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By Helen Tiplady, Deputy Creative Director of Hall for Cornwall - and Get Creative leader

Half term was no break or rest time for our HfC Youth Dancers! On Sunday the 11th Feb we jumped on a stylish coach (Thanks Truronain) who whisked us away to the bright lights of London.

Once there our dancers set to work, doing  Pop up performances at iconic London sites, creative and technique workshops at the world famous Rambert Dance studios, and tours and workshops at Trinity Laban and The Place before jumping back on the bus to head home.

Day One: Travelling in style and a visit to The Place...

A dance and performance centre in Camden!

Us on the bus!

After our epic journey we arrived at The Place. We love showing our dancers training establishments and facilities as its a great way to open their eyes to what might be possible for their future paths. We were delighted to be met by two HFC Alumni dancers Jacy and Lilia who are in their 1st and 2nd years training there. They gave us a full tour and explained about the courses and how they were finding it in London with the demands on them as trainee dancers, and info about living away from Cornwall. Talia Sealey (who also trained at The Place and is Youth Dance alumni from a few years ago) led a contemporary class to kick start our 3 days of dance. The current team were inspired to ask questions and get all the info they wanted, whilst also relishing the opportunity to dance in such gorgeous studio spaces - especially welcome and stretchy after such a long journey.

Personally it made me really happy as it felt a bit like a 'full circle' moment where students I have taken on this trip a few years before, were now leading the sessions. It made me proud of how we've nurtured them!

We then travelled to our YHA for the night and got settled before our big day 2.

Talia with the dancers at The Place

Day 2: Rambert Studios on the Southbank and Trinity Laban! 

Us outside the studios ready to venture in!

We spent the whole day at the resplendent Rambert studios on the Southbank. Bathed in glorious sunshine ☀️ we worked with the fantastic Liam Francis who led a gorgeous class and creative session sharing insight into the creative process at Rambert and his career pathway as to how he came to be dancing at Rambert.

Its so great for us, as after welcoming this world renowned dance company to our Cornwall Playhouse stage, it was a brilliant behind the scenes glimpse to see into the world where the magic happens. I was so proud of our students as they asked insightful questions and threw themselves into the sessions with energy and enthusiasm. With the Rambert outreach team commented on our students focus and professionalism.

Liam with the dancers.

After a quick dinner break, we hot footed it over to the legendary Trinity Laban, where we had a tour of the fabulous facilities and a proper good stretchy class with Sally Knight (Laban alumni as well original Youth Dance performer from a few years ago. Sally and I used to dance together when we were 14 in the company so it was a really lovely moment as the 40 something us versions of ourselves got to reminisce!)

Sally with the dancers

The Trinity Laban building at night!

The trip reminded me that Cornwall is full of talent and creativity, and one of my favourite parts of my role with the Get Creative team is nurturing these young performers in their early years before they spread their wings and show the world how wonderful they are. You can't underestimate how powerful it is and how these experiences inspire the dancers to imagine themselves in these places.

After a comfy nights rest they got ready for Day 3: (we treated them to to a Premier Inn no less!)

Day 3: Pop up performances around London!

On Day 3, our Youth Dancers took to the streets of London to showcase their work. The slightly damp weather was no match for our Cornish enthusiasm as we began with the first performance outside The National Theatre. After a quick stop and impromptu pop up show on the Southbank side (There was a huge crowd so we thought why not?!) then headed to the grounds of Victoria Tower Gardens behind the House of Lords.

Our dancers were beaming with pride as the crowds erupted into applause! Particularly epic on the southbank where the street was bustling with people exploring. We were so happy that friends and family who live in London came to support, as well as the Chair of our Board, Lord John Hutton came to watch us.

As our trip drew to a close, we piled (not plied!) onto the coach to begin the long journey back to Cornwall, full of stories - and a new found confidence.

Experiences like this are vital for the growth young performers, and we're so chuffed that we're able to offer them. Whether it be workshops with industry professionals, pop up performances or main stage debuts on the Cornwall Playhouse stage, we're always on the lookout for new students to develop their skills with us.

If you're interested in joining our Get Creative programme, have a read of our webpage, or email  [email protected].


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