My first attempt to sum up 1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017) – BLOG 1

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Jazz music in the background, the smell of coffee and rose white tea, steam coming out my mug, all of a sudden… my eyes lit up!

“1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”.

I am sitting in a coffee shop, an informal catch up with Theresa Beattie, a phenomenal woman who has several decades of experience within the arts as a producer and artistic director. Her words resonate and echo a couple of times in the space… It feels like my mind stands still for a second.

It’s been 2 weeks now since we wrapped up the 2017 edition. I have desperatelly been trying to write a simple Facebook status, but not a word is coming out! Have you ever had a creative block when writing a Facebook status?!?!

1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017 edition) has been such an emotional rollercoaster of growth, an experience made of magic, bubbles and sparkle, it was such a powerful heartwarming event that I have been unable to write anything that would give it justice.

It was “life-changing”, as many participants described it. And life-changing moments are sometimes better described in silence than in words.

Sipping tea, my mind keeps repeating Theresa’s words in a loop: “1000 Pieces Puzzle isn’t a project, it feels more like a movement.”.  My frozen stillness felt like decades even though I am sure it must have only taken a few seconds before I tried to speak again.

Theresa had heard of the programme last year, I had invited her as a consultant to be a part of a Business Brainstorm weekend to move Cindy Claes Productions forwards. Twelve months later, she saw the results live. An explosive collaboration between 30 dancers, and 4 countries: UK – Belgium – Jamaica – USA.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is an international dance exchange and leadership program I set up a few years ago. It is mainly, but not exclusivelly, aimed at supporting Hiphop, Dancehall, Krump, House and Afrobeats dance artists.

Ten years of day dreaming, 100s of sleepless nights and many flights later, the program is now a massive success, empowering artists and dancers with the necessary tools to make their own dreams come true.

Being speechless has its beauty, but if I want the program to expand and give opportunities to more leaders from the dance industry to rise, I must go on a quest of finding the rights words to describe “it”.

I take a sip of my tea and loudly respond: “YES! YES! Theresa… YES!”. A movement. This actually sounds right.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is about nurturing citizens of the world a.k.a. artists of the world. It is about highlighting the importance of each individual and his/her dreams, it is about reminding artists of the power of their artistic expression and making sure all involved use their creative work to make this world a better world.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is about building a society based on win-win situations. It is about embracing the champion that we are and about boosting the leader within ourselves. It is about supporting others generously and at the same time finding the courage to strive fully for our own ideas to come true.

1000 Pieces Puzzle had nothing to do with me, it was something way beyond the human being that I am. 1000 Pieces Puzzle carries an energy in itself, uplifting, joyful and a strong feeling of being ready to take over the world. It’s a mindset thing, in action, continuously in action, continuously in motion. It is something that happens within the interactions, the exchanges and the collaborations. The energy is created in the space by the dancers, for the dancers. And this energy travels beyond the studio, it has a domino effect and goes beyond the group that we were.

1000 Pieces Puzzle is a movement.

Thank you Theresa,

Cindy

More blog posts will follow after this first attempt of writing more about 1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017).

***1000 Pieces Puzzle (2017) was presented by Cindy Claes Productions and Zinnema, in association with East London Dance.

***Photo by Alex Rumford.

International teachers coming to London!

Dance Backpackers’ TV and Cindy Claes Productions, supported by East London Dance,

are proud to present an international DANCEHALL & KRUMP workshop

on MONDAY 20th FEBRUARY

6pm – 10pm

at Stratford Circus

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

 

Kimiko, straight outta Jamaica; and Krucial aka Queen Weapon, straight outta Los Angeles, will be sharing knowledge, technique and a piece of their artistic life journeys with us for one whole evening.

Kimiko has toured the world as an ambassador for Dancehall culture. She trained in traditional Jamaican folk dance forms, is a member of the DanceJA movement, and is a powerful female leader in the Dancehall industry.

KIMIKO:

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Krucial is a passionate artivist. Co-chair of Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles, she has been dedicated to use dance as a tool for social change. She has toured the US with the documentary Stand, doing leadership and education work amongst the community.

