Championing boys’ dance

2 December 2018

On Friday 23 November, Company Chameleon attended the One Dance UK conference, a national dance event attended by students, professionals, directors, teachers, researchers and healthcare practitioners working in the sector.

Taking place in Leeds across several venues including Northern Ballet and Yorkshire Dance, the conference presented the opportunity for attendees to get involved in a series of  discussions, debates and workshops all relating to this year’s theme of ‘Leadership’.

Here, we catch up with our Learning & Participation Officer, Sam Broadbent, to find out more.

1. What did Company Chameleon do at the conference?
Company Chameleon delivered a ‘Teacher Toolkit’ session on facilitating boys dance. The session led by our Co-Artistic Director, Kevin Edward Turner, and Company Dancer, Theo Fapohunda, offered attendees the chance to learn directly from the Company’s long history of championing and developing boys dance.

The two-hour session equipped its attendees with a library of fresh, innovative and engaging ideas to get boys moving, explore their creativity and unlock the idea that dance can be for them!

The practical toolkit session provided participants with a real insight into Chameleon’s unique movement style and creative approach. Participants explored a variety of games, warms ups, movement vocabulary, improvisation ideas, creative tasks, partnering and contact work.

The broad range of tools and techniques covered in the session have been trialled and tested over many years by the Company and proven time and time again to connect so effortlessly with the young men that we have worked with across a range of settings including schools, colleges, youth venues, community settings, PRU’s, prisons and more.

We received really positive feedback from the session, which was great to hear. On twitter, one participant, dance artist Emma Jones, said, “Such a brilliant session with @Chameleoninfo at @onedanceuk conference with so many great ideas to take away. Thanks for your generosity & willingness to share your practice so openly :)”

 2. What were we looking forward to most at the conference?
The focus of this year’s conference was ‘Leading the way – a stronger future for dance’.

Company Chameleon were delighted to be involved in this year’s conference, acting as advocates of boy’s dance for the sector and saw the invitation to present at the conference as a great opportunity to pass on some of our wealth of experience to those responsible for creating boys dance provision and those dance teachers and practitioners who are actively involved in teaching dance to boys on a regular basis.

In addition, as a Company we are passionate about being at the forefront of the ongoing conversation regarding the future of dance in the UK, so it was important for us to be there. The variety of discussions, presentations and debates left us with lots of food for thought and inspiration to bring back to the organisation.

3. Why is Chameleon such a strong advocate for boy’s dance?
As two ordinary lads from Manchester, Anthony’s and Kevin’s journey through dance is an uplifting example of how the art form has the power to truly change lives. When the pair met at Trafford Youth Dance Theatre in the mid 1990s neither of them could have ever imagined the success story that lay ahead – that they would both go on to dance for some of the most innovative dance companies and choreographers in the world before setting up their own dance company in their home city of Manchester.

Seeing first-hand how dance changed their own lives, Kevin and Anthony have always been strong advocates for dance and passionate about giving back and creating opportunity for the next generation to get involved in dance, including those young men that may think it’s not for them.

As both an art form and physical activity, dance is a truly unique medium which holds the potential to engage its participants physically, creatively and intellectually. Company Chameleon are proud to act as positive male role models for the young people that we work with and will continue to act as champions of boy’s dance with the aim of encouraging more and more young men to get dancing!

To find out more about our boy’s dance work visit our projects page here!

If you’re interested in booking a boy’s dance workshop or project please contact:

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"10 was such a wonderful experience - I cant wait to see more of your incredible work!" "Effortless grace, strength, humour and athleticism - a visual treat!" "We brought 65 young people to your performance tonight - every single one loved it! What an amazing show!" "This show reminded me why I dance and what I’m constantly working towards! Thank you for this experience!" "Such beauty in the small moments of this show - please don't stop doing what you’re doing"

Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!