Artists selected for Little Big Dance tourThu 26 March 2020
Part of: Little Big Dance
“I loved the spinning….my favourite bit was touching fingers.” Reception child, Birkwood Primary School, Barnsley.
We’re delighted to share a small exciting bit of news, especially at this difficult time for the arts sector. Little Big Dance, a groundbreaking national early years project, has been gathering momentum with Yorkshire based artist, George Fellows, working with over 130 children aged 3-5 years across Barnsley, Doncaster, Huddersfield and Halifax to develop ideas for a dance piece that will go on tour to early years settings and venues nationally.
George was selected as one of four national dance artists, to research and create work as part of the initial phase of Little Big Dance, which commenced in October 2019. George visited four primary school/ nurseries across the Yorkshire region, carefully selected by partner venues, Cast in Doncaster, The Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, Barnsley Civic and Square Arts Chapel in Halifax. George received support from early years dance specialist, Skye Reynolds, to test out the ideas for his new work and connect to a new generation of audiences.
In December 2019, the four national Little Big Dance artists came together at South East Dance Brighton for an Artist Lab, where they had time to reflect and develop a number of concepts to take forward into the next phase of creation and testing. The lab was supported by Skye Reynolds and Hannah Le Feuvre, and dramaturg Lou Cope.
The shape and direction of the work evolved further during a residency at Yorkshire Dance and Barnsley Civic in February 2020. George delved deeper into his idea of validating the child’s voice, through exploring a range of emotions and feelings and bringing these to life through the choreography.
On 28th February the four Little Big Dance artists presented their ideas to a commissioning circle which included Directors from Dance Umbrella, Starcatchers, Imaginate, and Birmingham Hippodrome. Two of the artists, George Fellows and Takeshi Matsumoto, have subsequently been selected to take their work into full production and tour.
Yorkshire Dance, our partner venues and schools are delighted to continue to support George on his journey and look forward to watching the work evolve.
The work will tour Early Years settings including Birkwood Primary School in Barnsley, St Peters Infant School in Doncaster, Ashbrow School in Huddersfield and St Augustine’s Nursery in Halifax and we look forward to welcoming either Takeshi or George’s work to a Yorkshire venue tour in Autumn 2020.
To extend Little Big Dance in Yorkshire, we focussed one of our Dance Transports Artist Exchanges on Early Years practice with generous support from Leeds Dance Partnership. Twelve independent artists joined Skye Reynolds and Anna Daly in an intensive workshop day in which they were joined by children from a local nursery. The day focussed on non-verbal communication, early years developmental movement play and stimulating creative content for working with under 5’s.
“It was super useful when thinking of ways I can apply the learning to my practice. I feel much more equipped and inspired when thinking of ways I can work with a younger age group particularly when thinking of sessions that are less didactic.” Dance Transports artist.
We were very grateful to Leeds Dance Partnership for the support of the Yorkshire leg of the project.
Click here to read the announcement at South East Dance’s website.