Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru – in collaboration with Literature Wales, Adra (Tai/Housing) and the lead artist Iola Ynyr – are delighted to announce a year of activity for people affected by addiction through the project Ar y Dibyn. This new development has been made possible thanks to the support of the programme HARP ( Health, Arts, Research, People), financed by the Arts Council of Wales, and Y Lab (Cardiff University and Nesta).
Ar y Dibyn gives people affected by addiction – whether they themselves are living with addiction, or supporting other people with their addiction – the opportunity to come together and share those stories in a creative way and through the medium of Welsh. With the artists Iola Ynyr and Mirain Fflur at the helm, the aim of the workshops is to promote creativity to celebrate the possibilities of addiction, rather than the obstacles it presents, and to develop heart-felt creative work to share more widely. Iola Ynyr, lead artist and founder of Ar y Dibyn, said: “It’s a pleasure to begin another series of Ar y Dibyn workshops within a year of activity funded by HARP. It takes great courage to participate in activities such as these after periods of isolation in the grips of addiction. But we offer an environment of acceptance without having to reveal any details. Creativity is the tool we will be using to open the door to our inner treasure. We look forward to discovering what will be created by our participants over the coming year!”
This year of activity will expand on earlier projects held face to face at Galeri, Caernarfon, and on-line during the lockdown periods. One participant who took part in a workshop at the end of 2020 said: “Fear held me in a tight grip, and I didn’t mention to a living soul apart from my husband that I was attending the workshops. Fear, shame, nervousness… but by the end I was looking forward to the next session. I hadn’t realised that there was an intention to create a film or script or anything – I had no end goal in sight, I just wanted to give myself some time and space to recover, to be in a room with people who were similar to me, people who understood, and to have the opportunity and the permission, in a way, to be myself, in my own language.”
With support from the North Wales Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse, Adferiad Recovery and Stafell Fyw, Ar y Dibyn also highlights the importance of the relationship between the arts and the fields of health and well-being, and responds to the need to develop the support that is available through the medium of Welsh. Professional health specialists are at hand in every creative session to give support as required. Rhian A. Davies, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Executive Producer, said:
“We are very grateful for this grant provided by Nesta, as part of their HARP (Health, Arts, Research, People) scheme, to develop the Ar y Dibyn project that gives people throughout Wales living with addiction an opportunity to come together to share their stories in a creative way and through the medium of Welsh. Our ambition is for the project to become permanent – in collaboration with partners in the health, care and third sectors, both current and new – and to show the importance of the role of the arts in recovery and health, and the health and well-being of Welsh-speakers.”
The HARP programme also focuses on giving the arts an opportunity to play a leading role in the health and well-being of the people of Wales. Rosie Dow, HARP’s Programme Manager for the Arts and Health, said:
“We’re delighted to be working with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Iola and their partners to explore how Ar y Dibyn can reach as many people affected by addiction as possible. We know that there is a need for Welsh-language creative interventions to support people’s recovery and wellbeing, and the team’s combination of passion and expertise will really help to change peoples’ lives for the better. HARP is all about how innovative projects like this can grow and become embedded in health and care in the long term, so we look forward to exploring with the team how that might be possible.”
The first series of Ar y Dibyn workshops in this new year of activity started on 6 July 2021 – but a warm welcome is extended to any participants or artists who are interested in joining the project. Go to theatr.cymru/arydibyn for information.
Coreograffwyr yng Nghymru yn creu darnau dawns byrion i’w perfformio yn yr awyr agored yr haf hwn.
Mae Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru (CDCCymru) yn eich gwahodd i ymuno â nhw am berfformiad awyr agored 45 munud o hyd ac i ailddarganfod llawenydd dawns yr haf hwn.
Bydd CDCCymru: Perfformiad Awyr Agored yn cynnwys dau lais dawns cyffrous. Mae dau o ddawnswyr cwmni CDCCymru, Ed Myhill a Faye Tan, wedi bod yn datblygu eu lleisiau coreograffig dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf ac wedi bod yn archwilio’r syniad o greu darnau ar gyfer yr awyr agored mewn gwahanol leoliadau yng Nghymru.
Mae Faye Tan wedi bod yn gweithio gyda dawnswyr CDCCymru i greu darn dawns newydd, llawn egni – Moving is everywhere, forever. Dyma gerdd foddhaus i’r weithred o ddawnsio; gwahoddiad i ildio i’r awydd cryf i symud i gerddoriaeth y trac sain gan y ddau artist cerddoriaeth electronig o Gymru, Larch.
Dywedodd Faye, “Dechreuodd ‘Moving is everywhere, forever’ fel gwaith ymchwil i’r syniad o ddawns o foddhad a chatharsis fel ffordd o wahodd cynulleidfaoedd i symud gyda’r dawnswyr, ac ildio i’w greddf naturiol i symud i’r curiad. Roedd hefyd yn archwilio’r syniad fod dawns yn gallu bodoli ar unrhyw adeg, yn unrhyw le.
Wrth feddwl am osod y darn yn yr awyr agored, roedd hynny’n rhoi rheswm cryf i’r darn fod yn fentrus o ran y ffordd mae’r perfformwyr yn cysylltu â’r cynulleidfaoedd a’r ffordd maent yn croesawu elfennau newidiol amgylchedd awyr agored yn hyderus ac yn naturiol; cadarnhad nad oes rhaid i ddawns fod wedi’i gyfyngu i amgylcheddau rheoledig, dan do, nac i amser penodol o’r dydd.
Mae wedi bod yn brofiad anhygoel o dwf a llawenydd i bawb sydd wedi bod yn rhan ohono, ac rydym wedi cyffroi o gael cyfle i gyfnewid egni â chynulleidfa yng ngolau dydd yn ystod ein perfformiadau.”
Yn ogystal â chreu perfformiad dawns newydd, mae CDCCymru wedi bod yn ailwampio eu darn poblogaidd, Why Are People Clapping!?ar gyfer yr awyr agored. Mae ‘Why Are People Clapping!?’ gan Ed Myhill yn ddarn dawns calonogol, digrif a chlyfar tu hwnt sydd wedi’i osod i ‘Clapping Music’ gan Steve Reich, ac mae’n defnyddio rhythm fel grym ysgogi. Mae’r dawnswyr yn clapio, stampio a neidio i greu’r trac sain byw. Mae’r cyfan yn 13 munud hwyliog, llawn tynnu ‘stumiau a thapio traed.
Dywedodd Ed Myhill, un o ddawnswyr CDCCymru a’r un a greodd Why Are People Clapping!?, “Mae addasu Why Are People Clapping!? ar gyfer yr awyr agored wedi bod yn broses heriol ond cyffrous. Rydyn ni wedi gorfod ail-fowldio ein hunain i weddu i amgylcheddau mwy agored ac ansefydlog. Heb ein gallu arferol i ddefnyddio golau a sain, yn ogystal ag agor dwy ochr ychwanegol ar gyfer y gynulleidfa, mae’r gwaith creadigol wedi bod yn heriol o ran ystyried sut i ailddychmygu’r darn hwn. Er bod cyfyngiadau wedi codi mewn mannau, rwyf wedi cael fy ngorfodi i fynd ar drywydd gwahanol sydd wedi datgelu posibiliadau eraill gwych, ac mae’n deimlad cyffrous gallu cydweithio â’r dawnswyr i ddatgelu’r syniadau hyn. Rwyf wrth fy modd gyda’r llwyfaniad newydd hwn ar gyfer yr awyr agored, sydd hyd yn oed yn fwy egnïol a hwyliog.”
Ar ôl y ddau berfformiad, bydd cyfle i’r gynulleidfa ymuno a dysgu ychydig o symudiadau o’r ddau berfformiad.
Bydd Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru: Perfformiadau Awyr Agored yn Chapter (Caerdydd) – 6 a 7 Awst; Canolfan y Celfyddydau, Aberystwyth – 10 ac 11 Awst; Theatr Clwyd (yr Wyddgrug) – 13 Awst; a Pontio (Bangor) – 14 Awst.
Mae CDCCymru yn cydweithio â lleoliadau a phartneriaid ac yn dilyn Canllawiau Llywodraeth y DU a Llywodraeth Cymru ar weithgareddau Perfformio a Chyfranogi, ynghyd â chyngor gan Iechyd Cyhoeddus Cymru ynghylch lledaeniad COVID-19.
Wales based choreographers create short dance performances for outdoor performance this summer.
National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) invites you to join them for a 45 minute open-air performance and to rediscover the joy of dancing this summer.
NDCWales: Open Air Performance will feature two exciting dance voices. NDCWales company dancers Ed Myhill and Faye Tan have been developing their choreographic voices over the last few years and exploring creating pieces for the outdoor in various locations across Wales.
Faye Tan has worked with the NDCWales dancers to create a brand new energetic dance piece – Moving is everywhere, forever. It’s a satisfying ode to the act of dancing; an invitation to yield to the irresistible impulse of grooving, to the soundtrack by Welsh electronic duo Larch.
Faye said, “Moving is everywhere, forever’ first began as a research into a dance of satisfaction and catharsis as a means to invite audiences to groove along with the dancers, yielding into their own natural instincts to move to the beat. It was also an inquiry into the proposition that dance can exist at anytime, anywhere.
Thinking about situating the piece outdoors immediately gave the piece a strong reason to be bold with how the performers connect with the audiences and how they embrace the ever-changing elements of an outdoor environment with confidence and spontaneity; A reaffirmation that dance does not have to be confined to the indoors, in controlled atmospheres, or a particular time of day.
It has been an incredible experience of growth and joy for everyone involved, and we are so excited to have a mutual exchange of energy with an audience in broad daylight during our performances.”
As well creating a new dance performance, NDCWales have also been reworking their acclaimed piece, Why Are People Clapping!? for the outdoors. ‘Why Are People Clapping!?’ by Ed Myhill is an uplifting, funny and ridiculously clever dance piece that is set to composer Steve Reich’s ‘Clapping Music’ and uses rhythm as a driving force. The dancers clap, stamp and jump to create the live soundtrack. It’s a face-pulling, toe-tapping 13 minutes of joy.
NDCWales dancer and creator of Why Are People Clapping!?, Ed Myhill said, “Adapting Why Are People Clapping!? for outdoors has been a challenging but exciting process. We have had to remould ourselves to fit into what will be more exposed and temperamental environments. Without our usual lighting and sound capabilities, as well as opening up two more sides for audiences to observe from, our creativity has been tested in how we want to reimagine this piece. Despite finding restriction in some areas, it has forced me to go in a different a direction that has revealed some great alternative possibilities and it’s exciting to work together with the dancers to unveil these ideas. I am thrilled with this new staging for the outdoors which has become even more vibrant and joyous.”
After the two performances there will be an opportunity for the audience to join in and learn some moments from the two performances.
NDCWales are working with venues and partners and taking guidance from the UK and Welsh Government Guidance on Performing and Participation activities and advice from Public Health Wales regarding the spread of COVID-19.
Hi Gwyn, great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hello there, lovely to meet you too. I am a choreographer, performer, teacher and, I guess, producer now too. I have mainly worked in contemporary dance and dance theatre.
What got you interested in the arts?
I was born and raised a borders boy in Montgomery in a tied-house to my dad’s job as a farm labourer. The arts didn’t feature at home, we didn’t have any books but watched a lot of telly. It was probably singing and performing in school plays and dancing folk dances in primary school, where the performing seed was sown.
I kind of fell into contemporary dance though after doing a drama GCSE at school. My friend who went on to Newtown college to do performing arts convinced me to try it for the acting but I took my first contemporary class and that was that. As is quite typical of coming from a farming background, I wasn’t particularly confident in speaking so doing and moving was a way for me to express myself and in a way I’d never been able to before. Whilst I was at college Diversions Dance Company (now National Dance Company Wales) came to give a workshop and performance where I met Jem Traeys (who was dancing with the company at the time). Jem encouraged me to think about taking dance seriously, it was then that I decided I would go to university to train as a dancer.
Although I knew I wanted to dance I had no idea how to make a career out of it. No one in my family had ever done anything like that before; they were all farmers or worked in the local factory. I needed a lot of support and help from my lecturers and because of them I eventually went to university in London. It was there that I first realised I might actually be any good. I loved how my body was developing, the feeling of being part of a family with my fellow students when we made work together and the sense of purpose and identity it was giving me.
After university, I went on to dance with some amazing companies both in the UK and Israel, was rehearsal director for some wonderful choreographers and I’ve also taught all over.
You are the Artistic Director of Jones the Dance (formerly Gwyn Emberton Dance) the organisation’s mission is “Extraordinary dance theatre that is globally inspired, made from the heart of Wales.” How did the organisation develop and what are you working on at the moment?
Originally Jones the Dance / y Ddawns was called Gwyn Emberton Dance. It was the company I set up in 2013 to create and tour my own group works. As the company grew over time, we started to do more and more things beyond my own work, such as our summer schools in Newtown and supporting other Wales based artists to lead or take part in the international projects we were involved in.
Particularly in our youth projects, including Quiet Beats our workshops for Deaf young people, I realised we were trying to create a place where dance was available to those who had little opportunity or felt dance just wasn’t for them, whether this was due to geographical barriers or being part of a community where you just didn’t dance.
There is still little infrastructure for dance in Wales with less and less dance happening in schools and it is only down to a few really dedicated people that any dance exists for young people outside of the traditional local dance schools – something which was the case when I was young over 30 years ago. If we don’t change this it will be the same again in another 30 years and our young people won’t get to experience the joy, creativity and, in my case, the life changing opportunities that dance can offer.
We wanted to shift the company even more in this direction and with that we felt Gwyn Emberton Dance wasn’t the right name any more. So we changed it to Jones the Dance in April this year – ‘Jones’ because it’s a really common name that many of us in Wales identify with (half my family are Joneses) and ‘the Dance’ because it is a fun and lovely way of talking about someone and their job in Wales.
We are working on a few things at the moment, coming up later this year and into next. We are developing our youth projects Quiet Beats and Jones Bach to run more regularly throughout the year, looking at a dancers’ creative development project with some really cool partners across Wales, finishing my next work which will be a new dance film production that has been on hold since before the pandemic, and we are just starting to work on the next edition of iCoDaCo, the international collaborative project we are involved in, to start in 2022.
You can read review of (iCoDaCo), It Will Come Later, by Eva Maloes here
The dance sector and your work as a dance artist is inherently international, Brexit and Covid -19 must present some challenges, how have you worked to overcome them? Do you have any future plans for UK and international touring?
You are right, international work has always been a huge part of what we do. International collaboration is incredibly important to us and feels even more so since Brexit. With our colleagues at ilDance who initiated iCoDaCo, we have been talking about the implications of traveling and touring internationally before the pandemic. A significant part of the next project will be focused on how we can still collaborate but environmentally sustainably so. We are looking at what digital technologies we can use, how to share knowledge and experience across cultural, political and language borders.
