Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company embark on a tour with a difference today as the seven-strong dance and music ensemble take an innovative and inspirational performance project around five different primary schools in the north west.
‘Let’s Play’ features professional dance artists Ayesha Mailey, Kelly Quigley, Zoe Ramsey and Tonya Sheina of Echo Echo Ensemble who are joined by musicians Amanda Koser, Joleen McLaughlin and Stephanie Pawula. The creative movement and music project is part improvisation performance and part dance workshop. Hundreds of local schoolchildren will have the chance to watch and participate in events this month.
The primary schools tour begins today at newly amalgamated school St Michael’s PS in Donemana, followed by performances and workshops in primary schools in Park, Claudy, Newbuildings and Ballykelly.
Breige O’Neill, Principal of St Colmcille PS, Claudy stated:
“We currently do not have access to dance and it is very exciting to anticipate being involved with a new form of artistic expression. As our community is on the outskirts of the city, accessibility of extended activities is fairly limited. Therefore it is vital to reach out through any means to provide this broad balance of opportunities to our rural families.”
During the project participants will get to watch performances and develop new skills in movement and music improvisation. Ayesha Mailey, Echo Echo Associate Artistic Director said:
“The artists will introduce participants to the concept of instantaneous composition and working as an ensemble. There will be a focus on building self-confidence which is vital to nurturing children’s imaginations and creativity. Children and staff will witness the tools and skills developed in the workshops applied directly to the creation of a playful and eclectic performance by the professional artists, therefore receiving two very rich experiences in arts practice and creativity both as participants and audience members.”
The ‘Let’s Play’ project is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Rural Needs Programme.
Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, commented, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Echo Echo with funding towards this dance tour around rurally-based primary schools. As the lead development agency for the arts in the region, we are committed to making sure that everyone has access to the arts because we know that taking part in the arts makes a positive difference. The Rural Needs Small Grants Programme has been specifically designed to ensure that those rurally based communities reap all the many health and wellbeing benefits that taking part in the arts brings and we wish everyone taking part in Let’s Play every success.”
For further information about the company see www.echoechodance.com.
Photo credit: Simon Alleyne Photography