Saturday, 2 August 2014

Chantry Dance Summer School

In "Chantry Dance Associates: Lots of Promise" 28 July 2014 I mentioned that the company was about to start a week long summer school in Grantham. Yesterday was the last day and it ended with a performance and presentations. As Mel and the two other other young women, Yi Ann and Fiona, who had danced with us in May were taking part in the course I drove down from Holmfirth to support them.

Unfortunately, I missed the dancing, Even though I gave myself extra time for what Google maps had estimated would be a 1 hour and 38 minutes journey I found myself in heavy, slow moving traffic almost all the way while Grantham itself was gridlocked. After parking in a car park where the ticket machine gobbled my coins but refused me a ticket I slunk into the back of the Dance Pointe studio just as Paul Chantry and Rae Piper were handing out certificates.

It was good to see Fiona, Mel and Yi Ann again. Paul videoed the show and will no doubt post it to the company's website. To get some idea of what it must have been like I have embedded the YouTube video of Vincent last year's summer school performance.  According to the company's website:
"'Vincent' is a piece created for and by the CDC 2013 Summer School students. In the piece we see Vincent Van Gogh experiencing depression and a creative block. All around him things are falling down, until his muse arrives and brings him visions of three of his most famous paintings - Starry Night, Haystacks and Sunflowers. This gives Vincent the inspiration he needs. We see the paint dance over the canvas as he starts creating a new painting."
The students who performed that work ranged in age from 11-33 and in experience from improver to professional. The summer school gave them a taste of what it is like to work in a professional contemporary ballet company.

The summer school is just one of a number of educational and outreach activities that brings dance to everybody.  The following video summarizes the company's work:

Chantry Dance Company Education and Outreach work from Rae Piper on Vimeo.

I appear on that video and I can tell you that taking part in one of the company's workshops with Fiona, Mel and Yi Ann gave me enormous pleasure, self-confidence and personal satisfaction. It was clear from the faces of the associates last Sunday and the summer school participants yesterday that they felt the same way. The company goes everywhere - even prisons and care homes - and it does wonderful work. It deserves our support and we can help it.  Here are some of the ways:

On 26 Aug 2014 Chantry Dance are hosting a lunch time event called "Making Connections" for leading regional and national business figures, as well as individuals with a vision for a creative future, to make connections with Chantry Dance Company". During the event they will explain what the company does, what they can do to support businesses and individuals, and what business and individuals can do reciprocally. Chantry Dance is aiming to build positive, productive relationships with others, leading to mutually beneficial outcomes. They will consider how art and business can work together, and how each can liberate areas of untapped potential in the other. This is an excellent idea and something that I have been rabbiting on about for ages (see "Ballet as a Brand? How to bring More Money into Dance for Companies and Dancers" 13 March 2013). This is something that big companies already do (see "The Things I do for my Art: Northern Ballet's Breakfast Meeting" 23 Sept 2013). It is encouraging that one of the smaller companies is doing similar things.

Post script
Mel has just written about her experience of Chantry Dance's summer school in her own blog.

1 comment:

  1. Here's my Chantry Dance Summer School experience (warning, it's a bit waffly!!)
    Anyone interested in the company from these two posts should definitely go and see them on tour. You can find the tour dates here: