Dance workshops at Collyer’s are a step in the right direction

Picture by Chris Parkes (Stopgap Dance Company)
Picture by Chris Parkes (Stopgap Dance Company)

Collyer’s in Horsham have linked up with Stopgap Dance Company to deliver a series of exciting, inclusive dance workshops for disabled and non-disabled dancers aged 16-25.

he partnership is supported by Sussex Arts Academy.

Starting in the autumn term, professional dancers from Stopgap will lead a weekly performing arts course with the emphasis on developing dance skills and working towards a performance for the Horsham Year of Culture.

Collyer’s dance teacher Hayley Ovens said: “The project aims to bridge a gap in performing arts training for young people leaving post-16 education. Collyer’s offer local school QEII performing arts enrichment for their students with additional needs and we have identified a need for further opportunities to in this area.

“Stopgap are currently developing an inclusive dance teaching syllabus, IRIS, to nurture the disabled dancers of tomorrow. We hope the programme will get young people thinking about potential progression routes and careers in performing arts, and give them the tools they need to achieve it.”

During the summer young dancers from the Horsham community enjoyed a free taster workshop with Stopgap artists Chris Pavia and Christian Brinklow. They participated in fun physical warm-ups, technical exercises, creative tasks and constructed their own choreography with support from the facilitators.

Collyer’s Andrea John, assistant principal, said: “What a fantastic opportunity for both our students and young dancers in the local community. We are very excited to be a part of it.”

Collyer’s deputy principal Steve Martell said: “We have an outstanding Dance department here at Collyer’s and I’m thrilled that we are forging close links with fantastic organisations like Stopgap and Sussex Arts Academy.”

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