As you know, back in November last year we got in touch asking for you to help us fund Dance Together – our partnership project with Strathmore School, our local school for learners with complex learning needs. Thanks to your generosity we were delighted to reach our target, so we wanted to update you on how it has all been going.
We kickstarted the project in December, when BalletBoyz dancers reunited with the Strathmore students by joining their weekly school disco, and the students coming to Richmond Theatre to watch a dress rehearsal of BalletBoyz’ latest show, Fourteen Days. Then, during the Spring term this year we ran the six-week intensive project. In February, specialists from icandance led Makaton and Communication training which equipped our dancers with the skills to better communicate with the students at Strathmore, particularly learners who may be non-verbal.
Following this, our dancers began the regular visits to the school. This year we were thrilled to bring live music into the sessions. Musician, George Crossland, who has in-depth experience working with young people with special needs, worked with all of the students to create the music tracks used during each class. Also new this year, the students visited BalletBoyz for the first time, dancing in our studios, followed by a special in-studio performance by the company!
Throughout the project all dancers were paired with a fellow student, enabling each child to have 1 to 1 interaction, gradually building confidence and gaining trust. Each session focused on sharing with and learning from each other, creating movement and having fun together. At the end of the intensive, we invited parents, family and friends to come and join us to see what we had been up to.
It’s been so much fun, a real journey for everyone, and we can’t wait to get back to Strathmore School again soon.
We couldn’t have done any of this without your help, so we want to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU!