Company Chameleon Launches New Youth Dance Company

11 Apr 2016

Chameleon Youth Dance Company. Photo: Joel Chester-Fildes

Chameleon Youth Dance Company. Photo: Joel Chester-Fildes

A new youth dance company for Manchester is born as Company Chameleon announce the launch of Chameleon Youth.

Company Chameleon is calling out for young people, age 11 to 18, with raw dance talent and a big desire to dance, to join Chameleon Youth, its new youth dance company for Manchester.

FREE taster workshops will take place on Saturday 7 and Saturday 14 May at Manchester Central Library, the youth company’s training base, followed by try-outs on Saturday 11th June.  The workshops will provide a feel for the company’s creative and original dance style, and its fun approach to dance skills development.

Chameleon Youth presents an incredible opportunity to develop as a young dance artist through working with a professional dance theatre company.  As a nominee at the most recent National Dance Awards, Company Chameleon are one of the UK’s homegrown independent dance theatre companies, creating productions in their home city of Manchester, which tour and are performed all over the world.

Set-up by Anthony Missen and Kevin Edward Turner in 2007, Company Chameleon’s extensive experience will form the bedrock of the youth company, and its hand on approach to creative development.

Anthony Missen said: “Whats exciting is the vast amount of knowledge and experience that is at our disposal to share and pass on. We’ve worked with so many choreographers and so many companies over the years, the young people in Chameleon Youth will be the beneficiaries of this huge amount of experience.

Kevin Edward Turner added: “Setting up a youth dance company has been a long-held aspiration of ours. Anthony and I both discovered dance as teenagers at Trafford Youth Dance, and if it wasn’t for that experience, we wouldn’t be stood here today as Company Chameleon.  We want to recreate the opportunity we had when we were young to be creative and explore dance.  In some ways, Chameleon Youth, sees our own personal dance story going full circle.”

A creative programme of dance classes, led by Company Chameleon and guest choreographers and performers, underpin the Chameleon Youth programme and will feature alongside direct learning from the workings of a professional dance theatre company.

Observing the rehearsal process and shadowing professional dance training will be accompanied by learning how to produce dance theatre for stage. A rounded view of the staging experience will be developed through talks, workshops and development opportunities with industry professionals, such as composers, lighting and costume designers.

Anthony and Kevin see Chameleon Youth as strengthening the company as a whole, as the youth company will create more opportunities to try-out ideas for larger productions.

They will feed each other” explains Anthony, “Young people approach things differently and have a fresh way of looking at things. This dialogue will open up new possibilities for Company Chameleon’s own development, it will work both ways.”

Company Chameleon’s style is a rich mix of dance and movement techniques, drawing influences from contemporary dance, capoeira, ballet and contact improvisation.  With a strong focus on improvisation, creativity and versatility, young people will develop a broad view of what dance can be.

We’re looking to create physically strong and articulate dancers with a creative and broad movement vocabulary,” says Kevin. “We know from real life experience that choreographers ask for versatility.  In some ways, we’ll be teaching what you don’t necessarily learn at the Conservatoires – the range of skills that we know are currently required in the real world.

Performance opportunities will also feature in the Chameleon Youth programme, in studios, theatre venues and at outdoor events such as festivals.

As dancers progress through the company, they will increasingly make more of their own work and develop their own choreographic talents.  Elements of leadership, teaching and peer-to-peer mentoring will be introduced from mid-level, along with a focus on research and development, and how to take your artform forward.  All young people in Chameleon Youth will have the opportunity to work towards a bronze Arts Award.

Company Chameleon is supported by Arts Council England and Manchester City Council.