During the week leading up to the November tour date of their show Stateless, at Pavilion Dance South West, Joli Vyann delivered workshops in three Cultural Hub Junior schools, based on the themes that inspired their work. Groups from Haymoor, Canford Heath and Bethany Junior schools had the opportunity to be taught and guided by co-founders and performers Olivia Quayle and Jan Patzke, in a safe and creative environment.
Stateless is a thrilling, exhilarating and moving piece based on true stories of refugees and their personal journeys. From the outset, Olivia and Jan discussed this difficult topic with the Year 5 groups, encouraging them to have empathy and understanding for others’ plight and experiences. Stemming from these discussions, Joli Vyann got the children moving through the space, warming up bodies and teaching basic lifting and partnering techniques whilst allowing the children to explore their own limits.
The main body of the workshop focussed on creating a short creative piece of work, roughly 3 minutes in length, unique to each school. Some students learnt how to support each other in order to form pyramids of various shapes and sizes, whilst others incorporated more dance with beautifully choreographed floor patterns and carrying lifts. These workshops then culminated in a school sharing in the Ocean Room Theatre at Pavilion Dance South West. For some of the children, this was the first time they had the chance to perform in a professional theatre space and in front of an intimate group of parents. For some, the experience was a nerve-wracking one, however the response from the children post-performance was overwhelmingly positive, with one child commenting that the performance made her feel “proud that [she] had done it” and another saying that it “filled [her] with happiness and joy”.
In the week following the school sharing, the 3 groups, plus an extra 2 cultural hub schools, had the chance to see a special school showing of Stateless with the full cast. This professional performance drew audible gasps along with murmurs of surprise and delight from the young audience, who felt real connection and a sense of ownership with the piece, relating movements and music to their own performance the week beforehand. Resuts from the project have been resoundingly positive, with 100% of students feeding back that they enjoyed working with Joli Vyann, and 97% registering their interest in taking part in further dance and theatre based activities in the future.
Excitingly, Joli Vyann are now in the process of forming their new work Imbalance. So far the company have spent a week at Pavilion Dance South West, followed by a week in Bridport as part of their research and development period for Imbalance. They will soon be entering a 2 week rehearsal period in Bristol at the beginning of December, before holding sharing of the work on the 16th December. The New Year will see Joli Vyann return to Pavilion Dance South West, to continue 2 more weeks of rehearsals and a prototype performance, before the commencement of an 18 date tour of the South West, linked to the Shift and Share Network.