We would like to share some stories told by previous DUETS Scholars and Professional Placement Students…………
Alexandra is now 14 and was part of the DUETS Scholarship Programme when she was primary school……………
What where you highlights during your time as a DUETS scholar?
Having the opportunity to be taught by Ballet Cymru dancers and to be involved in Summer schools and watching previews of performances.
What have you been involved in since being a DUETS Scholar?
Through being involved with Ballet Cymru I have since enrolled with the Mandy Morris School of Dance based in Cardiff where I attend classes twice weekly. This experience has boosted my self-confidence and extended my love and knowledge of Ballet.
How did completing the DUETS Scholarship programme help you achieve your goals?
It gave me the opportunity to learn a new skill I would otherwise probably not thought of having a go at.
Sara shares her experience of being a participant on the DUETS professional placement programme…….
I had always attended dance classes, and received regular dance tuition as part of my acting training at The Welsh College of Music and Drama. I had performed with Striking Attitudes at Swansea Dance Days before attending the Rubicon on the One Year Preliminary Dance course from 2012-2013, where I was able to add to my portfolio by improving technical skills and adding to my CPD. I was a member of Nurture Creative Dance Theatre based at Rubicon, and performed at The Gate in a piece of choreography entitled ‘ A Dancers’ Tale’, created for us by Jo Fong. I have worked on various pieces as part of NCDT, performing at events such as the Arrive Dance Platform, Wales Dance Platform, and the at the Riverfront Newport. We also received an Arts Council grant for an R and D on a piece entitled ‘The Audition’. Independently, in 2016 I was one half of a duet on a dance R an D project with Eddie Ladd based on the poetry collection ‘Rapture’ by Carol Ann Duffy and directed by Angharad Lee. I was part of the R and D process for Jo Fong’s ‘The Audience’, and was a member of her cast for ‘Ways of being Together’ at Cardiff Dance Festival in November 2017.
The opportunity to be part of the DUETS Professional Placement programme arose during my time attending the Full Time Course at the Rubicon. I was aware of the work that the Rubicon undertook in the community, and had seen Ballet Cymru perform. I was intrigued and eager to learn more about the work they both did, to gain experience of working with different community groups, and to make useful contacts within the industry.
I enjoyed work-shadowing Rubicon dance leaders at curriculum time dance sessions, and one of the highlights was work-shadowing Ballet Cymru’s dancers on their workshops with Hijinx Academy.
If I’d had the opportunity, I would have wanted the work placement to have lasted longer, so that I could have made some more contacts and stronger links-especially with Ballet Cymru. Also, it would be really useful if a placement such as this could lead to further training towards a qualification or an accreditation in teaching within the community dance sector.
I am still a freelance performer, and also teach Pilates and Yoga classes on a regular basis and I still have contact with Rubicon Dance, and occasionally hold Welsh Language support sessions for the dance leaders there. I will shortly be involved in a project with Paul Davies and the Full time Course students, promoting the course itself and signposting young people on the training and career paths in Dance available in Wales. The project will be delivered bilingually in English and Welsh.
DUETS Professional Placement has enabled me to learn more about the excellent outreach work of Rubicon Dance, and have forged strong links with the organisation. I gained the opportunities of attending some fascinating CPD days run by Rubicon and the Wales Wide Training Programme led by inspirational individuals, and was fortunate enough to be awarded a bursary to workshadow Paul-Bayes Kitcher and Fallen Angels Dance Company in Liverpool in 2017.
Caitlin is 14 and at 9 years old she was invited to be one of the DUETS Scholars. Here’s her story……..
Before I became involved with DUETS I really enjoyed sports, especially team sports like football. I was even awarded a certificate from my school for my participation and achievements in sport!! I also attended hip-hop dance classes once a week. Once I became involved in DUETS, I discovered Ballet again. I tried Ballet and Tap when I was 3 years old, but didn’t really like it but when I was in the Ballet class with DUETS, I loved it. They way it was taught was fun and energetic and I knew I wanted to do more!! I was even chosen to dance as part of Ballet Cymru’s production, Cinderella, at the Riverfront Theatre in Newport – such an exciting time!