With Brexit we are still trying to understand the implications it has for us as a small dance company. We are not sure what our options are yet for iCoDaCo and whether we can raise enough funding for it. The last edition of iCoDaCo we were eligible to be partners in European funding which meant we were able to access the huge potential for us as a small company to offer lots of people work in Wales, as well as bringing a huge project to audiences and the public here. It will be a devastating loss on so many levels if we can’t be involved, both to the artists who would work on the project and to audiences. We are happy that our colleagues in Europe still want us to be involved even though it will present them challenges so fingers crossed. We are determined to make it happen so watch this space.
With Covid, I have reimagined my new work for film instead of a touring theatre show. It will be shown in really exciting ways which has actually unlocked the possibility to share the work with different audiences in different spaces and communities all over Wales.
I really wanted to make the course a place for those who had somewhere to go in Wales to train and study dance. We took a rigorous approach to training which was supported by theoretical and practical knowledge acquisition. I was very keen to make sure the students had lots of opportunities to work with a range of different artists from different backgrounds and in different styles, from Wales and internationally such as Moya Michael from Belgium, Kiani Del Valle from Berlin, Matteo Marfoglia, Zosia Dowmunt and Jonny Vieco from Wales and the UK for instance.
I was hoping that each student had the autonomy in how their degree developed by the time they left whether that was creatively/choreographically, academically, or through a dance health route. It is such a shame that this course will close, as will the one at University of South Wales. As a whole arts community we need to address this. It seems completely unfair that there will be no conservatoire or place to study and train in dance in Wales, when many courses in Welsh and English exist for theatre and music such as at Royal Welsh Collage.
We recently interviewed Kokoro Arts and shared their response to this question
If a dancer wanted to stay and train in Wales and then pursue a career, what support system would you suggest they require in order to be able to do this?
What would be your response?
There are no options at the moment as there is no training which I mentioned above. However, we need to think much more cleverly than just that. The whole infrastructure needs to be looked at for dance in Wales. It needs to have an equal place in how we see our cultural heritage in the same way that theatre and music is. Look at folk dance, probably everyone has done it in school at some point but then it just drops off. It should be the foundation for dance in Wales but there is nowhere to take dance further especially if you can’t afford to go to a local dance school. There are all these amazing youth groups around Wales but there is nowhere to take it beyond that. There is zero dance in secondary schools, no GCSEs or academic qualifications which are the most usual routes for kids to pursue dance later on.
Every dancer or person working in dance that I know in Wales is trying to link up, find creative ways to counter all the structural challenges we face but it just isn’t enough. It has to come from the government and the willingness to see dance as a cornerstone of a vibrant, varied Welsh cultural life and see its importance in and relevance in all of our lives. We need some kind of manifesto for dance that we can all get behind.
We have so many of the components already; community, professional, theatre, digital, street dance, contemporary, folk dance, twmpath, classes and performances. We just need to connect and build on them through education, the right support and a commitment to implementing the required infrastructure.
You also responded to the additional statement from Kokoro below on Twitter
“For organisations and project funded companies to regularly advertise for new dancers rather than turning to those they already know.”
You said the below, is there anything more you would like to add?
Absolutely!!! As Gwyn Emberton Dance & now @JonestheD we’ve done and will do this. We always advertise for new dancers but we also work with people we’ve worked with previously. We’re not in the luxury position of a regularly company that employs their dancers for the whole year and year after year. The artistic understanding you have with someone over years is just as important as the new relationships you build and also the opportunities you can create. It is a question of how to strike the balance between making sure we are creating opportunities for new dancers to work with us and develop as artists and the need to maintain and build a shared artistic practice over years. This has to be a consideration. We’re working with our board at the moment on developing our open call policy & this discussion is part of that.
As a project funded company we are limited in how often we can offer/create opportunities due to the sporadic and precarious nature of funding and how we work. We’ve lots of amazing plans coming up in the next few years but without support none of them will happen. My final thought on this at the moment as a choreographer it can be an isolated place so having relationships with long-term collaborators is hugely valuable just as it is so important to meet and support new dancers/artists who they bring their own richness to a creation.
I will add that there needs to be more opportunities across Wales for dancers and choreographers to develop their own work too. We have nothing like Wales Dance Platform any more, where I first presented my work in Wales, or Dance Shorts that Dance Blast used to run.
You can read a review of Wales Dance Platform 2014 by Hannah Goslin here
They were both brilliant opportunities to get your work and name out there and filled the diary with dance work for both choreographers and other dancers. There is nothing like this any more and we are all poorer for it.
Through the dancers’ creative development programme we hope to give a few dancers opportunities to develop their work, skills, networks which will also give other dance work too. However, this is only a small part of what needs to be available.
Thanks Gwynn, you are passionate about creating dance experiences for those who don’t usually access the art form. In October 2020 you set up the pilot project Quiet Beats, the dance workshops for young Deaf people and building on its success, the second week of workshops were held in February 2021. Do you have any learning you would like to share from this work and ambitions for its future development?
We knew we wanted to do this project for a while. We had been questioning why we had never met any young Deaf people in our summer schools. After some research and talking with Deaf colleagues in theatre we realised that there is this misconception that Deaf people can’t or shouldn’t dance which stopped young Deaf people taking classes or workshops, thinking it wasn’t for them or that they wouldn’t be very good. We were very conscious that we were coming into the Deaf community as hearing people and that people may feel wary of us so it has been about building relationships with group leaders, charities, parents and guardians and most importantly they young people who have taken part. There is still so much to do and so much for us to learn if we want this project to really take off with young Deaf people from all over Wales dancing any style in an environment where they are happy to let go and enjoy themselves.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers that creatives in Wales face? If you are, what might be done to remove these barriers?
We need to rethink what professional dance is and who makes it. Contemporary dance has become professionalised and has received a lot of support comparatively to other dance styles although not to other art forms. There are other dance styles which are reflective of other people’s experiences and backgrounds which need to have the same recognition. Linked to that I think the fact we don’t have dance as part of core education and there isn’t a conservatoire for dance in Wales really impacts the perception that dance can be a career. This is a barrier for everyone but particularly if you come from a community where dance isn’t seen as a profession or your style isn’t contemporary or ballet based.
Also, I dont know of, or am not aware of, any Welsh dancers who are Deaf or have hearing loss but maybe one day one or loads of our Quiet Beaters will become dance artists for Jones the Dance making their own projects. There needs to be more visibility of artists or people working in the arts who come from different backgrounds so that the younger generations of dancers coming through see it as a possibility. They need to have people to look up to and to speak with about their own careers.
Working in dance in a rural setting can be really challenging as there just isn’t the resources, space needed or other people to work with.
With the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccancies, the arts sector is hopeful audiences will return to venues and theatres. If theatres want to attract audiences what do you think they should do?
Take it slowly but start already!!!! Be imaginative, creative and curious with what you are offering. Trust and let us artists lead the way, as we have been thinking for the last 18 months how to make our work safe and secure for audiences. If sports can have fans then why can’t theatres open their doors.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
Obviously, dance. I would want to create more opportunities for people to be making more work, supporting them in making it more public and for it to be recognised. Perhaps a dance festival, digital and face to face, with lots of exciting opportunities for audiences to experience different types of dance and performances.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
Wales has so many incredible artists, stories and experiences to share in their work, there are so many voices who we don’t hear from but also we have such a legacy of incredible experienced artists that show what a vibrant, creative and dynamic place Wales is.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
I have talked about it so much already but it has to be Quiet Beats. We invited Chris Fonseca to lead the week of workshops, he is a Deaf urban dancer and teacher.
He taught this super cool phase to the young people which they performed at the end of the week. I was so impressed with their focus and commitment, how they dealt with being on Zoom the whole time, and the development of their skills in just one week was phenomenal. One of the participants mum’s emailed me afterwards to say he hadn’t stopped dancing for the next week – there’s a dancer right there!
