Youth Company Update!

Nicky Norton gives us an update on what has been happening with the Youth Companies since her last blog...

The last time I wrote a blog I am ashamed to say was May 2015 so this is going to be quite an epic catch up!  Instead of reading copious paragraphs by yours truly I would like to say it mostly with pictures (and some chat to explain!)

Firstly though we have a few introductions to make to our growing gaggle of youth groups and partnership people.  At the start of this year we saw the welcome return of an old partnership group - Linkable in Woking.  Stopgap had delivered sessions to this organisation over many years in the past and unfortunately the funding for their regular sessions dried up.  Some 2 years later and much persistence on my part, the dance sessions began again and now meet regularly on a Friday during term time.

And around the same time we welcomed a young group of dancers from Bishops Down School in Tunbridge Wells led by our associate teacher Hannah Rotchell (of Bill and Bobby fame.)  This group meets regularly on a Monday during term time and are, we believe, the first inclusive group in that area of Kent.

Arching over all of our teaching with regards to youth companies and groups is our syllabus IRIS that we have begun piloting with Guildford and Farnham. It is a really exciting development for the company and will be something that will give teachers a framework to develop the disabled dancers of tomorrow. It is a consolidation of Stopgap's experience of training professional disabled dancers and will offer disabled children the same level of structure, balance and rigour in dance training as their non-disabled peers.  More information about IRIS can be found in our Creative Learning section on the website. 

Since the last catch up we have had our summer platform (July 2015.)

Our wonderful Shakespeare inspired Winter platform (December 2015.)

And then a super busy time for our partnership group Stepping Stones who performed in the Farnham Maltings Youth Arts Festival Spark in March, 2016, the Big Dance Bus day in June and the second Farnham Blooming event with The Dance Movement in July.

 (credit Helen Maybanks)

(credit Ciarran Minns)

Finally Troop have been busy too, performing at Swindon Dance, The Roundhouse in London and auditioning for new members.  The group has sadly said goodbye to original members Lily and Lauren who will be moving on to university but has welcomed along another 5 dancers.

These groups are flourishing under the wonderful leadership and hard work of our creative learning manager Siobhan and the dedicated team of teachers and support workers that attend each week.  We are now really looking forward to our next Winter Platform taking place on Monday 12th December, here at Farnham Maltings.  It looks set to be out of this world with the theme of planets!

If you are interested in learning more about our groups, how you could participate or support then please get in touch with [email protected]

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