Space to Speak

11 May 2021

Coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re delighted to announce dance and well-being project, Space to Speak.

Company Chameleon and Z-arts have joined forces to present the project, which sees young people from Manchester using dance and movement to speak out about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences of life in lockdown and during the pandemic.

Company Chameleon’s dance artists are working with young people from Trinity High School in Manchester on the project, which involves a series of workshops and the creation of two new pieces of choreography, which will premiere this summer.

Kevin Edward Turner, our Co-Artistic Director, is leading the project. He said: ““This project gives the young people involved, the opportunity to reflect on the past year and take the time to digest, understand and express their emotions. In going through this process, we hope the young people feel more supported in their overall wellbeing and in moving forward with a positive mindset.”

 Space to Speak began in April, and we started the project by opening-up the conversation with the young people. Through creative exercises involving theatre, dance, movement and conversation, the young people reflected, expressed, shared and spoke out about their experiences during lockdown.

 Following on, the responses are inspiring the creation of two new performance pieces, which will express the rich tapestry of emotions which were felt over the pandemic.”

The first new performance piece, Void, is a duet choreographed by Kevin, which will be performed by Chameleon Dancers, Juliana Javier and David Colley. Void explores the space created by covid and lockdown, and what has moved into that space – both good and bad.

The second piece, Space, will be choreographed, created and performed by the young people with the guidance and support of Kevin  and Company Chameleon.

Void and Space will premiere and be performed as part of the Hulme is Where the Art Is, a free festival in Manchester on Saturday 26 June.

Sam Broadbent, Learning & Participation Manager at Company Chameleon, said: “Company Chameleon are passionate advocates about the use of dance as a communicative tool and through movement we can say so much.  Dance gives us the freedom to use our bodies to speak what our words sometimes cannot.

Dance as an art form allows us to express, to emote, to connect and to make sense of the world using movement as our shared language. We’re delighted to be working on this project in partnership with Z-Arts which allows us to work with young people in Hulme, offering them a space to speak and share their experiences of this past year through dance.”

Zoe Pickering, Head of Programming at Z-arts, said: “Z-arts are delighted to have commissioned Company Chameleon as part of the Here and Now project. We love the work of Company Chameleon and this project will allow young people space to express themselves, to focus on their wellbeing, and have an amazingly high quality arts experience.

The young people are informing the professional dance piece that is being created and having a strong voice in the process is something we encourage in all the work we do at Z-arts. As Z-arts rebuilds after this last year we’re thrilled that Space to Speak is allowing the young people of Hulme a means to express themselves, utilising dance to support mental health. Having Kevin from Chameleon as the lead artist and at the very heart of this, with all his experience is integral to the success of this project.”

As part of the project, Company Chameleon and Z-Arts will also partner to deliver a free holiday club this May Half Term (Tue 1 – Fri 4 June). This fun, physical and creative holiday club will offer local young people the chance to learn the movement from Chameleon’s new production, exploring the themes and ideas behind ‘Void’. In addition, the young people taking part in the holiday club will also be invited to create their own dance to perform outdoors as part of ‘Hulme is Where the Art Is’ festival this June!

If you’re age 8-11 and love to dance, create and perform, sign up for the holiday club via Z-Arts website. (Bookings open this week).

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SPACE TO SPEAK is a partnership project with Z-Arts and Trinity High School in Hulme, Manchester. The project is one of 40 projects taking place in and around 40 arts centres as part of Here and Now, a national and local celebration of culture within communities. Supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, marking the National Lottery’s 25th birthday. www.here-and-now.org.uk | @HereandNow2020

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