quality education, community engagement and professional development training for teachers and practitioners.

Our programme offers options for audiences to engage with the company’s work: enjoying new experiences through dance, building skills and developing a deeper understanding of creative and physical processes.

All activity takes inspiration from Kathak traditions, nurturing an inclusive and respectful learning environment, and encouraging curiosity, creativity, risk-taking, self-discipline and collaboration. We study the aural way of working, the intrinsic relationship between music and Kathak dance, and we work with dance artists, live musicians and the voice.

We are open to engagement on a number of levels – groups may attend rehearsals or performances, to meet our Artistic Director and our company of professional dancers and musicians.

Learning and participation supports the company’s performance, touring and audience development programmes. We also offer tailored projects and programmes through partnerships with schools, community groups, festivals and venues. Suiting a variety of contexts and participants, Kathak and live music are consistent traits in a high quality and adaptable programme of work.

We work to shape new creative experiences with the people and venues we work with. These experiences are tailored by you, for youProjects possibilities include long-term residencies, community tours and one-off sessions and work can culminate in public performance opportunities for participants. As a company BSDC offers cultural and creative insights into dance for both students, teachers, artists and facilitators within schools, colleges, youth organisations and other community settings.

“(The company’s) wide range of educational and community-based practice provides professional development for dancers and opportunities for people to engage in the arts.”

Arts Council England, Yorkshire.

Photo: Karol Wyszynski

BSDC Schools

Our award-winning creative learning work is a vital part of our artistic programme. We offer culturally diverse dance workshops and classes for children and young people from early years to early career. Our aim is to nurture every child’s creativity and fitness.

BSDC is an Arts Award Centre and we can offer children and young people training in a range of unique qualifications that support anyone up to age 25 to grow as artists and leaders.

We provide a new approach to learning through fun, creative sessions, which are memorable, productive and artistically led by your students. We facilitate peer-to-peer learning in an environment where self-expression, personal development and creative experimentation is encouraged.

Our workshops offer the space for teachers and students alike to play and learn alongside each other whilst developing new skills.

School staff are at the core of all preparation and planning to ensure we are offering an effective tailored package to suit your students and groups.

Our schools residencies are supported by CPD workshop for teachers, resource packs and 1:1 planning and evaluation meetings. Workshops and residencies are relevant to all levels, from infant to HE. We offer culturally enriching experiences which are delivered by our passionate and creative artists. We also offer a range of online resources for schools.

Our multi-faceted workshops deliver high-quality, measurable results which align with the National Curriculum and specific in-school projects. All activity takes inspiration from both Kathak traditions and western dance techniques, nurturing an effective and respectful learning environment. We encourage curiosity, creativity, risk-taking, self-discipline and collaboration. We study the physical body, artistic movement and the intrinsic relationship between music and Kathak dance. We can create a package for you inspired by our wide range of professional repertoire.

Previous workshops and CPD sessions have covered creative learning approaches to the Anglo-Saxons, water cycles, story structures, shapes and various Religious Education topics.

We work closely with IVE, the regional Bridge Organisation and we can advise your school on Arts Mark and Arts Award. We can provide your pupils with a recognised arts qualification from Trinity College, London. In 2016 BSDC won the York Award for Cultural Education with Fulford School.

Enquire about our taster workshop

An important strand of our work is ‘Celebrating Age’

BSDC Community

BSDC firmly believes that education is for all – whatever your age or ability. An important strand of our work is ‘Celebrating Age’.

In 2020, we toured a number of care homes and other facilities for older people with Love and Spice, an intergenerational tale of rekindling emotions through the multisensory experience of food. The use of movement and storytelling with older people is increasingly being recognised for its potential in addressing the health and well-being agenda. Love and Spice is a perfect vehicle for bringing these benefits to older people around Leeds.

BSDC’s productions often build a community learning programme around a performance. In 2015 a national tour of the swimming pool-based work Synchronised, community engagement formed part of a strong audience development plan, that reflected the diversity, innovation and cross-boundary appeal of the show.

A programme of classes including the novel AquaKathak, as well as Introduction to Kathak and music workshops attracted sports centre users and others from the wider community.

BSDC’s approach ensures that local people have the opportunity to participate in high-quality arts events. We have included community casts in a number of shows and these prove to be a popular way of being involved in the creation process.

“Kathak is like an ocean: there is always so much yet to learn.” These wise words from our Artistic Director Balbir Singh’s own guru Padmashri Pratap Pawar inform BSDC’s approach to learning. Balbir knows from personal experience how learning never ends. Taking this as his cue, Balbir has built an impressive portfolio of work that engages diverse communities in creative learning.