Peer Leadership Training & Tour 2013

In March, DU Dance commenced a pilot peer leadership training programme for 5 young dancers from different community and cultural backgrounds working towards a new performance piece and workshop for a school & community tour in April/May. Led by Mags, the group worked together intensively, for five full days a week, at the Crescent Arts Centre. Using text from children’s novels about their experiences of World War II the group devised a new performance piece Escape and accompanying workshop.

The tour visited eight schools and two youth groups across Belfast and it is hoped to develop this piece further in the year and to extend the tour beyond Belfast. Feedback from schools and the participants was fantastic.

“I enjoyed the part when they were trying to get on the wall. I enjoyed the part in the workshop when you were trying to hide from the lights because you could sense their fear. I enjoyed the other part because you could tell the fear of the children all those years ago.”

“I enjoyed when they were expressing their feelings when they were dancing. I also enjoyed when we are danced. They were all expressing emotions and feeling. There was no part that I enjoyed least because they were all dancing with passion.”

“I just wanted to thank you for the performance that Du Dance recently brought to Finaghy Primary School. I thought it was outstanding. The pupils, and indeed the staff, were quite mesmerised by the dancing, the soundtrack, the interpretation, and the atmosphere your dancers created.You have some exceptionally talented students, and the choreography was so evocative of moods, thoughts and emotion. Every move had a meaning. A piece like that does not need examination – it is strongly felt, and therefore understood. I don’t think I have seen such an effective blend of contemporary/street/classical dance in a performance before – it was remarkable”.

The young dancers involved in this project also found this to be a rewarding experience:

“I have found that taking part in the project has been greatly beneficial. It has given me the experience of taking on certain responsibilities and working with other people who I will now always consider close friends” (Victoria, Merge Cru)

“This has been very beneficial for me as a dancer and as a person. I have become more consistent at what I do. I have learned a lot about dance and people, creating and expanding my mind and the possibilities I have in life” ( Anton, Merge Cru)