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A dance workshop with Dan Canham

On the evening of Friday 9 February, whilst most of the school population was heading rapidly for the half-term hills, a group of 20 intrepid Dance and Drama enthusiasts changed into their comfiest trousers and headed instead to Redland Hall for a pretty intense dance workshop.  Most of them approached this with a sense of trepidation, and three hours later everyone left feeling excited, invigorated and inspired.

The workshop was led by Dan Canham. Dan is a Bristol based dancer, choreographer and movement director. He has worked with Kneehigh Theatre Company, the Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre as well as running his own company, Still House. Seeing Still House's Of Riders and Running Horses at Bristol Mayfest in 2015 was such an exciting experience that Ms McCormack has been trying to get Dan into school to work with us ever since - and he is in such high demand that this was literally the first date he had available.

The workshop consisted mainly of what Dan described as "serious play", from a gentle warm-up through some complex steps and Japanese movement techniques, into a particularly esoteric take on the old children's party classic of "Grandmother's Footsteps", the workshop absorbed and challenged every age and ability - from those who have been dancing since the age of three to those who had never done so prior to that very moment.  

This was a great way to end the half term: with Year 9 dancers working alongside A Level Drama students sharing ideas with those who don't study Drama or Dance at all. Everyone had something to offer and something to learn, and throughout it all Dan offered his encouragement, support and expertise until everyone found their inner Billy Elliott.  

And what is particularly exciting is that Dan is now movement director on the new production of A Monster Calls, directed by Sally Cookson and playing at the Bristol Old Vic in May-June this year.  Needless to say, a block booking for Redmaids' High School students has already been made!

Report by Ms McCormack, Head of Drama


Date Posted: 20 February 2018
Arts Extra-Curricular

Articles for: Arts, Extra-Curricular

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