Many alumni will have fond memories of visiting Warwick Arts Centre. Every year hundreds of films are shown there and it is a regular venue for top comedians, bands and the visual arts. It is at the heart of the campus and has been for over 35 years. However, it isn't just one of the largest performing and visual arts complexes outside London, it is also a way for the University to encourage participation in a wide range of art-forms through the use of its resources, facilities and professional expertise.
An exciting example of this is our new project to engage boys and young men with dance. Building on all our previous boys' dance work, we have begun a three year programme of activity commissioned by People Dancing (part of the West Midlands’ Culture Programme for London 2012).
Our aim is to encourage hundreds of boys and young men to experience the challenge, exhilaration, discipline and fun of making and sharing dance. Dance-making will happen in schools, youth centres, pupil referral units and found spaces and will result in performances in theatres and schools as well as site specific work and dance films.
Work on the project has already started with a summer school in Henley in Arden. A group of young men from Henley in Arden High School joined Dave McKenna from Being Frank Physical Theatre and their teacher Fiona Kirk to make a dance film using a found location in Henley. Choreographic work began in school, a location was hunted and found (Henley’s medieval Guild Hall), the dance piece was finalised and the film was shot in a day. The final film, Reading The Space, can be viewed below along with our ‘making of’ film, and is a great start for the project and inspiration for the rest of this year’s work.
Further Boys Dancing work has continued with a week-long residency in the Arts Centre's new creative space. Here 16 young men from across the region worked with Liam Steel of Stan Won’t Dance and Kenny Baraka, an MC/lyricist. You can see video of their exhilirating, energetic and very moving performances below.
Boys Dancing is a People Dancing programme, part of the West Midlands’ Culture Programme for London 2012 funded by Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England West Midlands and Advantage West Midlands. People Dancing uses the inspiration of the London 2012 Games to get as many people as possible dancing in the West Midlands.
Two of the young men involved in our Boys Dancing residency which took place in the new creative space in October 2009 have since learned that they have been accepted into the prestigious Laban Centre for Contemporary Dance. They are due to start their training in September 2010. Well done to both of them.