Thanks for your time Gwynn.
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Matthew will join the company in the Autumn direct from his role as Artistic Director of VERVE, the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) where Matthew has led the company for five years. Matthew is a practising artist having worked as a dancer, choreographer, facilitator, Rehearsal Director and Artistic Director.
Matthew was appointed Artistic Director of VERVE in 2016, under his direction VERVE became known for its bold commissioning, collaborating with world renowned and fresh choreographic voices like Botis Seva, Maxine Doyle and Sita Ostheimer to create distinct, engaging programmes of dance work, reaching thousands of people each year, onstage, online and in outreach work. Matthew is excited about sharing his vision for what dance can do with audiences and participants in Wales and beyond.
Matthew said: “I grew up in a small Devon town, a young gay person. I did not know how to identify myself. I did not see myself in the media or in my community. Dance offered me an inclusive space where my identity could flourish, I lead with this in mind every day, seeking to develop dance as a safe and ambitious space for all.
Watching or participating in dance can have a profound effect on somebody’s life, it can change how we see ourselves, others, and the world around us. I believe this because I have lived it. Seeing yourself represented on stage, feeling your life experience translated in front of you, or being swept away by an immersive world created before your very eyes. Dance, at its best, is transformative, inspiring, entertaining and provocative. We can challenge and be accessible, be physically thrilling and politically powerful. I believe in engaging, ambitious programming reflective of 21st century society in all its diversity and beautiful complexity. I bring my ambition to reach beyond core dance audiences, to be a catalyst for the change we seek in our world.
I look forward to gaining insight into the unique ecology in Wales. I am eager to learn about and work with the Welsh dance scene. We all have our stories to share, and our perspectives to reveal, and I look forward to having these conversations and collaborations. I look forward to sharing my vision for what dance can do for audiences and participants in Wales and beyond.”
Jane McCloskey, Chair of the Board of Trustees said:
“I’m delighted our search for a new Artistic Director attracted such a talented national and international field. Matthew stood out as an exceptional and exciting candidate for the role and will help us reach new audiences, new participants and new heights.”
Paul Kaynes, Chief Executive of National Dance Company Wales said:
“We had an exciting and international field of applicants, but Matthew captured the opportunities to work in new ways to create change in our world, putting the communities of Wales at the heart of his artistic plans, and telling the stories of Wales around the world. His deep commitment to inclusion and diversity in his work and the artists he works with, will enable the Company to continue to present world-class dance made by artists from many backgrounds. We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming him to Wales.”
Matthew is a graduate of London Contemporary Dance School and danced for many years for Scottish Dance Theatre, performing work by a diverse range of international choreographers, including Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Hofesh Shechter, and Victor Quijada. In 2013 he took on the responsibilities of Rehearsal Director, supporting the dancers and guest artists in their creative process, and the company on multiple international tours.
Impelo is a charitable organisation that seeks to share the transformational power of dance as far and wide as possible, connecting people of all ages and walks of life in joyful expression. Everybody dancing – for themselves, each other and a better life.
At Impelo we create projects, programmes and productions which explore how dance can respond to health and social inequalities, creative learning and sustainability. Based in Powys, rural mid Wales we have a great reputation as an innovator of participatory dance practice https://www.impelo.org.uk
Through funding from Foyle Foundation we are delighted to be able to offer 4 collaborative incubation residencies, pairing up Impelo dance associates with recent graduates, or people considering returning to dance, over a 2 week period this Summer. We think this will be a great way of supporting our existing dance associates and bring new dancers to Powys to evolve their practice through a collaborative process.
We want to bring fresh creative energy into Powys by getting to know new dancers at the beginning of their careers and explore how we might work together in the future.
The programme aims:
To nurture recent graduates (2019, 2020 and 2021) and those returning to dance or moving from professional performance to community dance practice through a bespoke programme of workshops, classes and advice surgeries;
To raise awareness of the community dance landscape in Powys and to develop the ecology through building new relationships with new dancers in or around Powys.
We will select dancers who are interested in developing their community dance practice and connect with the region. We hope HATCH will contribute to a sense of community with the talented dancers here.
What we are offering:
A ten day incubation residency (online or at our Dance Centre in Llandrindod Wells, subject to Covid restrictions) and collaboration partner from the Impelo team; ;
Practical workshops on delivering inclusive community dance sessions and making dance performance for specific audiences and communities;
Career development support and one to one advice surgeries;
An opportunity to share current work in development or developed during the residency;
Who we are seeking:
Recent or about to graduate dancers who are curious about developing their careers in Powys as community dance practitioners and dance makers – either currently or planning on living in Powys, Wales or the Borders, or having grown up in Powys;
Dancers seeking to return to dance, or curious about community dance practice;
We particularly welcome applications from currently underrepresented dance practitioners deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, Welsh speakers and POC (and we understand and appreciate that these dancers may not have come through traditional dance training routes);
Dancers who can demonstrate how the incubation will benefit them in developing their careers;
Dancers who are ambitious to challenge themselves, their collaborators and us;
We especially encourage applications from people who come from a background that is under-represented in dance.
The incubation residency will run from Monday 26th July and end on Friday 6th August 2021.
Send us a recorded (audio or video) or written statement telling us about yourself, and how you think the incubation residency will help to develop your practice by 9amMonday 28th June 2021.
Sefydliad elusennol yw Impelo â’r nod o rannu grym gweddnewidiol dawns mor bell a mor eang â phosibl, gan greu cysylltiadau rhwng pobl o bob oedran, o bob lliw a llun, mewn hunanfynegiant llawen. Pawb yn dawnsio – er eu lles eu hunain, er lles ei gilydd, a thros fywyd gwell.
Yn Impelo rydym yn creu prosiectau, rhaglenni a chynyrchiadau sy’n archwilio sut gall dawnsio ymateb i anghydraddoldebau cymdeithasol a mewn iechyd, dysgu creadigol a chynaladwyedd. Ledled Powys yng nghefn gwlad canolbarth Cymru, lle rydym yn gweithredu, mae gennym enw da fel arloeswyr ym maes ymarfer dawnsio cyfranogol https://www.impelo.org.uk
Diolch i gymorth ariannol y Foyle Foundation rydym yn falch iawn o allu cynnig pedair preswylfa fagu gydweithredol, lle byddwn yn paru dawnswyr cyswllt o Impelo am ddwy wythnos â graddedigion diweddar neu bobl sy’n ystyried dychwelyd i fyd dawnsio. Credwn y bydd hyn yn ffordd wych o gefnogi ein dawnswyr cyswllt presennol a dod â dawnswyr newydd i Bowys fel y gallant ddatblygu eu hymarfer trwy broses gydweithredol.
Rydym yn awyddus i ddod ag egni creadigol i Bowys trwy ddod i adnabod dawnswyr newydd ar ddechrau eu gyrfa ac archwilio sut gallen ni weithio gyda’n gilydd yn y dyfodol.
Nod y rhaglen yw:
Meithrin graddedigion diweddar (2019, 2020 a 2021) a rhai sy’n dychwelyd at ddawnsio neu’n symud o berfformio’n broffesiynol at ymarfer dawnsio cymunedol trwy gyfrwng rhaglen bwrpasol yn cynnwys gweithdai, dosbarthiadau a chyngorfeydd;
Codi ymwybyddiaeth o dirwedd ddawnsio cymunedol ym Mhowys a datblygu ei hecoleg drwy fagu cysylltiadau newydd â dawnswyr newydd ym Mhowys a’r cyffiniau.
Fe ddetholwn ni ddawnswyr sy’n awyddus i ddatblygu eu hymarfer dawnsio cymunedol a chysylltu â’r rhanbarth yma. Ein gobaith yw y bydd HATCH yn cyfrannu at greu ymdeimlad o gymuned gyda’r dawnswyr talentog sydd yma.
Yr hyn rydym yn ei gynnig:
Preswylfa fagu dros 10 niwrnod (ar-lein neu yn ein Canolfan Ddawnsio yn Llandrindod, yn amodol ar argyfyngiadau Cofid) a phartner cydweithredol sy’n aelod o dîm Impelo; ;
Sesiynau gweithdy ymarferol ar gyflwyno sesiynau dawnsio cymunedol cynhwysol a chreu perfformiadau dawnsio ar gyfer cynulleidfaoedd a chymunedau penodol;
Cymorth datblygu gyrfa a chyngorfeydd un ag un;
Dosbarth gyda’r cwmni;
Cyfle i rannu gwaith cyfredol sy’n cael ei ddatblygu neu a ddatblygwyd yn ystod y breswylfa;
Ffi o £700
Pwy rydym yn chwilio amdanynt:
Dawnswyr a raddiodd yn ddiweddar neu sydd ar fin graddio, sydd â diddordeb mewn datblygu eu gyrfa ym Mhowys fel ymarferwyr dawnsio a chrewyr dawns cymunedol – a sydd yn byw ar hyn o bryd, neu’n bwriadu dod i fyw ym Mhowys, Cymru neu’r Gororau, neu wedi tyfu lan ym Mhowys;
Dawnswyr sy’n awyddus i ddychwelyd at ddawnsio, neu’n chwilfrydig ynghylch ymarfer dawnsio cymunedol;
Rydym yn croesawu’n arbennig geisiadau oddi wrth ymarferwyr dawnsio sydd ar hyn o bryd heb gynrychiolaeth ddigonol – rhai B/byddar, anabl, niwroamrywiol, siaradwyr Cymraeg a Phobl Groenlliw (ac rydym yn sylweddoli ac yn deall nad yw’r dawnswyr hyn efallai wedi dod trwy lwybrau dawnsio traddodiadol);
Dawnswyr sy’n gallu arddangos sut bydd y breswylfa fagu’n fuddiol iddynt wrth iddynt ddatblygu eu gyrfa;
Dawnswyr sy’n awyddus i’w herio eu hunain, eu cydweithredwyr, a ni;
Rydym yn croesawu’n arbennig geisiadau gan bobl sy’n hanu o gefndiroedd sydd heb gynrychiolaeth ddigonol ym myd dawnsio.
Cynhelir y breswylfa fagu o ddydd Llun 26ain Gorffennaf tan ddydd Gwener 6ed Awst 2021.
Sut i ymgeisio:
Anfonwch inni ddatganiad wedi’i recordio (sain neu fideo) neu ysgrifenedig i ddweud wrthym amdanoch chi, a sut yn eich tyb chi y bydd y breswylfa fagu hon yn helpu i ddatblygu eich ymarfer erbyn 9 yb Llun 28ain Mehefin 2021.
National Dance Company Wales’ young Associates premiered their new Dance film titled ‘Now Begin’ at the U Dance Cymru 2021 Digital Dance Day on Saturday 15 May, it was made in collaboration with Artes Mundi, and creatives from across the theatre and dance sector in Wales. The Associates film has now gone on to be selected (along with other dance films) to represent Wales at the National U Dance Showcase 2021.
NDCWales’ Associates meet weekly at the Dance House, Cardiff between September and April through workshops led by a team of NDCWales dancers and leading instructors in dance. Each year the Associates work towards creating a final performance.
Guy O’Donnell, NDCWales’ Learning and Participation Producer said of this years final performance “We were really looking forward to creating a new piece in collaboration with Artes Mundi 9, which would have been a performance at the Artes Mundi exhibtion at National Museum, Cardiff and at the Youth Dance Night event held each year at the Dance House. Fortunately we were able to evolve and adapt this performance for online audiences, which has resulted with us working with some exciting creatives and now results in a special premiere for us at U Dance Cymru 2021.”
‘Now Begin’ is a reflective piece inspired by the current work exhibited at Artes Mundi 9 by Indian artist, Prabhakar Pachpute. The film portrays young dance artists sharing their desires for change in the world. Inspired by Prabhakar Pachpute’s Artes Mundi exhibition’s themes of protest, these dance artists share their vision for a new beginning through movement and voice. Choreography is by Kokoro Arts and The Associates. Music by Tic Ashfield and Film by Gavin Porter.
You can watch Now Begin below
Below you can watch a Behind-the-Scenes look at the making of ‘Now Begin’ featuring interviews with Prabhakar Pachpute, Kokoro Arts, The Director of Artes Mundi 9, Nigel Prince, Curator of Public Programmes, Artes Mundi 9, Letty Clarke and Associate Dancers Ellie Gale, Heidi Thomas and Harly Videan.
The National Dance Company Wales Associates programmes is currently open for applicants to audition for the term starting in September 2021.
For over a decade, National Dance Company Wales has been nurturing some of the most talented dancers from across Wales and developing their skills
Based at the Dance House, the home of NDCWales, the Associates (ages 14-19 years old) follow a programme created by Faye Tan, our Learning Lead Dancer, with the guidance of our Artistic Team. The Learning Lead Dancer is a member of our Dance company and is a point of contact for the Associates. The LLD gives feedback and support during the programme.
Over the course of the year, our Associates programme focuses on improving creative and technical skills, along with developing work for performance opportunities that the Company creates for them through the year.
We have a limited number of places available and successful applicants are chosen through a free audition workshop. The audition workshop consists of a contemporary technique class where dancers can show their skills and potential to our Company dance experts.
NDCWales Associates provides high level contemporary training for young dancers. Sessions run on Sundays during term time (Welsh schools’ term timetable) from 10:30am – 12:30pm and are taught by Company Dancers and guest artists.
As part of the Associates programme, members can access;
Assessments and guidance from our Learning Lead Dancer.
Additional creation and performance opportunities available to those interested.
Mentoring opportunities from NDCWales Associate Artists.
Access to reduced price tickets at The Dance House and Wales Millennium Centre.
Opportunities to access dance activity in collaboration with National Youth Dance Wales.
Career Development Talks
Work Experience Opportunities
The Associates programme also offers two bursaries, applicants are invitedto apply for the bursary upon acceptance on the programme.
With bursary one, you’ll need to pay £202 for all of the weekly contemporary training classes and Dancer Wellbeing Days. The optional Creation Week package will cost an extra £77. (Total amount payable, £279).
With bursary two, you’ll need to pay £50 for all of the weekly contemporary training classes and the Dancer Wellbeing Days. The optional Creation Week package will cost an extra £20. (Total amount payable, £60).
You can apply to audition at the link below, applications close on Friday the 4th June. Auditions take place on Saturday the 10 July and Sunday the 11th July. Applicants will audition in small groups for approximately 150 minutes.
Hi Gundija and Krystal, great to meet you both, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Gundija: I am an independent contemporary dance artist based in Cardiff. Originally from Latvia, I have trained and worked in dance in Denmark and England, but now I have found my home in Wales – I have been living and working here for over 5 years now. I am also the Executive Director of Kokoro Arts.
Krystal: I grew up in Bermuda, in a green bungalow with my seven siblings and our parents. I continued dancing at my local dance schools until I moved to Wales in 2012, to dance with Ballet Cymru. Currently, I’m a freelance dance artist, choreographer, writer and emerging director, based in Newport. I am the Artistic Director of Kokoro Arts.
What got you interested in the arts?