Once the DUETS programme finished I attended more dance sessions at Rubicon Dance and I also now attend Ballet classes 3 times a week and have achieved my Grade 4! I also volunteer to support the dance leader, Sophie, with one of the youth groups as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award.
I am considering taking dance forward as a career and l would tell the new DUETS Scholars to….. “JUST GO FOR IT!”
Khin is also 14 and was part of the DUETS Scholars for 2 years when she was 10 years old………….
I always danced as part of the regular after school dance class at Moorland Primary led by Rubicon Dance so when I was selected to be a DUETS Scholar I was very excited to be part of another dance group!
DUETS introduced me to a whole new approach to dance, I thought Ballet would be boring but I loved it! I made new friends as the DUETS dance session wasn’t held at my school, we met at Rubicon and young people from other schools were also there. It was lovely to be dancing in a studio, wearing the DUETS t-shirt and learning new styles of dance.
DUETS made me happy – it was a release and helped me deal with the stress of school work. I was a shy girl but DUETS helped me increase my confidence not only in the dance class but in my every day life.
I am now a member of ‘NUBRICO’ the flagship youth dance company for Rubicon Dance. I enjoy creating my own choreography and being part of this group gives me the opportunity to do that. We all work together really well and have different strengths.
My parents are very supportive of me dancing and understand that it is a good way for me to keep fit and healthy and also to have the time away from exam revision and stress is a good thing.
I will always remember DUETS as something that helped me begin my journey and develop my love and passion for dance.
Here’s Louise’s story who was a student on DUETS Professional Placement and is now teaching on the DUETS Scholarship programme and has recently been appointed as Access and Outreach Officer with Ballet Cymru!……….
What were your reasons for becoming involved in DUETS Professional Placement?
I had done four years vocational training during which I had lead some workshops as part of Transitions Dance Company or LC3 on Tour. I had a positive experience in teaching youth groups either in schools or in dance organisations as their excitement and energy gave me more inspiration and motivation when performing to them. I knew that most professional performing work in that moment required dancers to teach workshops and community outreach work as well as perform and so this was an area that I wanted more experience in after graduating. The Professional Placement was a perfect platform for me to gain this experience from highly skilled dance leaders with a lot of knowledge on various community groups.
What were your highlights during the DUETS – Professional Placement?
One of the best things about the Professional Placement for me was having the chance to be part of such a range of community dance sessions. I was able to gain experience with children as young as three years old, adults over 70 years old, and sessions with disabled participants. Throughout the Placement I was particularly interested in the DUETS Scholarship sessions because of the unique approach used and the purpose of the programme and it was great to see the progression of delivery and of the children’s skills over the three months. I also worked well with an over 50s dance session that I have stayed with since and I am now leading the session on a weekly basis among other over 50s sessions.
What would you have changed/what didn’t work for you?
There isn’t anything I can think to change about the placement. Following the 3-month placement it was several months before I was able to continue onto the next step with the apprenticeship because there was not a next step immediately available and then it took a few tries to securing funding for the apprenticeship. The placement was a good length as the fact that it was only 3 months appealed to me approaching it as a professional dancer looking for more experience in community dance, but the experience I gained on the placement did not give me the skills needed to deliver community dance sessions without further training. It would be a good line of progression for future participants if there was the possibility of funding to support further development along this career path if that is what is desired.
How has your career developed?
Up until April 2018 I was leading around 24 sessions on a weekly basis composed of BarreConcept, adult ballet, and community dance, including school curriculum, after school, youth group, over 50’s and disability sessions. In April I started my new role as Access and Outreach officer for Ballet Cymru, a role which will include the DUETS work I am doing at Moorland Primary School but will also give me the opportunity to progress with this project and lead similar workshops as part of the DUETS Residencies happening in North Wales. I will also be involved in the company’s education and outreach work to various participants across Wales and the UK.
How did completing the DUETS – Professional Placement help you achieve your goals?
At the time of doing the Placement I was hoping for more experience in knowing how to deliver outreach work as a dancer. The Placement introduced me to community dance and gave me the chance to see the possibilities this career had for me. It was as a direct result of this Placement that I chose to further my path in community dance and undergo the apprenticeship at Rubicon Dance, which is what has led to me having a full programme as a freelance dancer.