KRUCIAL:

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Workshops are open to all levels, from beginners to advanced (16+).

MON 20th FEB

6pm – 6.30pm: Registrations & jam

6.30pm – 7.15pm: Cultural Panel discussion on Dancehall & Krump

7.15pm – 8.30pm: Krump with Krucial aka Queen Weapon (Los Angeles)

8.30pm – 9.45pm: Dancehall with Kimiko (Jamaica)

 

BOOK TICKETS HERE – LIMITED SPACES

Audition Brussels – 12th Feb

BRUSSELS:

Looking for 4 additional dancers for a new & refreshing artistic project.

We are looking for dancers who have a strong background in either Hiphop / Dancehall / House / Afrobeats or Krump; to create new dance theatre work exploring the themes of police brutality in Brussels and the Belgian prison system. 

 

We are looking for dancers who:
◇have a strong interest in Hiphop Theatre / Dance Storytelling
◇are passionate about using art to bring social change
◇are eager to use creative platforms to bring new refreshing discussions to the table through art
◇are hungry for professional development

The project will offer:
◇The opportunity to work 2 days with Benji Reid, a U.K. Hiphop Theatre pioneer / choreographer and renown theatre director
◇The opportunity to work alongside Cindy Claes, choreographer based in London
◇professional development for dancers who want to expand their performance skills
◇professional development for emerging choreographers
◇networking opportunities (Zinnema, international dance exchanges, etc.)

The project is unpaid but lunch will be provided during the last week of residency. Cindy Claes Productions (UK) and Timiss (Belgium) have as focus to invest in local upcoming talent, empowering leaders of the future. Our aim is to provide a platform for growth, reflection and artistic expansion for all involved. The project is fully supported and programmed by Zinnema, an arts organisation based in Anderlecht.

Important Dates:

Audition & networking workshop:
12th February (morning)

Rehearsals (all day):
from Fri 24th March until Sun 26th March
from Fri 21st April until Fri 28th April

Show:
Sat 29th April

How to apply?

Please email TIMISS mouss@timiss.be with the following info:
max 500 words to tell us a little bit more about yourself (background and also your motivation!)
a short 3min dance video where we can clearly see your skills (freestyle / choreography / jam / battle videos accepted)

More info:
www.cindyclaes.com

Dancehall for Black Lives Matter

Top Up Dancehall Camp (Germany) and its founder Swaggi Maggi invited me to teach a Dancehall Theatre workshop in Berlin earlier this year.

I was extremely excited to share the power of the art form with students, many of who might have never experienced this creative process before. Half a day, that’s all I had to give them a taster of what Dancehall Theatre is / could be, train them up, give them a unique experience AND… create a show! Students were to perform a short extract of the work the day Battles were to take place.

For a very long time I was trying to prepare my class, having too many ideas… I thought to introduce them to some fun stuffs, explore suspense and storytelling, or fiction, or comedy… until I finally came to the conclusion I should just stick to what make me wake up every morning:

CREATING WORK THAT MATTERS AND THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIAL CHANGE.

 

I am an artist passionate about creating socio-political work. And I have been researching extensivelly the themes of mass incarceration, police brutality and the privatisation of prisons in the USA for about two years.

Top Up Dancehall Camp became a workshop and an adventure not only focussing on the possibilities of Dancehall Theatre but also the power we have as artists to be heard on topics that matter.

Here is a video from the work in progress the students presented after only a few hours of work:

 

“Yes, you can!”

When scrolling down some social media platforms this morning I came accross this incredibly inspiring video.

An 80 years old lady take over the Britain Got Talent auditions by storm! Her determination, humble heart and… acrobatic skills, are such an inspiration! 

Listening to her story and background made me cry. She is a lesson of hope, courage, passion, and so much more.

May you have a good week and feel inspired too by watching her dance!

 

Guest Teachers for 1000 Pieces Puzzle!