Krystal: The arts have always been a part of me, my maternal grandmother is a mixed media artist. She creates sculptures and paintings, and uses found objects and transforms them into intricate works of art. Her house is the most beautiful and colourful place I’ve ever experienced – hand painted floor rugs and walls covered floor to ceiling with her artwork. My grandmother’s sisters were all writers, musicians, poets and fashion designers. My mother is a writer and would paint the ceiling in our kitchen into the image of the day sky. Growing up I was always taught to think differently, creatively; the house was filled with books and blocks and painted walls. The arts are an integral aspect of my identity and culture.
Gundija: I have always been exposed to art when growing up – theatre performances, outdoor exhibitions, social cultural events, strong Folk dance and national singing traditions. Once dancing became my choice (rather than my parents) – I was exposed to different new dance styles, which led me to viewing dance as an art form not just a fun (and tough) movement activity. Through new international friendships – eventually collaborations – I started immersing myself into other art forms on a more professional level.
Together you run Kokoro Arts, the organisations mission is “Kokoro Arts supports and promotes the development and work of young artists, facilitates sector-wide discussion and champions inclusion, accessibility and diversity throughout the Wales dance sector.”
How did the organisation develop and what are you working on at the moment?
The organisation developed out of passion and love; passion for the arts and a love for Wales – its culture and the wide diversity of the people here. It developed through conversation; through seeing the gaps in the sector and finding a way that we could fill them. We saw that there was a lack of support for young/early career artists, and we each understood what that lack of support feels like. We decided that we wanted to connect those artists with opportunities, with the sector, and to offer support for their development.
We offer support to young artists through 1-2-1 sessions, bespoke advice and feedback, application and CV writing support, sharing monthly opportunities, and ensuring we offer an open door for any questions/concerns they have. Also, we build and support networks, individually and as a company. Through the company last year we facilitated dance sector conversations and through that, the Wales Dance Network was formed. The Wales Dance Network | Rhwydwaith Dawns Cymru continues to bring the Wales dance sector together and we’re part of that steering group. We began an EU Artist Network, to be a support to artists living away from their home countries, and to share contacts and networks within that group. These connections are very important to us and our work.
Currently, we’re working on an incredible Arts Council Wales funded ‘Connect and Flourish’ project – Emerging Artists: Access, Inclusion, Connection – which will offer five early career artists the opportunity to collaboratively explore how access and inclusion can be integral to their movement practice.
The programme is in partnership with Stephanie Back, Krystal Dawn Campbell, Eädyth Crawford, Matthew Gough, Chris Ricketts, and Ballet Cymru, The programme places anti-ableist actions and perspectives at the centre of developing the next generation of movement artists in Wales. Along with that, we’re working on an Erasmus+ project; a partnership between Finland, Latvia and Wales. It is a transnational, interdisciplinary project that aims to explore and exchange practices on using creative body-based approaches for social inclusion and community building. And finally, we’re collaborating with a Bermudian organisation on a research and development project. The History of Us | Ein Hannes Ni explores how artists from different backgrounds, cultures, and languages share their artistic process and practice through discussions and dance sessions.
Kokoro Arts has choreographed a new dance film for the National Dance Company Wales, Youth Dance company, The Associates. The project has been created entirely online and is inspired by the work of Artes Mundi 9 exhibiting artist, Prabhakar Pachpute. His practice “reflects on the working conditions, relentless excavation, unequal social development and land politics in his home state Chandrapur, known as ‘the city of black gold’.” Could you see any links between Prabhakars approach to Chandrapur and Wales in your work with the Associates?
Similarly to Prabhakar’s artistic approach to his work, we wanted the film we choreographed for ‘Now Begin’ to address issues that are pressing and important to young dance artists in Wales. In the film, they dance and speak about the change they want to see in the world – it felt really important to give them a platform to be seen and heard.
As the project has been delivered entirely online due to Covid-19 how did you approach the choreographic process and working with the young dancers?
It was important to us to make sure that the creation process was as engaging and interactive as possible. Collaboration with the Associates was essential to us – we really wanted to give them ownership over their creative process as well as the finished work.
While we had previously engaged with some of the Associates, it was our first interaction for most of the Associates. We spent time in the first session finding out about who they were as people and as artists; what was important to them about not only this process, but also their artistic development and ambitions.
We facilitated time and space for them to comment critically on each other’s choreographic work within the session using Zoom’s chat function. In giving feedback, artists engage quite differently with the work. The critique isn’t about higher legs or more stretched ankles, it’s about expression and movement; how the work is created, how it comes across and translates to audiences. Even the filming of their choreography allowed for them to engage further in the creation process. Each Associate chose their own filming location, choreography, and camera shots.
The NDCWales Associates are one of a number of youth dance organisations in Wales. Do you feel the opportunities offered by these groups are of value?
Yes, I believe that these programmes are of great value. They can connect young people to dancers from other dance schools, other parts of Wales, and the UK, in a way that helps them to engage differently with their practice and development.
Youth dance organisations have the ability to offer young artists a space to learn from different dance artists who come to teach and to create work on them and to learn different ways of moving from what they’re used to.
However, each of these programme’s could do with a lot more boldness in the range of dance styles they are offering and the range of artists that interact with the youth artists. I would love to see a wider diversity of young artists audition and accepted onto these programmes. This would offer young artists a diversity of lived experiences to interact, engage with, and learn from.
If a dancer wanted to stay and train in Wales and then pursue a career, what support system would you suggest they require in order to be able to do this?
Access to dance classes that would develop their skill-set continuously.
Sustainable ongoing support for their professional development rather than one-off engagements that have no continuity.
Mentorship and coaches to support their artistic practice and help them reflect on their career development.
Platforms and events that allow them to test their thoughts and creative practice at a variety of levels.
For organisations and project funded companies to regularly advertise for new dancers rather than turning to those they already know.
For organisations and project funded companies to have more paid apprentice positions or opportunities to observe and engage with them.
More public discussions about dance in Wales
A strategy for dance in Wales that helps the sector develop and therefore offer opportunities for those who want to remain here.
Undergraduate training would be a good option but isn’t necessary to become a professional dancer.
Are there any examples of training systems or support networks that exist in other nations that Wales could look to utilise?
This is difficult to answer, because each nation’s system reflects a particular context. What works in one place might not work in another.
In Latvia The Latvian Academy of Culture offers an undergraduate degree programme in contemporary dance with an intake every 4 years, which offers an increased intensity and focus to their education; however it does leave gaps in graduate years.
Irelands Step Up dance project for graduates aims to bridge the gap between dance education and professional contemporary dance practice in Ireland.
CAT schemes in England show how additional opportunities can be facilitated, but we would need to be careful that they don’t only offer routes to conservatories or serve those more privileged.
What does Wales do well in dance or cultural training and delivery?
There’s a great commitment to bilingual and multilingual work, including an emerging commitment to British Sign Language.
Wales has created an environment that allows visiting (short project) artists to feel like they want to stay here – live, work, and feel at home.
There’s a rich diversity of dance styles in Wales from Welsh folk dance, concert dance, and contemporary dance, to a wide range of cultural, social and competitive dance practices.
There’s a commitment to community dance in Wales which provides a framework of dance for everyone.
You are both parents of young children working in the arts. Given that you are both freelance artists and parents the Lockdown period must have been very challenging for you in combining the demands on your time? How did you approach this?
Krystal: For me, it was the same when I decided I would be a parent in the first place. I decided not just that I was going to do it, but that I could do it. That decision doesn’t change what happens, but it changes how I experience what happens. Those days that my son needs me even more than usual, I leave work alone and make myself available to him. I decide that that’s not a work failure but a moment to enjoy rest and connection. Motherhood has made me far more efficient in my work. I’m not lethargic, because I don’t have the time to be. I am definitely more tired than I was before I had a child, but I’m also more passionate, I’m more eager, and I have far more resilience. I decide that I can do it, and that doesn’t mean I always do it perfectly but it means I don’t give up.
