Dancers’ Development Experience
Over the summer NYB was delighted to open its doors again to welcome 43 talented young dancers, in person, to the Dancers’ Development Experience, following their successful auditions for this intensive one-week non-residential course. Bringing young people back into studios after a long period of lockdown was quite emotional for all our team, who were keen to provide a safe space where young people could start to reconnect with each other and through their creativity, reconnect with themselves again.
We know how isolated young people have been feeling during the pandemic, and this was the perfect opportunity for us to embed our Moving Minds workshop, a key focus of NYB’s model, into the NYB summer school. Led by Carrie Johnson and Charlie Brittain, every day started and ended with a Moving Minds session, to create a positive mindset and support the young dancers’ ongoing health and well-being.
“It was really helpful, as this is something that is not commonly talked about or taught to dancers” Participant
“The Moving Minds sessions broadened my knowledge of how I can better help myself with managing stress and anxiety. I enjoyed the sessions very much.”
“The sessions made me feel really prepared for the day mentally, meaning I had a positive and open mindset which improved my physical work throughout the day.”
The Senior company (ages 12-18) worked with choreographer, Louise Bennett to reimagine the Summer movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, originally choreographed for NYB in 2002 by Frank Freeman. To support this work, they also took part in daily company class, drama workshops and a masterclass with Sayaka Ichikawa from Ballet Black.
“I loved the diversity of the classes and rehearsals, providing us with a complete mini professional experience.” Participant
The Junior company (ages 8-11) worked with NYB Creative Director, Jo Meredith to recreate a piece of NYB’s classic repertoire, Ameliaranne and The Green Umbrella. They also took part in daily company class, drama workshops and a contemporary masterclass with Monique Jonas.
NYB is modelling its future work on evaluation from participants to ensure that young people play a central role in participating and curating the NYB company experience. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in feedback. In addition to the general feedback about how NYB offers the unique opportunity to experience what it is to be part of a professional company, it also reflected the real value in learning new skills. We received enthusiastic requests for more opportunities to choreograph, to explore contemporary, to share with each other through Q&A sessions and to develop further the Moving Minds work to build the mental resilience that is often fragile in young people.
Each week culminated in working with a filmmaker, Kate Church, who captured their final company sharing of the work they had developed. This gave our young dancers the opportunity to see how a digital performance is executed, from the challenges of working with live camera and movement, to understanding how we use different perspectives and angles to tell our story. NYB is delighted to have been able to share these films with the participants and we will use this footage to share and encourage others to come and join us.
We were thrilled to be able to offer this in-person experience in 2021, and we are building on these foundations now to ready ourselves for a return to our Summer Residential in 2022 with live performances planned for Birmingham and London in August and September next year.
“My daughter loved the intensity and as ever, NYB have come up with a package which provides experience that can’t be found elsewhere. You’ve utilised the restrictions of COVID to create an innovative programme that have rehearsal and performance experience they’ve missed so much, but also the filming element and Moving Minds, which is so relevant to dancers now.” Parent of participant
“During the DDE week I learnt a lot about my posture, I had fun drama lessons and I improved my dancing technique. One of my favourite classes was the Moving Mind sessions. I made lots of friends and together we had unforgettable fun.” Participant
“My daughter had the most amazing time on the course and absolutely loved being part of the NYB company” Parent of participant