Derwen College is delighted to have professional dance group Meta4 Dance working with Creative Studies students all this week.
The week will culminate in a performance by selected students on Friday. There is also the amazing opportunity that some of our students may be chosen to accompany the group on their Shropshire tour next year as part of the paid cast.
We asked London-based Meta4 Dance directors Charlie Dunne and Lily Horgan to tell us a little bit more about themselves and their work with Derwen College.
Q. How would you describe Meta4 Dance?
Meta4 Dance is a vibrant dance and physical theatre company. We work to create transparent, provocative, captivating work. We engage audiences young and old through our community outreach work and professional performance inspiring more people to move, explore, create and love dance.
Q. What are you looking forward to most about the week’s workshops?
We are really looking forward to meeting all the students and staff at Derwen. We have been planning this project for a long time and are really excited to get it started and to create some amazing work with the students. We are also looking forward to creating a productive working environment for us all, and see what we can produce with one another.
Q. What made you want to work with us at Derwen College?
We have been aware of Derwen College and the creative team through family members. Charlie’s younger brother Reuben has Downs Syndrome, and lives in Church Stretton. Both Charlie and Reuben grew up in the area so their knowledge of provisions in Shropshire has always existed. When we planned the project and met with the team from Derwen they informed us of all the work they do within the creative studies team, it was very impressive and we knew that it was the right for us.
Q. What was it that first made you fall in love with dance?
Lily: For me from a young age I enjoyed more than just the movement, I enjoyed learning respect, awareness of the body and discipline. Now I am more experienced I am more confident to fully let go and use it as a way to communicate.
Charlie: I have always been very active and love moving in any way I can, I like to push myself and found that dance was a way that I could be creative and physical at the same time. I love finding new ways of moving, of expressing myself and learning from others.
Q. What do you say to people who believe they can’t dance?
We come across a lot of people young and old who believe that they cannot dance. This isn’t true, everyone can dance, in their own way. You might not be able to do a triple pirouette with perfect technique but you can give it a damn good go, and if it’s not right it doesn’t matter. We would encourage everyone to dance, if it means putting on your favourite song in the kitchen on your own, or joining a local dance school, we believe everyone can dance no matter what.
Q. What is your favourite music to dance to?
Lily: it really depends on my mood, but I like a strong bass, and a variety of poly-rhythms. My favourite song at the moment is – ‘Leave a light on’ by Tom walker
Charlie: Same as Lily it depends on how I am feeling, if I’m just improvising I like something that is very powerful and can work with as I move. My favourite song at the moment is ‘Elijah’ House of EL
Q. We are very excited that you are giving five people with learning difficulties the opportunity to join next year’s Shropshire tour as part of the paid cast. Where will the tour be travelling to?
Currently we are still in conversation with various venues and festivals in and around Shropshire, we will be performing at The Silvester Horne Institute, we are in talks with Shrewsbury Kids festival, The Flower show, Ludlow Fringe, Oakengates Theatre and Theatre Severn.
Q. How will you select students for the tour?
We will be looking for people who are open to the ideas that we want to convey in our work, someone who is passionate and a risk taker. Someone who connects with us and the rest of the group, the group dynamic is really important for the project so someone who fits together with the group is key.
Q. Why do you believe it is important to pay our students the same as the professional dancers?
We believe very strongly that no matter who you are or what you do, you should be valued. You should have recognition for what you contribute and the work you put in. This is a value that we hold very close in all that we do. Coming from the arts background we know first-hand the difficulties in being paid for the work that you do. Therefore we can only imagine the struggle for those with learning difficulties. We wouldn’t ever want to not pay someone for working for us as we don’t think that it’s right, so why should that be any different for someone with disabilities?
Q. What do you think students will gain from this amazing work experience opportunity?
We hope the opportunity will give students the chance to not only create but to express themselves in a supportive and safe environment. To work with a professional company and be treated as equals will help them develop as artists. The students will hopefully build their confidence and be able to show to future employers that they have the skills to succeed.