Practically, I take on the work that I can do and I’m honest about the work that I can’t do. I find opportunities to get work done at odd hours. It’s about being really flexible. Learning that I could schedule my emails has revolutionised my working! If anyone ever gets an email from me at 8am, it’s because I stayed up the night before really late, responding to all of my emails. Making lists helps so much. I have pages and pages of to-do lists – this means that the tasks are out of my head so I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by them. I can look and decide what’s important to do each day. Another thing that helps a lot is having deadlines for when my work is due. This helps me to know when I need to focus on a specific task and when I have time to focus on other tasks; it’s essential to my wellbeing.
Gundija: The lockdown period, especially the very beginning of it was challenging, yes. There were suddenly new roles I felt I needed to fulfil as a mother whilst trying to work at the same time. What helped me was the repeated reminder (that came from myself, family and even social media sometimes) that I don’t have to be able to manage everything at once. So I learnt how to manage my time better (or tried to) – for example, when there were work meetings, I would tell myself it’s OK if my daughter has longer screen-time so that I can focus. Being present as a mother, for me is a priority, so whenever my attention is split and I’m neither with my daughter nor fully at work, I get stressed. The only way to avoid that is to clearly set times/moments when I know I will focus mainly on work and be less present as a mom and then have clear times where I’m fully engaged in activities with my child. And similar to Krystal – making to do lists helps me as well. It lets me get out of the chaos in my head when everything feels ‘too much’ and see all I need to do nicely organised on a paper.
Given the challenges you described above what support would help Creatives in Wales with young familes?
Flexible working hours and the ability to have children in the room whenever safe. Working with people who try to understand the unpredictability of life with a child would help reduce the guilt often felt by working parents. Having the ability to job-share more often would also be really great – that way a parent can engage with less worry about child-care costs. Where possible, including child-care as access costs would make a massive difference. Often, in order to work and have your child cared for, you end up losing money. Even a contribution towards child-care costs would make a big difference.
It would also be great, if there were a few parents, that the project or organisation could facilitate a shared child-care arrangement on the premises. Even something more informal would be a huge support. Potentially a child-minder who could take on a few children with the organisation/project covering a portion of the costs.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers that creatives in Wales face? If you are, what might be done to remove these barriers?
Despite some changes, there is still systemic excluding around multiple characteristics. The system needs to act on equality not just talk about it.
Cultural Contracts and Arts Council Wales requirements for Portfolio organisations are a step forwards, but there needs to be deep thinking and radical doing to shift our perception of who is and who can be an artist.
A big issue is that not enough new job posts are being advertised, so those who are most marginalised are at a constant risk of precarious work, (hourly paid staff, fixed contracts, not secure in their position) so they don’t have time and space to develop their artistic practice.
With the roll out of the Covid-19 vacancies, the arts sector is hopeful audiences will return to venues and theatres. If theatres want to attract audiences what do you think they should do?
Gundija: I don’t think Vaccine Passports are a good idea. I have found live streaming performances alongside live events works well, so those who cannot attend physically, can still access it. It would be good to organise events for different specific audiences – perhaps have a coach that would pick up a group of members from a specific area. I think Venues should lobby the government so that our return to theatre spaces can be equitable. Perhaps there are ways of reducing costs for people who might struggle to attend or engage? And I think co-creating with people and communities might help us return together in a sustainable way.
Krystal: I think venues and theatres should continue to get even more creative about how they offer arts performances and engagement opportunities to audiences. Clearly outlining safety measures in place, more performances in public spaces, and shorter performances to offer more audiences an opportunity to engage safely.
It’s great to see many venues and theatres taking advantage of their outdoor spaces to engage audiences safely.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
Gundija: My priority would be to fund continuous support for early career artists. A scheme that would provide mentoring and opportunities for them to develop their artistic practice, give space to share their work and learn how to reflect on their practice and critically discuss it.
Krystal: I would fund disability arts. It’s important to me that all people are able to access and engage in the arts. I believe that the most effective way to develop and innovate as artists and as a sector is to engage closely with those who are different from us. Disability arts, and ensuring a diversity of disabled people are a part of this, would ensure a wider diversity of voices sharing and imparting into the sector, strengthening us all as well as developing audiences in Wales and beyond. I would love to see Wales become leaders in innovative disability arts. So often, within disability arts, people are still marginalised and forgotten. I am passionate about seeing Wales changing this – not becoming complacent but continuing to push towards more inclusion and an active respect and appreciation for difference.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
Gundija: What excites me the most is definitely the potential I can see and feel in the Arts sector in Wales. Potential for the sector to grow, develop and co-create a Welsh identity that’s built on a strong support network for one another, diverse voices and inclusivity.
Krystal: I’m really excited about Theatr Iolo’s solar powered travelling theatre and the potential long-term possibilities for this kind of touring and showcasing work.
Aubergine Cafe’s unyielding commitment to offering opportunities and development to neurodivergent people.
Literature Wales and National Dance Company Wales’ cross artform collaboration for Plethu/Weave; their commitment to offering a wide range of artists the opportunity to be commissioned and to collaborate.
Articulture Wales’ consistent commitment to offering opportunities to under-represented artists.
Ffilm Cymru offering opportunities to develop a new generation of diverse film-makers.
Arts Council Wales’ Connect and Flourish funding strand – we need more real collaboration in the sector and even more so need a stronger commitment to Black, disabled, and Welsh speaking people.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
Our Voice Network | Rhwydwaith Ein Llais sharings have been an incredibly valuable and enjoyable space to be a part of. I feel that’s exactly what the sector needs – informal sharings of artist practices, a safe, supportive space to listen to artistic process and to ask questions. Each month this space is a place to enjoy the beauty of being artists; and each month the value of being a part of this space is clear.
Thanks for your time.
Get the Chance supports volunteer critics to access a world of cultural provision. We receive no ongoing, external funding. If you can support our work please donate here thanks.
Helo Hanna, mae’n braf i gwrdd â chi. Allwch chi roi rhywfaint o wybodaeth i’n darllenwyr am eich cefndir os gwelwch yn dda?
Rwy’n ddawnsiwr llawrydd o Gaerdydd. Fe wnes i hyfforddi fel Aelod Cyswllt o’r Ysgol Ballet Frenhinol a Chwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru cyn mynychu Ysgol Ddawns Gyfoes Llundain yn 18 oed. Rwyf wedi gweithio gyda choreograffwyr gan gynnwys Crystal Pite, Caroline Finn a Dane Hurst ac wedi dawnsio gyda chwmnïau fel y Danish Dance Theatre a Just Us Dance Theatre, ac yn ddiweddar rwyf wedi ymuno â Ballet Cymru fel dawnsiwr cwmni.
Beth sbardunodd eich diddordeb yn y celfyddydau?
Rwyf wedi bod yn greadigol erioed. Gan amlaf yn yr ysgol, roeddwn yn dwdlan dros fy ngwaith cartref mathemateg ac yn creu dawnsiau disgo ar iard yr ysgol. Roeddwn hefyd wrth fy modd yn astudio Tecstilau a Drama Safon Uwch.
Rydych chi’n ddawnsiwr cwmni gyda Ballet Cymru ac ar hyn o bryd rydych chi’n gweithio gyda nhw i edrych ar ffyrdd o gefnogi cyflwyno dawns yn yr Iaith Gymraeg. Beth yw eich gobeithion a’ch uchelgeisiau ar gyfer y fenter newydd hon?
