Vibrant new family dance show explores what it means to be 8 years old
An exciting new family dance production hopes to find out what’s going on in the heads of Wales’ eight-year-olds.
Sweetshop Revolution has worked with school children across Wales to find out what exactly makes them tick, what are their hopes and dreams and what is important to them, post-pandemic.
I am 8 began when dance company Sweetshop Revolution brought school children into a series of workshops in theatres and arts centres across Wales and asked them what makes them happy, sad, laugh, what they enjoy doing, what do they want to do when they grow up and what being 8 means to them.
What they discovered whilst working with the children is that being eight means bouncing, and jumping, leaping, being happy, feeling lonely and loving being with your friends; and the company hopes that in I Am 8 they have created a production that encapsulates all those things.
They wanted to make a dance show that really engaged young people and their families and so after the children took part in classes, observed dancers at work and took part in ‘Director for the Day’ workshops, a piece was developed about the children themselves.
The result includes a mix of contemporary dance, hip hop, flamenco, classical Indian dance and, of course, leap frogs as the team of five dancers inhabit the world of eight-year-olds for a 45-minute, high energy show, followed by the opportunity for the young people in the audience to climb on stage, meet the dancers and try out some moves of their own.
Director Sally Marie explains: “We wanted to give children the opportunity to observe a day in the life of a dancer and learn what it feels like to be a director themselves.
“We noticed that after having watched a group of highly skilled professional dancers in front of them, the children were full of inspiration for even more exciting ideas that they wanted us to incorporate into our piece.
“So, we took this on board and created our Director for a Day workshops to empower them to know that they can create dance themselves.”
Producer and dancer Josie Sinnadurai said: “During our research for the project, we saw that post COVID-19, many children suffered from high levels of anxiety and were timid about moving in the space.
“According to their teachers, they had lost some of their social skills, and lacked empathy and patience.
“However, we noticed that once many of the children began to engage with our workshops, their energy levels and attitudes changed, they began to smile and laugh and interacted differently with our dancers and each other.
“We believe in the ability of dance to empower and inspire and we felt that this was the perfect time to give these children an opportunity to be creatively involved in this project and reconnect with their bodies and with each other.”
I Am 8 is at Memo Arts Centre, Barry on 24th May, the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven on 7th June and at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 24th June.
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