Ballet company seeks people with neurological conditions to star in new films

Ballet dancer
Ballet dancer (PA Wire)
0:01am, Mon 11 Jan 2021
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A national ballet company is calling for people with dementia, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s to submit videos for the chance to feature in new dance productions.

Scottish Ballet is asking people worldwide to send a 20-second clip, with the footage to be used in three new dance films as part of the multi-artform project Haud Close.

Inspired by the ballet company’s film Haud Close Tae Me, created by filmmaker Eve McConnachie in 2017 and featuring poetry from Scots Makar Jackie Kay, the project will involve working remotely with care home residents and people living with above conditions to create the films.

The Scottish Ballet health team has also launched a new series of online movement classes for people living with dementia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s which start next month via Zoom.

Ballet classes

Also planned is a pilot scheme in Erskine Home in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, which cares for veterans, offering small-scale digital movement sessions aimed at boosting physical and emotional health and wellbeing, particularly for those thought to be isolated and vulnerable.

Choreographer Jack Webb, visual artist Brian Hartley, and storyteller and dramaturg Philippa Clark, will work remotely with participants from the classes and the pilot project to create the three new films and incorporate the submitted footage.

Catherine Cassidy, Scottish Ballet director of engagement, said: “Engagement work is vital in making a difference to communities, and we will continue to produce work that helps support people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“We are proud of the work that we are offering to people across all areas of society, and will continue to use dance and movement as a connector to improve people’s health, and inspire creativity.”

The deadline for submissions is February 22.

Ballet class

Meanwhile, the ballet company is expanding its Health at Hand programme offering movement and mindfulness resources to frontline NHS staff and keyworkers during the coronavirus pandemic by rolling it out to NHS 24 call-centre staff.

It is also launching a new programme of online ballet classes for adults and children of all abilities, taught by Scottish Ballet dancers.

Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet chief executive officer and artistic director, said: “At Scottish Ballet, we are committed to connecting with our audiences and using dance to engage with our communities.

“We are dedicated to using our skills and expertise to support everyone, bringing the benefits of movement and the joy of dance to people of all ages and backgrounds during these challenging times.”

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