This weekend we took our youth company, Attik Youth, to London to perform in the U.Dance New Dimensions event. This event is a choreographic competition aimed at youth companies who are verging on a professional standard. It was an incredible platform for me to show my work and to be seen by dance artists and companies from across the country. As well as being a great opportunity for myself, it also gave the dancers a chance to perform in a very open and public space in London. This is something that they have not done before. I think this experience has given the dancers more confidence in their performance ability and I hope it was an exciting and enjoyable show for them. It was also good to see what else was going on in the country with regards to youth work, what styles were popular and which choreographers are working with youth companies at the moment.
We had a class with two other companies, led by a lady from Rambert, which was a really good simple warm up for the groups and it also gave them a chance to chat to each other and socialise a bit. It also gave us an opportunity to take a step back and see where our classes could be improved, watching our dancers and seeing what technique work we need to do with them. This is a continuing conversation that we have about how we can better the training we provide for our Attik Youth company.
The performance itself was brilliant, we were in the Clore Ballroom in the Southbank centre which is a huge building that hosts various art exhibitions, plays and dance performances. The show was open to the public and the building was filled with a huge audience of dancers, choreographers and unsuspecting humans who had just wandered in. It was lovely to be able to take a step back and just watch the piece in its entirety without taking notes or worrying about counts, I fully trusted my dancers to do the piece as best they could and to enjoy it.
I have learnt so much from the whole experience of creating and showing this piece, from new ways of creating tasks and even how to interact with dancers to the paperwork and logistics of taking a group of young people to London to perform. It has been an invaluable opportunity and something I very much appreciate Attik giving me the chance to do. I hope to continue to use all these skills I have learnt and improve my work with Attik and any other companies I choose to work for.
All in all, the whole day was an exciting and exhausting experience, for myself and the dancers. It is definitely something I would want to repeat as I loved the whole process and seeing the young people so excited to perform really made the whole thing worthwhile.