Open Arts launches disability dance programme
Belfast based arts and disability company Open Arts recently launched Luminous Soul, a three year dance development project, funded by the Legacy Trust UK.
Luminous Soul is the first of a series of projects devised by Open Arts as part of Connections, a Northern Ireland programme set up to help build a cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.
The new dance project will provide opportunities for disabled people throughout the region to work with professional disabled tutors from across the UK. To launch Luminous Soul, Open Arts hosted a dance development day on Monday 30th November at All Souls’ Church Hall, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast. Further dance days and a residential course will follow at various locations around Northern Ireland. Leading contemporary dance company Candoco are travelling over to Belfast for the launch event.
Kate Ingram from Open Arts explained: “Through Luminous Soul we hope to identify and train disabled people who have real potential to dance in a professional company or to be dance teachers. This is the first time disabled people in Northern Ireland have been offered an opportunity of this sort. The inclusive Candoco Dance Company from London will facilitate our Belfast dance development day.”
Candoco Dance Company describe themselves as ‘pushing the boundaries of contemporary dance beyond usual expectations, broadening people's perception of what dance is and who can dance’.
Open Arts is one of six organisations to have received funding through Legacy Trust UK, managed by the Arts Council. The £1.78 million Connections programme will see a series of sport and arts linked events taking place across Northern Ireland over the course of the next three years.
Culture Minister Nelson McCausland, Chair of the NI 2012 Leadership Group said: “I want to congratulate Open Arts for being selected as one of the six lead partner organisations to participate in the Northern Ireland Connections Programme that will deliver a significant legacy as part of the Olympic and Paralympics Games in 2012.
“The Luminous Soul Project is an excellent example of how the values of the Games can be used to inspire and encourage inclusive participation by individuals and communities in Northern Ireland and ensure that 2012 is Everyone’s Games.”
Lorraine McDowell, Director of Operations, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “Today marks the beginning of a fantastic project which unites arts and disability sports. Through Luminous Soul, Open Arts will work with disabled dancers to develop aspirations and help local disabled dancers achieve excellence. This exciting programme will encourage disabled people to build their dance skills, helping them to realise their full artistic potential.”
Dugald Mackie, Chair of the Legacy Trust, said: “The Games are about more than sport. They are a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of people across the world. We believe that these projects will inspire and encourage people throughout Northern Ireland to get involved and will leave a lasting legacy for the region.”
As part of the initial training and selection process, there will be dance development days in Derry, Omagh, Ballymena and Newry. Following this, week-long Residential Courses with experienced disabled tutors will further develop the talents of the chosen individuals. There is no cost for this training but participants need to be over 18.
How to get involved: For more information about Dance Development Days and for Registration Forms go to www.openarts.net and look for Luminous Soul Dance Project.