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Looking back at Family Encounters

Wed 25 March 2020
Part of: Family Encounters Festival | February 2020
To the Beat of a Different Drum, co-produced by RJC Dance and Yorkshire Dance. Photography: David Lindsay.

“I haven’t stopped smiling! Wonderful to be here to do something as a whole family”

Thank you to the 300 or so families and artists who joined us for our recent Encounter festival. We look back on it with immense joy. In the words of one of the young attenders “IT WAS EPIC”.

An absolute highlight was the stunning duet danced by father and son Des Gestes Blancs (Naïf production / Sylvain Bouillet) and the accompanying workshop. 

“What a treat to spend the morning at  Family Encounters. My son and I absolutely LOVED the father & son workshop. Proper creative bonding time. Son didn’t want to leave.” 

Families also really enjoyed MaPPAMoNDO (Dadodans | Gaia Gonnellia) beautifully performed, sweet and funny duet between a dancer and musician who play, become friends, fall-out and make up again whilst making sounds and dancing with bark, sand, water and pebbles. 

“The 2 pieces we saw at Encounters were fabulous, I had two very happy amazed 4 year olds who thought it was all “WOW”…”

The main aim of this event was not only to put on some great performances ‘for children’ but to create a space for children and their grown-ups to explore play, trust and connection whilst figuring out what happens when you change the rules. That rule-breaking included young people from the street crew teaching a workshop to adults and curating a film screening. The premiere of To The Beat Of a Different Drum, a new intergenerational work led by T.C. Howard and her team, brought together by young RJC dancers and older adults. 

“I loved ‘To The Beat of a Different Drum’. It was so lovely to see different generations showing respect for each other and dancing harmoniously. I really felt like I saw each individuals character in the work and it was mesmerising. Well done!”

Touch, by Four Hands Company, feauturing a local cast of 10 parents and their children (aged 3-6) was a gentle, poetic invitation to observe small children interacting playfully in structured improvisations with their parents. Alongside the many packed workshops, families enjoyed chilling out to dance-films and dived into making puppets and masks with the lovely artist Sandy Holden. The festival really catered best for families with small children but despite this 17 children got their Arts Award . Some families actually joined us for two whole days! 

So did we achieve our aim? Well we certainly loved the quality of the work and the new encounters between children and their adults: 

“It was great” (boy, aged 7) It was a fantastic session – so brilliant to be able to spend quality time with my son. More please! (parent)

“Fantastic, I look forward to Encounters 2021!”

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