Yn dilyn cyfnod prawf llwyddiannus, rydym yn gyffrous i ail-ddechrau’r dosbarthiadau ballet dwyieithog i oedolion ar ôl y Pasg. Rwyf hefyd wedi bod yn dysgu Cymraeg i rai o aelodau’r cwmni; mae eu hyder wrth siarad yr iaith wedi cynyddu ac mae eu brwdfrydedd wedi bod yn galonogol iawn. Rydym bellach yn edrych ar fwy o ffyrdd o ymgorffori ymarfer dwyieithog ac mae hynny wedi cadarnhau i mi mai addysgu dawns yn ddwyieithog ddylai fod y ‘norm’ yng Nghymru. Os ydych yn ymarferydd dawns yng Nghymru, rwy’n erfyn arnoch i ystyried sut y gallwch ddefnyddio’r Gymraeg yn eich sesiynau. Gyda bron i 30% o’r boblogaeth yn gallu siarad a deall Cymraeg, mae’n werth yr ymdrech.
Pe bai dawnsiwr am aros ac ymarfer yng Nghymru cyn dilyn gyrfa, pa system gymorth fyddech chi’n awgrymu y byddai ei hangen arnynt er mwyn gallu gwneud hyn?
Mae mynychu eich ysgol ddawns leol yn le gwych i ddechrau ac os ydych yn ddigon ffodus i fod wedi’ch lleoli yn Ne Cymru, efallai y gallwch fynychu’r cynlluniau cyswllt sy’n cael eu rhedeg gan CDCCymru a Ballet Cymru. Ond nid yw’n bosibl hyfforddi’n alwedigaethol hyd at lefel broffesiynol yng Nghymru ar hyn o bryd, sy’n drueni mawr!
O ran dilyn gyrfa mewn dawns, yng Nghymru, rwyf wedi canfod bod deall fy sgiliau a’r hyn y gallaf ei gynnig i sector Dawns Cymru yn bwysig iawn. Er enghraifft, mae cydnabod yr angen am ymarferwyr dawns sy’n siarad Cymraeg a darparu’r gwasanaeth hwnnw wedi fy ngalluogi i ennill profiad o greu coreograffi ac addysgu, ac mae wedi bod yn achubiaeth ariannol hefyd ar adegau. Wedi dweud hyn, rwy’n teimlo fy mod i’n cael fy ngwerthfawrogi a’m hystyried ar safon wahanol fel dawnsiwr oherwydd fy nghenedligrwydd a’r ffaith fy mod i’n siarad Cymraeg. Rwy’n teimlo’r un mor lwcus i gael cyfleoedd gan fy mod yn Gymraes, ond rwy’n poeni weithiau bod fy ngwaith yn cael ei werthfawrogi ar y sail honno’n unig. Rwyf wedi dod i delerau â’r teimladau hyn trwy groesawu’r llwyfannau sy’n cael eu cynnig i mi a’u hystyried fel cyfleoedd i herio rhagdybiaethau, ac i ragori ar ddisgwyliadau mewn rhai achosion. Rwy’n angerddol am fy etifeddiaeth a’m diwylliant ond nid yw’n diffinio fy ngwaith na’m hunaniaeth.Rwy’n angerddol am fy etifeddiaeth a’m diwylliant ond nid yw’n diffinio fy ngwaith na’m hunaniaeth.
Rydych chi’n artist sydd wedi gweithio gyda phobl greadigol o amrywiaeth o ffurfiau celf i greu perfformiadau artistig cyffrous yn y gorffennol. Sut fyddech chi’n disgrifio’ch ymarfer creadigol orau?
Rwy’n defnyddio ioga, hedfan yn isel a gwaith byrfyfyr yn fy ymarfer fy hun ac mae ansawdd fy symud fel arfer yn cael ei alw yn llyfn a chywrain. O ran coreograffi, rwy’n cael fy nhynnu at nodweddion emosiynol a chorfforol y profiad dynol, yn enwedig themâu marwoldeb a chreu. Rwy’n edrych ymlaen at ddatblygu’r syniadau hyn yn y dyfodol.
A oes unrhyw enghreifftiau o systemau hyfforddi neu rwydweithiau cymorth sy’n bodoli mewn gwledydd eraill y gallai Cymru geisio eu defnyddio?
O ran systemau hyfforddi, dim ond dros y ffin i Loegr y mae’n rhaid i chi edrych i weld rhai enghreifftiau rhyfeddol. Byddai mentrau’r llywodraeth fel y cynllun CAT yn fuddiol iawn i Gymru, i fynd i’r afael â materion fel hygyrchedd a chysondeb mewn hyfforddiant. Mae angen sicrhau bod mwy o lwybrau ar gael i bobl ifanc sydd ag angerdd am symud i ymgymryd â gwaith creadigol ac ehangu eu haddysg dawns. Mae hyn hefyd yn cynnwys cael rhaglen hyfforddiant galwedigaethol i astudio dawns ar lefel broffesiynol.
Mae Get the Chance yn gweithio i gefnogi ystod amrywiol o aelodau’r cyhoedd i gael mynediad at ddarpariaeth ddiwylliannol. Ydych chi’n ymwybodol o unrhyw rwystrau y mae pobl greadigol yng Nghymru yn eu hwynebu? Os ydych chi, beth ellid ei wneud i gael gwared ar y rhwystrau hyn?
Un o’r rhwystrau rydw i wedi bod yn ymwybodol ohono’n y gorffennol fu’r diffyg ystyriaeth i ymarferwyr dawns mewn ardaloedd mwy gwledig yng Nghymru. Gan fod sefydliadau wedi gorfod addasu i ddulliau digidol o gynnal neu ffrydio eu digwyddiadau, mae’r ymarferwyr dawns hyn o’r diwedd wedi gallu mynychu digwyddiadau na fyddent wedi gallu mynd iddynt yn y gorffennol. Rwyf hefyd yn bersonol wedi gwerthfawrogi fy mod yn gallu cyrchu a gwylio perfformiadau wedi’u ffrydio’n fyw ar-lein ac er gwaethaf pwl achlysurol o ‘flinder Zoom’, rwy’n dal i obeithio y bydd sefydliadau’n parhau i gynnig o leiaf rai agweddau ar weithio/perfformio ar-lein.
Pe byddech chi’n gallu ariannu maes o’r celfyddydau yng Nghymru pa faes fyddai hwnnw a pham?
Mae angen dirfawr am arian mewn llawer o feysydd ond hoffwn weld rhaglen hyfforddi broffesiynol gynhwysol ar gael yng Nghymru yn ogystal â gofod i uno lle gall dawnswyr greu, addysgu a pherfformio gyda’i gilydd (rhywbeth fel Dance City yn Newcastle)
Beth sy’n eich cyffroi am y celfyddydau yng Nghymru?
Mae wedi bod yn gyffrous gweld cymuned ddawns Cymru yn gweithio gyda’i gilydd i sefydlu cymuned fwy cysylltiedig o ddawnswyr trwy ddigwyddiadau rhwydweithio a thrafodaethau ar-lein. Edrychaf ymlaen at weld sut mae’r cysylltedd hwn yn digwydd yn Sector Ddawns flaengar ac amrywiol Cymru.
Beth oedd y peth gwirioneddol wych olaf i chi ei brofi yr hoffech ei rannu gyda’n darllenwyr?
Gwylio Revisor Crystal Pite a “BLKDOG” Far From the Norm fel rhan o Dance Nation. Mae’r ddau yn ddarnau rhyfeddol, ac maent ar gael i’w gwylio am ddim ar Iplayer.
Creating opportunities for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events. / Lleisiau amrywiol o Gymru yn ymateb i'r celfyddydau a digwyddiadau byw