Our line up of guest teachers for 1000 Pieces Puzzle has now been announced !!!
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We have the pleasure to have the following high calibre artists delivering workshops and mentoring on this International Dance Exchange, including:

  • UK Hiphop Theatre pioneer: Benji Reid​ !!!!
  • one of the most versatile artists ever (also from the old school generation) Paradigmz​!!!
  • Jan Wallyn​’s Dance-On-Screen work went viral not only online but also on Belgian TV!
  • Ricardo Ambrózio​ with a background in Krump and Capoeira, now channelled his energy into Contemporary technique and explorations of “untamed” movement quality!
  • artistic genius: Sean Graham​ , from spoken words to Underground UK Jazz he will bring us on a total new creative adventure!
  • Kate Scanlan​ , from Breakin Convention to Move It, to her unstoppable fountain of energy empowering freelance artists through projects all year round, she is just an inspirational powerhouse.
  • Annie Deltour​ on Body Percussion and the use of props, ready to take you out of your comfort zones!!
  • and of course you’ll see me as well, for some Dance Storytelling ingredients!

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TO APPLY:

www.cindyclaes.com
www.eastlondondance.org/opportunities (UK) – deadline 9th Nov
www.zinnema.be (Belgium) – deadline 6th Nov

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1000 Pieces Puzzle is an international dance exchange programme presented by Cindy Claes Productions and Zinnema in partnership with East London Dance.

Supported by Erasmus+, Rich Mix, Scanners Inc, Foundation for Future London, Danspunt, Jint and Arts Council England.

 

guest teachers blog

“1000 Pieces Puzzle” – Are you a leader?

“1000 Pieces Puzzle” – INTERNATIONAL DANCE EXCHANGE
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A leadership and profesionnal development program for Hiphop / Dancehall / Afrobeats / House / Krump dancers.

Applications (2016 edition) are now open for artists based in the UK and Belgium.

What is the program about?
– artistic coaching, train with high calibre guest teachers/choreographers
– create your own Dance Theatre and Dance on Screen work
– collaborate with international peers
– business coaching

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Do you have what it takes to be a leader?
– If you ever doubted it, check out the video below!
– If you always knew you were one, check out the video below!

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All info on 1000 Pieces Puzzle and how to apply:

(deadline is 6th Nov for Belgium and 9th Nov for the UK)

http://cindyclaes.com/portfolio-item/1000-pieces-puzzel/

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Je veux faire “1000 Pieces Puzzle” MAIS…

Le programme de développement professionnel et échange international “1000 Pieces Puzzle”, est en train de recruter des candidats Belges pour l’édition 2016!!!

15 danseurs/  chorégraphes belges seront sélectionnés pour cette formation riche en échanges artistiques et en coaching!

Pendant mon dernier séjour a Bruxelles, les danseurs m’ont poses plusieurs questions.

Voici quelques réponses afin d’encourage la communauté Hiphop, Dancehall et Krump de soumettre leur candidature avec détermination et confiance:

1. “Faut-il déjà avoir un projet/une idée de création bien précise pour pouvoir s’inscrire?”

Non!

Nous n’attendons pas que les danseurs aient déjà une idées précises pour leur création. (Si vous avez déjà un concept c’est très bien, mais ceci n’est absolument pas nécessaire pour soumettre sa candidature, et ceci ne fait pas partie des critères de sélection!)

Le programme offrira des workshops et des session qui aideront les participants à explorer de nouvelles pistes et à créer un concept.

Votre motivation, et votre aptitude à pouvoir nous communiquer comment ce programme enrichira votre parcours artistique est un critère de sélection important. On attends de vous de nous expliquer qui vous êtes en tant que artiste, et comment ce programme vous aidera a réaliser vos projets artistiques. Dites-nous comment cette formation influencera votre carrière, et qu’est ce que vous espérer y apprendre.

Au courant de l’édition 2015, la plupart des candidats n’avaient pas d’idée de départ, et d’autres ont carrément changé de direction au cours de la formation.

Prenez cette opportunité pour explorer, et pour prendre des risques au niveau artistique. (Un des risques pourrait être de se lancer dans l’inconnu!)

Vous devez soumettre une video pour votre candidature. Cette video a pour but d’évaluer votre niveau de danse. Les vidéos freestyle et/ou chorégraphies sont acceptées. Les vidéos ne doivent en rien représenter votre Création Hiphop à venir.

