Time flies when you’re in the groove!

Jess spills the beans below on her first year with Chol!

Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, time stays, we go! And we’ve been go, go, going since my first day as a Cholette fledgling!  And what a year it has been…from ‘Sticklebacks and Swingboats’ in my first week to ‘Run of the Mill’ my feet have barely touched the ground – and I ain’t complaining! My first year with Chol has been full of wondrous and extraordinary people, projects and places. To say this year has flown is a bit of an understatement, so I’d love to share with you a few memorable moments from my first year with Chol…

Last October, I got to work with a group of amazing young people from North Huddersfield Trust School, creating a dance piece ‘Switch’ as part of ‘Our Biennale’. We worked together for 8 weeks ending in a dynamic and spectacular performance for the finale at the town hall. I was so inspired by the confidence and creativity of these young dancers who performed with such zest and tenacity. They are definitely ones to watch and it was an absolute pleasure to work with them!

In January, we worked with community groups in Rotherham to create ‘Escape Realms’ a scare-tastic multimedia takeover of a large youth club. It was great to be part of the ‘Equal Players’ team, working to co-create with the young residents of Rotherham. As choreographer we made zombie movement phrases and built up the characters the young people had created in the script – soldiers, the missing, doctors and scientists. I was so proud of the young actors, dancers and musicians when they finally shared their work in two two sell-out performances. 

As the lead on our Early Years Imaginary Communities programme, I loved working with the fabulous bunch at Ashbrow Primary School, Huddersfield, researching and exploring how IC looks in an early year setting with their wonderful reception classes! The findings from our research are going to be remarkable and I was humbled to see the children’s confidence and imagination grow week by week. Looking forward to getting back there after Christmas. 

Another standout performance was from the inspirational women at Womenzone in Bradford on ‘Shaadi Masala – A Woman’s Voice’. The integrity and candour of the women is something I will never forget. Their sincerity, commitment and openness to new things made for an absolutely exceptional performance which will be forever etched in my mind. Not to mention the unbelievably tasty cuisine we were greeted with at the end of each session, fabulous generosity all round! 

I could go on and on but the sentiment would be the same… working with Chol feels captivating and significant. Whether it’s story clubs, performances or imaginary communities, our ‘equal players’ philosophy shines through. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into our upcoming projects for 2020 and to meeting all the inspirational young people and others I’ve yet to meet…if this next year is anything like the last I know it will be a good one! 

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