Partnering with Shobana Jeyasingh Dance

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Autumn 2019 saw the return of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance (SJD) to the Lawrence Batley Theatre, touring their new work, Staging Schiele. We were pleased to partner with the company in order to bring creative dance workshops into schools across Kirklees, giving children the chance to explore contemporary dance. The workshops as part of SJD Learning programme are designed to encourage young people to become curious, creative and experimental through dance.

 Over 4 days in November 2019, one of Shobana Jeyasingh’s company dancers delivered eleven dance sessions in 9 different primary schools. These schools were either Artsmark Schools or in specific ‘Hubs’; clusters of schools, in areas where multiple barriers may prevent young people accessing arts and other opportunities. The schools we worked with were, Pentland Infants, Overthorpe Academy, Spring Grove Juniors and Infants, Reinwood Infants, Shelley First School, Shaw Cross Primary, Christchurch Infants and Eastborough Juniors and Infants.

Children taking part in the sessions ranged from 5 – 10 years old and feedback received from the schools was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers commented;

‘These children have never had anything like this, it’s been so special for them to experience it, thank you so much for coming all the way up to us!’ 

‘It’s been really hard through our lessons to get them to coordinate their body parts, and this session has really helped them to do it without thinking about it. We’re going to steal your ideas for our classes now!’

Verity Richards, Learning Manager for SJD also commented, ‘We were amazed by the children themselves, they really threw themselves into each activity and were a credit to each school we worked with’.

Children taking part were equally enthused saying;

‘I loved doing the dancing, and the balancing and using my hands in different ways’

‘Some of it was hard, but I think that was really good for my brain’ 

‘I’ve never done this sort of dancing before, it was really different and I liked that I could move my body how I wanted to’.

Through the four days, the project got 361 children dancing, providing inspiration to teachers and building links between the work on our stage and our local community, which is a vital part of the work of the Lawrence Batley Theatre.


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