Eleni are delighted to partner with Ballet Cymru on the Duets National Programme. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales, Ballet Cymru have joined creative forces with five community dance organisations throughout Wales to provide opportunities for young people to gain access to inspiring, first-rate ballet tuition and all the benefits that brings.
In north east Wales, professional Eleni practitioners Amanda and Hanna are working in Ysgol Tŷ Ffynnon, Flintshire, following training days held for them by Ballet Cymru to familiarise them with the delivery of the creative ballet syllabus. Not only is this a valuable CPD (continued professional development) opportunity for the Eleni practitioners, but it will facilitate an increase in ballet tuition availability across our working area of north east Wales. Hanna, a green belt in the discipline, has also developed a capoeira syllabus to teach alongside the ballet one. Once the practitioners were acquainted with the ballet syllabus, a three-day residency was held at the school, following which 25 children who showed great promise and fulfilled the pre-established criteria of the project were selected to participate in the two-year scholarship programme. These 25 scholars take part in weekly ballet and capoeira sessions during term-time, with t-shirts and ballet shoes also provided. Feedback so far from the school and parents has been very positive, with benefits such as positive aspirations and increased confidence being cited.
Other highlights of the programme so far include the participants being visited by Ballet Cymru dancers who joined in with that day’s ballet and capoeira sessions led by Hanna and Amanda, and a trip to Theatr Clwyd, Mold, to see Ballet Cymru’s stunning performance of Romeo a Juliet. On the day of the Ballet Cymru dancers’ visit, the children enjoyed being able to demonstrate some of the capoeira movements they had learned, and teach the professionals something in return!
As with all our other projects and classes, the Duets programme has had to be paused during the coronavirus outbreak, at least in its original form. However, whilst the participants and programme leaders can’t meet in person, the Eleni and Ballet Cymru practitioners have been delivering online content, to keep the participants involved and to maintain the progress which has been made so far. Everyone is very much looking forward to the time when the sessions can start again in person.
In addition to the weekly dance sessions, this project incorporates training days, a summer school, dance residencies, performance opportunities and evaluation, and its ultimate goal is to create/nurture a love of dance (particularly ballet) while overcoming barriers created by economic, social or geographical circumstances. Ongoing evaluation will carefully monitor the project and its impact on the participants, to ensure that they have the best possible experience, and to make any necessary improvements for future incarnations of the scheme. This is such a special project and Eleni are thrilled to be a part of it; we would like to say a big thank you to Ballet Cymru for inviting us to partner with them, and to Ysgol Tŷ Ffynnon for their participation. For more details about the Duets programme as a whole, please visit: https://duetsdancewales.com/duets-national-programme.