Looking forward with Darcey

13 November 2022

We’re honoured to have the support of our patron, Dame Darcey Bussell DBE, as we continue to be part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio over the next three years, 2023-2026.

Darcey said, “As company patron, I join the Chameleon team in welcoming this investment from Arts Council England.  Company Chameleon share my passion for the positive impact that dance can have on people’s lives.

This support will help Chameleon on the next stage of their journey, as they move towards creating a dance hub for Greater Manchester, with platforms and opportunities for people from all different backgrounds to access the many benefits of dance.”

Company Chameleon thank Darcey for her continued support as we strive to change the narrative through dance and create a dance hub with pathways and possibilities for everyone.

Darcey was first introduced to Chameleon in 2018, when she presented the BBC series, Dancing to Happiness.

Our Co-Artistic Director, Kevin, was invited to be part of the series and for an episode of the programme, led on a dance and mental health project with young people from Manchester based charity, 42nd Street.

Looking back, Kevin said, “It became apparent very quickly when working on Dancing to Happiness with Darcey, that we both share a passion for dance as a tool to support mental health and both passionately believe in the transformative power of dance.

Company Chameleon’s next focus is to change the narrative through dance. This means using dance to make a real, positive impact on individual lives.

When I look back on Dancing to Happiness with Darcey, I recall one example, which I will never forget, of how dance did this for one young lady called Grace*.

Grace was struggling with her mental health and at the start of the project, she was very quiet and within herself. I gauged very quickly it was difficult for her to be in a dance workshop situation.

However, through the safe and supportive environment created, and through using movement as a form of words and expression, week on week, I saw Grace’s confidence transform before my very eyes. Not only did her confidence grow, but her personality began to shine.

Her Mum contacted me after the project to say thank you for giving her daughter the boost that she needed to start living her life again.

The experience had given Grace the confidence to go out and get her first job as an apprentice hairdresser, a job she had wanted to do for some time.

Grace received several rejection letters, before been offered a job. What had made her Mum most proud is how Grace had found the confidence to keep going after receiving the rejections, until she got a yes and got the job!”

Company Chameleon are grateful to Darcey for supporting the company as our patron in the next stage of our journey. We look forward to continuing to work with Darcey, and other inspirational people and partners who share our values, as we change the narrative through dance.

*Name changed for confidentiality.

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