11 March 2014
• Boys Dancing in the Black Country showcase performances at Wednesbury Town Hall on 17 March 7 pm and at Dudley Town Hall on 27 March 6:30 p.m.
• Boys Dancing is a project led by Warwick Arts Centre which aims to get boys and young men into dance.
• Over 200 boys from schools and colleges in Sandwell and Dudley will dance together in Wednesbury and Dudley Town Halls
Two of the Black Country’s most historic town halls are set for a takeover by swarms of dancing boys from local schools, as Boys Dancing and Black Country Dance Hub bring showcase performances to Wednesbury and Dudley Town Halls in March.
The performances are the result of three months’ Boys Dancing work with 10 schools and colleges across Sandwell and Dudley, where professional male dance artists have worked with boys and young men - a large number of whom have never danced before - to devise their shows.
Boys Dancing has been running dance activities for boys since 2005, and aims to prove to boys and young men that dance is exciting, fun, challenging and something that is definitely for them, rather than just for girls. Boys Dancing provides opportunities for boys and young men of all abilities and backgrounds across the West Midlands and is currently running projects in Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire as well as in the Black Country, where, for the first time, 2013-2014 activity brings Sandwell and Dudley groups together under the umbrella of the Black Country Dance Hub.
Across the region, this year’s projects have all focussed on the concept of ‘avoidance’. In Dudley, the boys are exploring individuality: what makes each of us unique? Should we celebrate our differences or hide them away? Should we avoid standing out from the crowd or shout out loud about what each of us can offer?
Chris Bradley, one of the choreographers working with boys from Dudley, reveals the significance of individuality as a subject matter for young men:
“This year’s theme being 'avoidance', the other choreographers and I spent some time thinking about subjects that men and boys avoid. We talked a lot about what we avoided when we were young and began to realise that, as young men interested in dance, the very thing that made us individual and different we avoided rather than celebrating. And so, individuality and the differences between us became our subject matter.
“As I began working with the lads in school, many of them revealed concerns that enforcing our individuality might make us separate and lonely. One young gent revealed to me quietly that he is trained in and competes at Ballroom dancing, however, he was reluctant to allow me to include some of this in the piece we were creating. Though the room was filled with boys and men participating in dance, he was still slightly embarrassed about his skills – a feeling I remember, and one that reiterates the importance of projects like Boys Dancing.”
Sandwell boys will also be showcasing work based on avoidance on 17 March, putting together a showcase that explores the things we avoid saying, ways we skirt around subjects or how distract ourselves from saying how we really feel, through physical theatre, props and dance.
For many of the lads this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with a professional choreographers and perform in a historic venue, and both nights in March look set to be unforgettable.
For further information about Boys Dancing please see boysdancing.org or contact:
Warwick Arts Centre
University of Warwick
024 7657 4786 / 7615 1793
For Black Country project information and updates, see boysdancing.org/projects/black-country
For a downloadable Boys Dancing Press and Media Pack, please visit boysdancing.org/press/press-pack
Notes to editors
Boys Dancing is led by Warwick Arts Centre and Beingfrank Physical Theatre and has two simple aims:
•To prove to boys and young men, who think that dance is just for girls, that through exciting, creative work that inspires and energises, dance could be something that is most definitely for them.
•To create dance opportunities for boys of all abilities, all backgrounds and from all communities thereby recognising, reflecting and celebrating the rich diversity of the West Midlands.
Warwick Arts Centre
Based in Coventry in the West Midlands and sitting on the campus of the University of Warwick, Warwick Arts Centre is one of the most significant presenters and co-producers of contemporary performing and visual arts in the UK, with a programme including theatre, classical music, live art, dance, music, literature, comedy, family events and visual art. Warwick Arts Centre’s work is avowedly contemporary and international in scope and dimension.
Beingfrank Physical Theatre
Beingfrank Physical Theatre creates breathtaking expressive and intensely physical performance often in collaboration with other artists and art forms. Set up in 2004 to inspire young men to dance, Beingfrank continues to stimulate and engage audiences of all ages with its distinctive raw physicality.
Black Country Dance Hub
The Black Country Dance Hub (BCDH) aims to deliver a vibrant, coordinated dance programme for young people supported by a team of informed and connected Dance Hub Contacts to inspire, inform, engage, consult, guide, empower and signpost young people to continued opportunity by raising aspiration and providing a rich dance offer.
Schools and colleges performing:
Wodensborough Ormiston Academy
Old Hill Primary School
Brockmoor Primary School
Queen Victoria Primary School
Halesowen CE Primary School
Coseley High School
Holly Hall Academy
Choreographers working on the project in the Black Country:
Chris graduated from De Montfort University and has performed with Mercurial Dance, Springs Dance Company, Mobius Dance Theatre, KeiraDance, Parlor Dance and has also toured nationally with The Mission. Chris's work is based in Contemporary dance, but he is also trained in physical theatre and aerial work. Chris has also been teaching for over a decade, delivering classes and educational work to pupils and professionals alike.
Oliver Scott is the Artistic Director of Mercurial Dance. He is also guest lectures in Performing Arts at De Montfort University and Coventry University, combining this with the youth and educational work of his company. He has choreographed and directed a number of films and shows with young people.
Ben was initially a participant in Boys Dancing projects. He graduated in Dance from Coventry University and is now working as a choreographer on Boys Dancing.
11 March 2014