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Tearaways dance away from trouble

PUBLISHED: 14:45 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:19 16 August 2010

A GROUND-BREAKING performance arts project that benefits hard to reach students has been hailed a success. Twelve 13 to 15-year-olds from Barn End Pupil Referral Unit, near Dartford, were given the chance to create their own 30-minute piece of dance thea

A GROUND-BREAKING performance arts project that benefits hard to reach students has been hailed a success.

Twelve 13 to 15-year-olds from Barn End Pupil Referral Unit, near Dartford, were given the chance to create their own 30-minute piece of dance theatre at Hextable Dance centre.

The project is part of Protein Dance's nationwide Real Life Real Dance programme, a social inclusion strand of activity which aims to encourage disadvantaged groups to engage through dance.

A key aim was to encourage the learning of life skills such as collaboration, team building and responsibility, with the end performance held last Thursday.

Protein Dance, has an established reputation for dance theatre productions and outreach projects within complex and challenging settings.

Luca Silvestrini, artistic director of Protein Dance, said: "It was an intense, amazing journey that proved that dance and performance can keep young people out of problems and nurture confidence and positive life skills"

During the two-week programme of workshops the youngsters considered their own disruptive behaviour alongside the issues, concerns and difficulties they face in their everyday lives.

One of the participants, Katy Louise, 14, said that she has learnt valuable skills from the course and was delighted to have shown people what she can achieve.

She said: "I learned a lot from this project such as co-operation, respect and trust, and had a chance to prove myself to everyone"

It was funded by the Monument Trust and Rayne Foundation with support from Hextable Dance and the North West Kent Behaviour Service.

Although it is the first time the unit and Hextable Dance have worked together they intend to carry out more joint projects to support young people with sometimes complicated and difficult lives.

Julie Cresswell, acting deputy head, North West Kent Behavioural Service, said: "The pupils we have at our centre all have behavioural difficulties in some way.

"They have managed to dedicate more time and effort into this project than they probably have shown in their education over the last few years.

"We are very proud of the journey they have managed to take - they should be extremely proud of themselves

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