In a busy office on the top floor of the Laban building, the Learning and Participation (Dance) Department plans and manages a diverse range of inclusive dance activities and programmes. 

The team works seven days a week, in and out of the office and studio, with people of all ages and abilities. Many dance practitioners are also involved facilitating the countless activities that run throughout the year.

The department takes pride in providing dance for people from all walks of life and Nick, the department’s graduate intern, has the fantastic opportunity of gaining an insight into all of these different projects. This term is especially busy with events galore!

Trinity Laban Youth Dance Programme, Photo: Rachel Cherry
Trinity Laban Youth Dance Programme, Photo: Rachel Cherry

Some projects are made possible through the Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban Partnership. Since 2012, the two organisations have worked together and managed events such as Co Motion – Inclusive Youth Dance Platform, which includes a variety of mixed-ability dance groups and companies, such as Cando2, Magpie Dance and participants from local Greenwich and Lewisham schools.

This year, the partnership is hosting the London Regionals for U Dance 2015, for the first time. U Dance is an annual festival run by Youth Dance England, drawing together some of the best youth dance work from across the country. At this event, two groups will be selected for the U Dance 2015 national festival in July.

Throughout the week at Trinity Laban, young people slide, pop and roll in the Youth Dance Programme, adults attend the Adult Short Courses and the over 60’s enjoy Retired Not Tired classes.

In schools across London, dance taster days take place giving young people an insight into some of the activities at the Laban Building. In Lewisham, there is Bellingham Beats, a free dance programme for 8-12 year olds; and an over 60’s All Singing All Dancing class, which experiments with music and dance. Alongside these activities health projects are led by the Learning and Participation team, visiting hospitals across London, as well as classes at the Laban Building.

Retired Not Tired performing at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Summer 2014
Retired Not Tired performing at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Summer 2014

At the weekend, the building may be busier than during the week! Children’s classes, for 2 ½ to 14 years, more adult classes and the Centre of Advanced Training (CAT) Scheme keeps all of the studios full on a Saturday.

The CAT Scheme at Trinity Laban is part of a national programme which provides intensive dance training for gifted and talented people between the ages of 13 and 16. Applications to join the scheme in September 2015 are now open and there are open days in March for more information about the programme.

Veronica Jobbins, the Head of the Learning and Participation (Dance) Department, says: “Our programme of activities includes over 7,000 people of all ages each year. Many come to dance for the sheer fun and enjoyment of taking part, others for their health. For some, Trinity Laban has opened up professional opportunities – it’s wonderful when people come back to see us who have gone on to a career in dance.”

There is also the opportunity for students to study for a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Training for Children and Young People (DDTAL). DDTAL is a Level 6 Diploma accredited by Trinity College London and is part of the Learning and Participation (Dance) Continuous Professional Development programme. These Specialist Training Days are delivered to further dance practitioners’ knowledge and expertise in dance teaching.

Before winding down for summer, there is a Dance Summer School at the end of July, with two weeks of intensive training from Trinity Laban teachers and established professional artists. The course includes classes in a range of styles and creative techniques, as well as a comprehensive programme of events and social activities throughout, such as performances in the Laban Theatre, specialist seminars and talks about full time training from programme leaders. Booking for this is now open and places fill up fast!

Summer School, Photo: James Keates
Summer School, Photo: James Keates

Over the course of the next three months Nick will be discussing the different areas covered by the Learning and Participation department. This includes Children and Young People, Continuous Professional Development and Health Projects. Below are dates of performances and opportunities in March:

4 – 5 March: Lewisham Dance Showcase, the Broadway Theatre (Catford) – Part of Lewisham Live

14 and 22 March: CAT Open Day – come along and learn more about the Trinity Laban CAT scheme for 13-16 year olds.

17 March: Live at Trinity Laban, the Laban Theatre – Part of Lewisham Live, including a specially commissioned piece by internationally renowned choreographer Kerry Nicholls on the Live at Trinity Laban Performance Company, and musicians from Animate Orchestra with composer Patrick Bailey

24 March: Co Motion – Inclusive Youth Dance Platform, the Laban Theatre, including a collaboration from Trinity Laban Youth Dance Company and Cando2 (Candoco’s Youth Company)

28 March: Children’s Show, the Laban Theatre – showcasing work from Children Classes participants.

by Nick Kyprianou

Wonderful Team

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