What is Welland?
Summertime is performance time for dance groups! It seems like every week I have a different one of my community groups performing. I’ve spent most of June putting the final touches to a dance performed by thirty seven-year-old ‘Vikings’ in a school hall, or doing buns in 10 different dancer’s hair before they go onstage. One of my favourite memories from June will be the performance of our ‘Stories in Motion’ children’s group at ‘Compassion in Action’ for Refugee Week, complete with colourful ribbons and big, bright smiles all round.
I’m also very excited to write about Welland, our event on 29th July that includes an opportunity for the community to perform with us!
Welland is a very special showcase event supporting wellbeing in Elland by focusing on mental health and the arts. We’ve already started planning an uplifting day of activities to bring the community together – this wonderful drawing was created by artist Alex Abel after our most recent Sounding Board gathering, capturing all our thoughts about the day!
The morning of Welland will be workshops and taster sessions of a variety of creative wellbeing activities, followed by an afternoon of performances and sharings, including the premiere of three short dance films, and a preview of our community exhibition. There’ll be some lovely food too!
Another highlight of the afternoon will be this very special dance performance, a collaboration between professional dancers and Elland community members. We’d love for you to get involved!
We’ll create the performance together in a 5 day dance intensive leading up to Welland.
Every adult of any age and ability is welcome, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never had experience in dance performance before. The process will be accessible, and designed to make everybody feel safe and connected. Plus, not only is it absolutely free, but Curious Motion can cover your travel expenses and provide lunch every day!
Getting involved in the arts is a fantastic way to look after your mental health, so much so that it’s part of the programme of support provided by the Mental Health Foundation. Dancing in particular is a way for us to express ourselves, and to communicate without having to say a word. The Mental Health Foundation website says:
‘…engaging in the arts, social activities and interaction within our communities can help with major challenges, such as ageing and loneliness. It can help to boost confidence and make us feel more engaged and resilient. Besides these benefits, art engagement also alleviates anxiety, depression and stress.’
There’s also something fantastic about that feeling that comes from a creating and sharing a performance, the sense of accomplishment that comes with gathering the courage to share something you have created with an audience. Every time I do it, or a group of people I have worked with perform, I’m reminded of this joy, and why I do the job I do.
At Curious Motion we’re also re-imagining what ‘professional’ dance is and who it’s for – ensuring that anyone can be part of a professionally created and organised performance opportunity, regardless of their dance experience level or background. Dance is an innate part of human experience, existing in communities around the world for centuries as a core way to express experiences and cultures. So, we think it’s important to ensure all people who would like to experience making and performing professional dance work can do so, and that they can do this together, rather than separating people by their experience level. This way we get to really allow our curiosity to run free, opening up possibilities and experiences that we might otherwise miss out on.
So, this is for everyone and it’s not about how well you can dance or what you’ve done before – if you want to express yourself through dance and movement, make connections with others, build your confidence, and look after your wellbeing this way, then this is for you! Here’s some dates for your diary:
- 5 day dance intensive: Monday 24th to Friday 28th July, 10am. – 4pm each day (there is some flexibility with timings if needed)
- Welland: 10am – 4pm on Sat 29th July, and we’ll be sharing our performance towards the end of the afternoon.
Both the intensive and Welland will take place in Sykes Hall, Southgate Church, Langdale Street, Elland, HX5 0JL.
If you’d like to take part in the dance intensive to perform in the Welland showcase, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org . We can answer any questions you might have too.
Welland is going to be a fantastic chance to share art, performance, and the stories of you, the Elland community. I’m so excited to make something really special in collaboration with this wonderful community, and perform together in a celebration of connection. Bring on 29th July!