 

2. “Faut-il déjà avoir une expérience en béton dans le domaine des Créations Hiphop pour pouvoir faire le programme?”

Non.

Le programme s’adresse autant aux danseurs/chorégraphes qui ont déjà une certaine expérience dans le domaine, qu’aux artistes qui se lancent dans cette expérience pour la première fois.

Les candidatures seront jugées par rapport aux motivations des artistes, l’impact que ce programme aura sur votre carrière et l’enrichissement artistique que celui-ci vous offrira. Dites-nous pourquoi cette formation est importante pour vous, et pourquoi est-il important que vous le fassiez maintenant.

Les chorégraphes expérimentés peuvent parfois avoir plus de mal à se défaire de certains automatismes, alors que des artistes plus novices sont parfois plus créatifs et flexibles dans leur approche.

Vous serez juges sur votre niveau de danse (video à soumettre), et vos motivations.

 

3. “Le programme à l’air très intense, j’ai peur de ne pas être a la hauteur.”

Le programme est intensif et a été conçu pour les artistes qui sont déterminés pour faire avancer leur carrière.

Le programme demande un engagement (temps, énergie, etc.) de la part du participant.  Les participants devront prendre soin de leur style de vie (repos, stretching, nourriture saine) pendant ces 5 semaines, car les journées seront physiquement intensives.

Nous attendons des participants qu’ils fassent de leur développement professionnel un priorité pendant ces 5 semaines.  S’enrichir au niveau artistique demande de la discipline, de la motivation, du temps et de l’énergie.

Il est évident que ce programme ne s’adresse pas a des débutants, mais à des danseurs qui ont un certain niveau.

Néanmoins, notre apprentissage et notre envie de se perfectionner ne s’arrêtera jamais. En tant que danseurs, nous sommes d’éternels étudiants qui s’entraineront toujours sans relâche. Il y a toujours un mouvement à améliorer, ou une nouvelle technique de danse à apprendre.

Je ne peux pas vous garantir que vous serez sélectionné, mais je peux vous garantir 2 choses:

  • si vous ne soumettez pas votre candidature, vous ne serez certainement pas parmi les élus!!!!
  • le pire qui peut vous arriver, c’est que vous ne soyez pas sélectionné… mais garder en tête que les jurys se souviendront peut-être de vous pour un autre projet à venir! Même un “non” peut avoir des répercussions positives!!!

 

4. “Le programme se fait pendant les weekends, je me sens coincé financièrement car je dois prendre des jours de congés au travail / je dois me faire remplacer à mes cours de danse.”

Le programme demande un certain niveau d’investissement personnel, notamment en temps. Le but de cette formation est de donner des outils aux artistes pour envisager leur travail/carrière dans le LONG TERME.

Un investissement dans le long terme demandera toujours une certaine contrainte dans le court terme.

Quand on est artiste, le but et le défi… c’est de le rester pendant de longues années a venir! Investir en soi et en son future artistique est donc une priorité.

Ce programme s’adresse à ceux qui:

  • sont prêts à donner priorité à la réalisation de leurs rêves
  • valorisent leur carrière et leur future

A titre indicatif: si vous deviez payer votre place à prix plein, ce programme vous couterais environ 1200 euros. Mais grâce aux subventions que nous sommes parvenus à avoir, il nous est possible d’offrir ce programme pour la minuscule somme de 90 euros (ce qui inclus tous les workshops ET le voyage a Londres)!!!

Nous attendons donc des candidats qu’ils soient prêts a s’investir pleinement.

 

5. “Je suis danseur freestyle, je ne suis pas très bon quand il s’agit de retenir des chorégraphies.”

Le freestyle est à la base des techniques de danse que nous pratiquons. Le freestyle doit être vu comme un de nos atouts et pas comme une de nos faiblesses!!!

Le freestyle fait partie du processus de recherche lorsqu’on explore des idées pour nos créations, et certaines créations sont même entièrement basées sur l’impro!!!

