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Wales Commissions

In celebrating and reflecting the unique history, culture and infrastructure of community dance in Wales, the host nation of the first People Dancing international event, we commissioned four artists / organisations in Wales to develop their practice and in three cases, create new performance works to be shared at the event.

Supported by Arts Council Wales, these performance commissions provided developmental experience for artists in Wales through creative partnerships with international dance artists who work in communities across the world. By working creatively with a dedicated international artist, the commissioned artists in Wales were supported to create new dance performance work with people in community settings.

The four Wales Commissions projects are:

  • Lisa Spaull
  • Dawns Powys Dance - Joanna Young
  • TAN Dance - Leila Bebb, Catherine Coombs and Carol Brown
  • Cai Tomos
Lisa Spaull

Lisa Spaull, a freelance choreographer and performer from Llandudno, North Wales created a work with children and their parents based on sealife creatures. Using her experience of creating professional work and leading sessions for the community, particularly children’s dance at Venue Cymru where she is a Creu Cymru Dance Buddy, Lisa will guide the participants through an interactive creative process with a visual artist and musician.

Developing on her interest with intergenerational dance work, Lisa recruited participants from the area through existing members of a popular storytelling group at Venue Cymru.<

Venue Cymru supported the creation of the performance work with rehearsal space in support of Lisa as a Dance Buddy, and with a first performance for the local community in advance of People Dancing.

Lisa will be working with Bronja Novak Lindblad, an artist in residence at Danstationen, Malmo, Sweden. Bronja has developed a portfolio of projects and performance work for children and families, including presentations at the SALTO Festival for young audiences in Sweden.

A film of the performance as presented at People Dancing, the international event, will appear here in early 2015.

Find out more about the commission through Lisa’s website and gallery.

Dawns Powys Dance

Joanna Young, a Cardiff-based dance artist with extensive experience of working with communities across Wales and producing her own professional work, worked with participants from Dawns Powys Dance. Joanna collaborated with Portugese composer Felipe Sousa and British film maker Simon Clode. The creative team worked to create a movement installation using the Dark Sky Zone and Dark Sky Reserve status given to areas of Powys as their stimulus. The status awards recognise the low light pollution in the area making for excellent visibility of star constellations.

Joanna used her experience of working with Dawns Powys Dance community groups to create a cast of 8 people combined of young people from Powys Youth Dance Company and older people from Senior Moment(um). Working directly with the three collaborators, the participants’ stories were reflected through the installation with film, sound and their own live performance.

Through this collaborative researching and devising process, Joanna developed her own practice and the participant experience of a creative process. The work was presented as an installation with three live performance periods at the People Dancing international event to allow a larger number of delegates to experience it, and the ‘dress rehearsal’ of the work was opened to an audience of participant family and friends / public in Llandrindod Wells in advance.

View the trailer for the commission below and find more information on the Dawns Powys Dance website, Joanna and Felipe’s websites, and the Dawns Powys Dance Facebook page.

TAN Dance

TAN Dance, based in Neath, Port Talbot had three of its artists work with Onil Vizcaino from Spain to develop their work with young people and adults who have Down's Syndrome or other learning disabilities.

TAN Dance Director, Carol Brown developed the commission application to have two associate TAN artists, Leila Bebb and Catherine Coombe work with her to research and adopt the methodology of Onil. Working within a residential centre for young people with Downs Syndrome, Onil runs Asi Somos, a dance performance company who focus on choreographic and performance quality.

Through research and development time with Onil in Wales, Leila, Catherine and Carol observed, queried and developed their ideas and studio-based practice to achieve a higher quality, more rewarding choreographic and performance experience for their participants.

A film of the performance as presented at People Dancing, the international event, will appear here early in 2015.

Find out more about TAN Dance here.

Cai Tomos

Cai Tomos, a freelance choreographer and performer from Dolgellau, North Wales and based in London built upon his previous learning under the mentorship of Anna Halprin, the founder of the Tamalpa Method and deepened his understanding of the Tamalpa methodology through further training and mentoring.

Cai will applied this learning during regular monthly workshops with CAIN, the older people’s dance group he leads at Galeri, Caernarfon, during and beyond this 2014 Wales Commission. Galeri is supporting Cai’s work with CAIN in his capacity as a Creu Cymru Dance Buddy with the venue.

The first part of Cai’s commission activity was a residential programme in France in August 2014, with G. Hoffman Soto, a Senior Associate of the Tamalpa Institute, California who has been teaching in the training programs at Tamalpa Institute since its inception in 1978. As a collaborator at the Institute, he has contributed to the evolving nature of the Tamalpa Life/Art Process. Soto teaches Somatics and Experiential Anatomy at New College of California and has taught internationally since 1979. He also leads a yearly training program in Germany called Awareness in Movement, and has been a regular teacher at the Institute Gestalt Wurzburg since 1981.

Following this residential programme and in his sessions with CAIN, Cai received mentoring support from Lian Wilson, Creative Director with Tamalpa UK and a certified Movement Therapist RSMT and Movement Educator RSME with ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association). Lian is a Tamalpa Practitioner, Dancer and Associate of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, and is a respected and internationally established Tamalpa teacher. She visited Cai and the CAIN group in Caernarfon in October 2014.

Cai shared his learning and spoke about his broad experience of working with older people at People Dancing, and presented the film CAIN (Elegant, Intricate), which is also available to view here.

Find out more about Cai’s work here.

For more information on the commissioning process or the availability of these works or the artists for performance, workshop or conference opportunities, please contact richard@communitydance.org.uk.