Yorkshire Dance

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Touch by Four Hands

Wed 19 February 2020
Part of: Family Encounters Festival | February 2020
Touch image_ credit Holly Revell Website

With a cast of two professional performers dancing with their own children, and a community cast of families from the local area, Touch explores the themes of connection, intimacy and physical play between parents and their children.

Through a series of playful tasks, Touch invites us to contemplate the multitude of our relationships with one another;

  • How did you feel when you first looked into the eyes of your child?
  • What did they think about you?
  • How much time do you spend with children in your life?
  • What do they learn from you and what can you learn from them?

The work has been developed by Four Hands, a dance company based between West Yorkshire and Brighton, led by co-artistic directors George Fellows and Nick Lawson.

Four Hands primarily provides performance and participatory work for families with young children. George, who moved to West Yorkshire in 2019 has 15 years of experience working with young children and their families before beginning training in dance in 2013. The company utilises this background to inform their practice working with families and creating new works.

Touch, was originally developed and created in 2019 and presented at Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-the Sea and at South East Dance’s Our City Dances Festival in Brighton in June 2019. Having met George after his re-location to Yorkshire and talking about the work and the companies’ plans to re-work Touch with a new professional and local community cast, we realised that this opportunity would be a fantastic fit with our Family Encounters festival in the pipeline for early 2020. We imagined with George what a re-working of Touch for Encounters could look like and Slung Low came on board interested in presenting the work at The Holbeck.

Through an open call out, George and Nick selected Karla Jones and her daughter Naomi and Rachel Dean with her daughter Iris to perform in the work. They are joined by a community cast of 8 children aged 4-6 and their adults from the local area. The lively cast is currently meeting for rehearsals at Yorkshire Dance on Sundays, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to present the final work.

George and Nick of Four Hands say:
“One of the things that has been great to see over the course of this project is the relationships that start to form between different members of the community cast. For a group of people who have never met, it’s really nice to see them start to form friendships that extend beyond the walls of the studio. We also get a lot of comments about how lovely it is for parents to spend some quality time with just one of their kids and how they feel like they are reconnecting with them on a level that is difficult to do in their otherwise busy lives.
We’re continually impressed by people’s commitment to be part of the project. The majority of the community cast came to the rehearsal that took place in the midst of Storm Ciara, battling the elements to get there. We’re also continually surprised by the creativity that they bring. Just when we think we’ve exhausted all of the creative opportunities, somebody always manages to take things to the next level.”

People of all ages are invited to witness this thought-provoking dance performance.

Touch will be presented at:
Yorkshire Dance’s Family Encounters on Sun 1 March at 2pm &
Slung Low’s The Holbeck on Sat 7 March at 11am


​The re-working & presentations of Touch are supported by Leeds Dance Partnership.

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