A titre d’exemple personnel, je tourne actuellement avec 2 solos de 10min, basé entièrement sur du freestyle. Mes prochaines représentations auront lieu à San Francisco et à Londres.

Vous devez soumettre une video de danse pour soumettre vos candidatures. Nous acceptons donc aussi les videos freestyles!!!! Le but est d’évaluer votre niveau de danse, et non pas votre aptitude à retenir des chorégraphies.

 

6. “Je n’ai pas de team avec qui réaliser une création durant la formation. Est-ce que cela pose un problème?“

Tu peux t’inscrire sans avoir une team de danseurs. Il est tout a fait possible de travailler sur un solo durant la formation (spectacle à presenter le 27 Février a Bruxelles/Zinnema).

Et pendant l’échange international avec l’Angleterre, tu travailleras en équipe avec des danseurs de Londres (spectacle à présenter le 13 Février à RichMix/Londres), donc pas besoin de recruter une team pour cette étape-la.

Néanmoins, on t’encourage pleinement à trouver une équipe!! La raison est simple: cette formation a pour but de développer le leadership que nous avons en nous en tant qu’artiste. Recruter une team, et parvenir à motiver d’autres personnes fait partie de notre développement en tant que leader!

Tu peux travailler sur un solo, et si ceci est un défi que tu veux te lancer, alors fonce! Si au contraire recruter une team te semble inconfortable, alors lance toi ce défi en lieu et place du solo! Le programme te donnera également du support pendant les répétitions afin d’apprendre à gérer une team.

La platforme “1000 Pieces Puzzle” est là pour que tu puisse te lancer dans un territoire nouveau, et que tu puisse faire des erreurs tout ayant le soutien nécessaire pour continuer et rectifier le tire.

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J’espère que la réponse a ces questions vous aidera a remplir votre dossier de candidature. J’ai crée le programme “1000 Pieces Puzzle” POUR les danseurs Hiphop / Dancehall / Krump. Je crois en notre communauté et en notre force.

Mon parcours artistique m’a permis de me spécialiser dans les Créations, de voyager dans les 4 coins du monde, et à me présenter en tant que leader dans ce domaine.

La scène me passionne et je veux donner à d’autres artistes de ma communauté l’opportunité de collaborer au niveau international et de construire une carrière solide qui tiendra la route dans le future. Je veux voire des danseurs et des chorégraphes de ma communauté se développer en tant que leader car nous contribuons de manière positive à la société autour de nous.

Je vous encourage tous à foncer et à soumettre vos candidature!

SOUMETTEZ VOS CANDIDATURES AVANT LE 6 NOVEMBRE 2015!

 

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**This blog was written in French as it relates to a Belgian based project.**

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Selling Yourself Without Selling Out

1000 Pieces Puzzle is a Dance Career Bootcamp ran by renowned dance theatre choreographer and playwright, Cindy Claes. The program covers absolutely every subject you could possibly need to know to carve out a career for yourself in dance.

The first training program was held in Brussels, Belgium, over 5 weekends in January and February 2015.  Supported by Zinnema, the bootcamp was a true success!

In a theatre in Belgium called “Zinnema”, a dozen dance students in the program worked with professional mentors to sculpt a short performance piece over the space of five weekends. They learned choreography, storytelling through dance, creating a character for the stage and… they even studied project management and tools to budget their shows!

Artists of all mediums have never been known to have the best business skills.

Master painter Vincent Van Gogh, the archetype of the starving artist, famously never sold a single painting in his entire lifetime. It’s exactly that mindset that Cindy is trying to change. She believes that the key to becoming successful (whilst your still alive) is a sound business sense.

During the first weekend of the bootcamp, Cindy asked the dancers to stand up in front of the group and describe themselves as an artist in less than 2 minutes. For most of the students this was confronting, they where at a loss for words and found it hard to say more than “……I’m a dancer… and hmmmm…”.

So over the next month Cindy Claes, along with Kate Scanlan (founder of Scanners Inc., UK) and Jan Wallyn (Artistic Director of Zinnema) delivered a series workshops in budgeting, networking, marketing, pitching to funders, considering target audience, amongst many more.

