Young people from eight Merton schools performed at the Rambert Experience Day hosted by the renowned national Rambert dance company at the Royal Festival Hall.
One hundred and seventy-five 9 to 16 years-olds danced at the Royal Festival Hall’s Clore Ballroom on London’s Southbank to a 250-strong audience.
Supported by the Taylor Family Foundation, the young people took part in seven weekly workshops at their schools to create a performance inspired by Rambert’s repertoire of contemporary dance works. This year, the chosen works were Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances and Itzik Galili’s A Linha Curva. Pupils from Ursuline High School, Rutlish School, St Mark’s Academy, Raynes Park High School, Links Primary School, Bond Primary School and special educational needs schools, Perseid and Cricket Green School, all then showcased their work in a performance at the Clore Ballroom.
The workshops and performance are part of The Rambert Imprints schools programme of dance, performance and learning activity and give young people experience in working with a professional performing arts company.
Merton Council’s cabinet member for education Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our young people to get involved in performance arts, to work alongside professional dancers and choreographers and to perform at the acclaimed Southbank Centre with a dance company of international standing. It is an experience that I am sure will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Taking part in initiatives like this can spark a love of the arts in children and could even lead to some of them becoming professional performers in the future.”
Head of Learning and Participation at Rambert, Julia Fitzelle said: “Rambert has a deep commitment to working with young people, using the company’s rich history to inspire creativity and expression. The aim of the Imprints programme is not only to give high quality learning experiences but also to broaden horizons, seeking to engage those for whom taking part can be the most meaningful way of connecting with dance. Thanks to the support from the Taylor Family Foundation, we have been able to continue working with Merton for a third year. It has been wonderful to celebrate the diverse cultures of the schools and participants involved, one of whom described the experience as ‘Triple spectacular, double awesome, stupendous, wonderful, unique.’”
Quotes from participants:
Participant, Cricket Green School: “How would you sum up the project? – Triple spectacular, double awesome, stupendous, wonderful, unique.”
Participant, Links Primary School: “I would definitely do this again, it’s the best thing ever!”
Participant, Links Primary School: “Life changing moments!”