Camden’s young people are dancing to the beat
In a buzzing atmosphere of excitement and energy, fourteen local schools and four youth groups demonstrated their dance moves at the annual Camden Schools Dance Festival on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 March at The Place.
The 24 new dances performed on a professional stage are the culmination of several months’ work by around 500 pupils from 14 schools. The pupils aged 8-18 years helped to create the short dance pieces which reflect the rich culture of the borough drawing on South Asian, contemporary, folk and street dance styles. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the young people involved to perform to an audience of family and friends and share the passion and enthusiasm for dance they have developed through taking part in the dance workshops.
Leading the project is pioneering dance organisation, The Place. Working in partnership with the other members of the Camden Dance Development Group, which comprises of Akademi, B-Better, English Folk Dance & Song Society, icandance and Surma Centre, they match professional choreographers with schools to help the young people in the borough to develop their skills and confidence in and through movement. There is high-quality evidence from the Culture and Sport Evidence (CASE) review that learning through arts and culture develops skills and behaviour that lead children to do better in school.
The Festival has been part-funded by the John Lyon’s Charity and supported by the Camden Dance Development Group. Five of the primary schools performing this year are part of The Place’s Partner Schools Programme. The schools taking part in this year’s project are: Brookfield, Carlton, Christ Church, Hampstead, Maria Fidelis, Netley, Parliament Hill, Regent High, Rhyl, St George the Martyr, St Paul’s, Swiss Cottage, Torriano, UCL Academy and youth groups Cando2, Manifest-Nation, Shuffle and Surma Centre Community Group ‘Mix It’.
Clare Connor, Chief Executive of The Place said about the initiative:
“The Place is committed to removing the barriers to participating in dance for young people in our borough. For many children the Camden Schools Dance Festival will provide the first taught dance experience they have ever had, for some it will build a life-long love of dance and may even develop their talent into becoming a professional dance artist.”
Speaking about the importance of getting young people dancing Maria Ryan, Creative Learning Producer at The Place says:
“We know from our own experience of working with young people that getting them involved with a structured arts activity such as dance, builds confidence and communication, and increases transferable thinking skills which improves their ability to do well in school.”