The challenge for the dancers was that just five weeks later they would have to pitch themselves again, but this time, in front of a professional panel of judges who would be awarding one prize to the person and creative project with the most potential.

“A lot of dancers want to put shows together… but if you don’t have the skills to articulate your ideas and vision clearly, funding bodies and theatre venues aren’t going to invest in your potential. That’s why these professional development programs are so important.”  – Cindy Claes

The heat was on, but the dancers held true to their training.  When the final weekend came, all choreographers where able to speak with clarity and confidence about themselves, their artistic vision and their plan to achieve it. Each and everyone of them had a incredible breakthrough!

Zinnema was so impressed by the transformation of the artists, their pitches, and the quality of their final shows, that they decided to award not only one prize (as originally intended) but to triple their entire prize pool!

 

Jenny Onya received a commission of 1500 €, 10 days of rehearsal space in kind and technical support to develop her work.  She created a Dance Theatre piece based on rape and the suffering of women in the Eastern Congo region.  The extract her dancers performed on the night was very moving, bringing many audience members to tears.

Mouss Sarr also received a commission of 1500 €, 10 days of rehearsal space in kind and technical support to develop a creative project he wants to produce.  Based on inter-disciplinary collaborations, Mouss will be producing a one day festival which will result in a mond blowing performance.

Camile and Anissa, two young Hiphop freestyle dancers received logistic support and business mentoring for a project that is close to their heart.  They will run a course and program for young Hiphop freestyle dancers during te winter, providing a wamr and safe space for young people to train as well as workshops in variety of street dance techniques.

 

It goes to show that there is a subtle art to being successful, and with the right mindset and the right mentor it is something anyone can learn. Talent isn’t everything. It’s only one piece of the Puzzle.

And as Will Smith would say”

“Skill is only developed by hours and hours 

and hours of Beating on your craft… 

there’s no easy way around it, 

no matter how talented you are you talent is going to fail you 

if you’re not skilled, 

if you don’t study, 

if you don’t work really hard and dedicate yourself 

to being better every single day

you’ll  never be able to communicate with people with your artistry 

the way that you want.” – Will Smith 

 

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Written by Sara Kerrison

Edited by Cindy Claes

 

65 59 47 16 11

Documentary on our Dance Theatre Exchange JA / UK!!

We are proud and excited to share with you a documentary (made by Janka Troeber) about our UK/JA  Dancehall Theatre Exchange!!!  It just got released on YouTube and the images triggered so many positive memories.

 

The documentary got shared all over social media.  Here is what the students and artists who participated to the program said:

 

“Truly blessed and thankful to have been a part of this wonderful project thanks to Cindy and her whole team ! It’s been a life changing experience! All the hard work, trainings and lessons learned will be remembered and applied forever, and we will continue fighting for projects like this !” – Marie Popovski

 

“So happy I got to be part of that beautiful project!I learnt so much from the incredible Cindy Claes and the super talented @shadysquad. I’ve also met true real good friends!” – Felicia Dotse

 

“One of the BEST experiences of my LIFE!!!” – Matthew Richard

 

“One of the best times in my career. Being apart of this collective, training HARD, pushing oneself,creating, sweating, rehearsing,performing, tiredness, laughter upon laughter,international exchange new friends cest stylé!!!!!!!!. Don’t judge the shabby rehearsal clothes and heads scarf and dry lips by den image weren’t a factor!! Lets do it AGAIN AGAIN AGAIN!!!!!!!” – Natalie Baylie

 

“Sorry for my ugly, sweaty,tired faces but I completely released, pushed myself, my heart,me, just as I am and I felt the love of this family so much that this has been one the best training, crew, collaboration, memory, show, xchange, experience of my life!” – Michela Di Felice

 

I truly believe international dance theatre connections are incredibly life changing.  We now also have a DONATE page so you can support more artists to benefit from such training and experiences.  These projects allow artists to not only develop their performance skills but it also supported many to nurture their leadership skills.  Click here to DONATE now.

 

Drum rolls please…. let me introduce you to our first documentary about us taking over London and the world with Dancehall Theatre: