Looking back at Beijing

October 1, 2008 at 1:08 pm (Learning & Access) (, , , , , , , , , )

The Learning & Access Team have now returned from Beijing and are settling back into the Autumn Tour.  Jo Dean sums up their involvement in the project that was part of the Young Advocates Progamme – Developing the Paralympic Spirit.

 

The week in Beijing went very well, with our workshops and performance a great success.  The group worked so well together and you could see the confidence of the participants grow over the course of the week.  Their ability to communicate, despite the language barrier was brilliant, using their movement to show each other what they meant.  The group performed really well in the showcase at the end of the week, given the very limited amount of time we had to bring the piece together and rehearse, and the participants seemed to get a real buzz from performing in front of the other Young Advocates.

 

 

 

We all had a wonderful time in Beijing, with so many fantastic opportunities and experiences, from attending the opening of the Paralympic Games at the birds Nest Stadium, to meeting Prince Edward at the Ambassadors reception.  But I think the bit we enjoyed most was getting to know and work with a group of really inspirational young people who were keen to learn and develop their skills, and who created a positive, welcoming and exciting atmosphere throughout the week that shows what a benefit the Young Advocates will be to developing the Paralympic Spirit in their communities.

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Learning & Access in Bejing

September 8, 2008 at 11:56 am (General Information, Learning & Access) (, , , , , , )

Following the success of their visit in December, the Learning & Access department have returned to Beijing as part of the British Council’s Young Advocates Programme – developing the Paralympic Spirit.  Organised by the British Council and the China Disabled Person’s Federation, the week long forum involves 240 disabled and able-bodied young people, aged 18 – 25 from China, Great Britain and across the globe taking part in activities to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­empower them to be leaders in their communities and develop the Paralympic Spirit.

Dance Education Officers Sophie Alder and Caroline Burn, along with musician Bill Laurance will be leading dance workshops with a group of 30 young people with a range of experience and abilities, with the aim of increasing their confidence, communication and leadership skills, and creating a dance piece to be performed in a showcase at the end of the forum.

Learning & Access Co-ordinator, Jo Dean, will be sending us updates throughout the week.

Arriving in Beijing on Saturday after a long flight, we just had time to drop off our bags before we were ushered straight into the main hall to meet the young people and listen to their aims for the forum.  The afternoon was spent familiarising ourselves with the space we will be working in, which is an amazing hall, complete with a grand piano and selection of instrumentsfor Bill!

After an early dinner, everyone on the project was taken to the Bird’s Nest Stadium for the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.  The stadium is an incredible structure and the atmosphere inside was fantastic, particularly when the Chinese athletes were introduced! The ceremony involved some spectacular dances with many thousands of dancers, as well as music, aerial acrobats and fireworks, and much flag waving by the crowd. The President of China having officially opened the Games and the flame having been lit, we were struggling with jet lag and were very happy to get into our beds.

Today (Sunday) was the first day of workshops, so we finally got to meet the group we will be working with.  After introductions and the warm up, the participants were straight into learning a short sequence which they then, working in small groups, adapted and developed into a short piece.  Numerous photographers and members of the press have been in and out of the workshop today, all eager to see what the group is doing and find out how the able-bodied and disabled people are able work together in dance.  At the end of the workshops today there will be a party for all the young advocates, so it will be a chance for us to find out what everyone else has been doing in their first day of workshops.


 

 

 

 

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China Report: Dancer, Martha Leebolt shares her experience of Beijing

December 27, 2007 at 5:39 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Traditional pass-time in Beijing park - Photo by Neil G Jarman

After a very hectic schedule of planes, buses, unpacking, class, rehearsals, shows etc we were finally able to ‘move into’ our hotel in Beijing. After 1 day of Class and 3 days of performances we are all ready to see some sights. Although I did the main attractions of China before, I was eager to go again to really look and take in the scenery, rather than just click on my camera.

On the 24th we got into a taxi and went off to the Summer Palace. It was even more beautiful than I remembered. The temples, small and large, were all being repainted (probably because of the Olympics) in very bright colours, mostly blue, gold and red. The prettiest Temple was built for one of the Empress Cixis’ birthdays. Inside, were housed many of her presents ranging from a big clock made of Ivory to beautiful statues of peacocks. Her throne was made of dark wood with gold cushions and pillows. Everyone’s favourite part and probably most impressive is the life size marble boat resting in the frozen lake. Unfortunately the lake was not as frozen as last time!! It was a wonderful day but my toes were freezing.

Next the 25th – Christmas day. After a pretty crowded and stressful tube ride, which cost 2 Yuan one way – 14p, we found the Lama Temple. The street leading up to the entrance is lined with about 100 stalls of people selling incense to be used inside. The Lama Temple is made up of about 40 smaller temples all housing different Buddha. The Chinese people come here to give thanks to them for example ‘The Buddha of Medicine’ and ‘The Buddha of past, future and present. Outside the temples are large pots which people burn their incense in while praying. There is constant scent of Lavender, Jasmine and Rose in the whole area. Each temple is different, some housing 3 Buddha, some housing 20. At the base of the statues there are offerings of incense that have not been burned and fruit. Everywhere you look there are people constantly kneeling and standing up. They chant with their hands in prayer which are positioned at the forehead. The finale of the temple is a Buddha that stands 30’ tall. On the way out we saw one of the Dali Lama’s thrones and I bought my own laughing Buddha.

Next we went to the Temple of Confucius. It was under a bit of construction but we were still able to see where Emperor Qinglong would give important speeches. It was very impressive; painted gold with very detailed engravings, but like most Chinese relics, the buildings they stand in are the most beautiful. The ceilings are always decorated with intricate patterns and there is never a bare space on the walls.

Lastly, The Great Wall of China – Seems ridiculous to say it is my favourite, it’s just a wall, but it really is amazing. On a clear day there is no end of it in sight. We returned to the same place as on the last visit but turned left instead of right this time. It was a bit steeper this way, so we were pretty out of breath within the first 5 minutes. This time there were many more vendors hoping to sell you anything and everything. It is an incredible place that gives me a thrill when I think about being on one of the Seven Wonders of the World. BUT can you believe there is a Starbucks at the entrance?

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Lama Temple - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Temple of Heaven - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Temple of Heaven - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Technical Experiences in Beijing

December 27, 2007 at 5:21 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Touring through China is a challenge and it was never going to be easy but with this being my second time on tour with NBT in China, I thought it would be easier. In some ways it certainly has been. The technical staff we have on this tour have been excellent and have needed to be. Their patience has been stretched a couple of times in each venue. This is mainly due to the fact that each venue has different ways of doing things and very different systems in place. The Poly Theatre in Beijing was a challenge. From the moment we discovered that there was an access to the City issue with the containers to the no gaffa tape on stage rule. At present no trucks at all are allowed into Beijing until midnight and have to clear the City limits by 6am. As Beijing is a major building site at present you can imagine the queues at the City limits waiting for the clock to strike midnight. At this point it must be like a Le Mans start. By 12.30am long convoys of trucks wend their way into the city as in some kind of protest akin to the fuel tax protests in the UK a few years ago. By 1am on 19/20 December the first of our containers arrived and backed into the loading dock under the supervision of the local police and security/army guards at the theatre. Unloading took about 45 minutes with the help of a team of 10 guys hired in by the promoter. With the doors shut on the empty container we thought it wouldn’t be long before the second container took its place in the dock. 10 minutes later nothing had moved. What I discovered walking to the front of the truck and speaking with our translator Flora, an absolute angel, was that the driver had been caught smoking in the dock by the security/army guard. The driver was being chastised beyond belief and his boss was being instructed that the driver must be punished. Until this was all agreed nothing was moving. After a further 20 minutes the truck finally moved and I was told that an agreement with the driver’s boss had been reached but I couldn’t find out what it was. The second trailer smoked its way into the car park and tried to back into the dock area. Alas the skill needed was beyond the driver so the container was unpacked there in the car park and another 20 metres of distance was added to the route in. Finally at 3.15 am we went upstairs and retired to our rooms grateful that the theatre and hotel were in the same complex.

In the morning breakfast was a cheery affair looking forward to working in the theatre we had seen the night before. On entering the theatre we were told that no gaffa tape could be used on the Korean oak floor that we were told had come from Russia. From that point on it seemed to be that they had learnt one word of English and that was the word ‘NO’ Even when going through the translator the answer seemed to be always ‘NO’. But if we really pushed and pushed for what we required and kept smiling then eventually it seemed to turn up. Well most of the time. The biggest issue was the petal drop in Act 2. They had not seen this done before and were not happy with the petals falling past the lighting bar. No reasoning or even myself telling them we had done over 250 performances of the production and never had there been an issue of the theatre catching fire seemed to wash with them. My final offer to buy them a new theatre if the effect caused the building to burn down did not even come close. We had to move the lighting bar downstage and the petal bag had to move upstage. They seemed happy with that. But after the 1st show they insisted we bring in the lighting bar and check for stray petals. Only eight petals had the gaul to land on the lighting equipment but each one was carefully extracted before we could fly the bar out again.

Joe Marchant, our Flyman/Rigger, had a nightmare of a day trying to get the flying system working safely. The Chinese flyman had never been shown the safe way of working the system and not wishing to lose face they refused to listen to Joe’s instruction. This caused a few heated debates through Flora. Meanwhile on stage Steven Wilkins (Wilky), our Chief Stage Technician for the China Tour, was being told we could not screw into the floor and not use certain flying bars for scenery. Thanks to the Chinese lighting people we have touring with us, lighting seemed to be going smoothly. Rich, Paul, Martin and Chris (Lighting Team) were all put under various amounts of pressure through the day but mainly the pressure of ‘NO’ was mainly kept to Wilky, Joe, Nic and Paul. (Stage Team)

Technical team discuss plans for the get in - Photo by Neil G Jarman

On the first day we all finished at 10pm. We lost around 3 hours of the day having to argue and discuss each thing we wanted to do. The second day started in much the same way with ‘NO’ being the order of the day. The electric flying bars were strictly under the control of the in house personnel and it was hit and miss whether we got what we asked for. By 11am the focus started and the stage work was coming to an end. By 12.30 the main focus of the lights was complete and we had only the side lights to do. Class then took place on stage. A welcome break for the technical crew. Back at 2pm we beavered on and the Technical Rehearsal went quite smoothly. Just before the start of the Technical though, the person in charge of the electric flying handed the reins over to Martin. Martin had never seen or operated the system before and it was amazing that the rehearsal went so well.

To add other things into the mix we were not allowed to go anywhere with out a pass. Not even if we had made friends with the guard and he knew us. We were not allowed to sit in the auditorium seats at all and the drinks machine had given up as well.

The first night and subsequent shows went very well indeed. The Technical staff on tour have been pushed to the edge and have been amazing.

The get out started well until we caught them inch by inch peeling back our dance tape to make sure that we had not damaged the floor. I know you have an image in your head of a highly polished oak floor and you are wondering why I am going on about this so much. But let me dispel this image and replace it with an image of a painted black extremely well -used floor that has had the paint ripped from it in various places. I hope you can see the frustration.

The containers were packed and all was finished by 3am. No driver getting punished this time although we still had to wait for the containers to arrive!

Having had a couple of days off I can look back and smile and make light of what the Tech team was put through. But things like this are a small part of what happens when we enter a new venue. We never know what we are going to face and only a great deal of experience and teamwork gets us through.

In the future I would hope that we in the UK can bring Chinese technicians over from the larger theatres and let them see how we work in the UK. I believe for the long term future of the theatres in China and the welfare and mental state of the Technicians arriving with companies from the West it would be very fruitful.

Nanjing, Yangzhou and Shanghai here we come.

Andy Waddington – Technical Director

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China Report: David Nixon’s Impressions of Beijing and China

December 24, 2007 at 5:53 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

In the foyer of the Poly Theatre - Photo by Neil G Jarman

After managing to miss the China tour last time, I finally did the impossible and arrived in Beijing!! All of my pre-conceptions of this majestic City were blown away on the taxi journey from the airport. On one hand is sadly gone the image of ancient China and even streets filled with bicycles conjured up by books and movies and in it’s stead a Kaleidoscope of towering buildings with what seems to be an endless skyline of skeletons awaiting their skins of yet more to come shapes of monstrous proportions.

In roaming around the streets, I have been overwhelmed by the impression of expansive space and size. This is without question a place conceived to impress, but simultaneously to be home to millions!

The people, though, maintaining some very different cultural manners, always have a ready and warm smile and I found myself often feeling more among friends than sometimes at home.

On my first evening, two young University Lecturers came up to me on the street and started speaking English. Their smiles, enthusiasm and kind words, they remarked that I looked very ‘cool’ and was maybe an FBI Agent! What can I say? An old man needs a few compliments to live on. I immediately dropped my defences and ended up with them in a Tea House learning how to drink Chinese Tea properly. It was a totally unexpected but delightful entry into this new China.

The day after I arrived, I taught Company Training and was met by dancers that perhaps had visions of sightseeing rather than dancing in their heads. Class taught, they were free for the rest of the day while I went on a trip to the Great Wall of China arranged by Mark Skipper and Neil Jarman.

Again, I was unprepared for the sight to be seen. The wall in itself is both an engineering feat and a work of Art so intimately following the curves of the mountains and masking the true effort it takes to mount the Wall. I was also taken with the unusual landscape. Mounds of hills like scoops of ice cream covering the horizon as far as the eye can see. It was a memorable trip that I will always treasure.

So, on to work. The Technical Rehearsal in the very large Poly Theatre went very well and was followed by a good performance. Keiko continues to take command of this role and her light and expressive dancing is always beautiful. It was the first time for me to see Kenny in the role of Pinkerton and I was pleased to see just how well suited he is to the part. Nigel Gaynor did a very good job with the orchestra, which for the most part sounded good. The crew did a super job of getting the show to look right so I was very pleased. The audience was interesting – quieter than I had expected. They do not like intermissions and even though there was little reaction during the performance, they responded warmly at the end. This is a young art form here and does not quite sit comfortably with them yet but I applaud their willingness to embrace a new culture. I was very pleased to see the equal numbers of men and women in the audience and I was appreciative that they do not have the ridiculous male pre-conceptions of ballet which we struggle with in the West.

Saturday night was Chiaki’s Beijing performance with Darren. Although Chiaki had her official farewell performance in Bradford in October, she graciously agreed to perform Butterfly in China to help ensure its success. This was probably the last time I will see Chiaki dance. As is always true at these moments, one hopes for the performance that will create an enduring memory. The Company and Orchestra were brilliant in the first act and Darren partnered Chiaki through the pas de deux with flawless precision and sensitivity. Chiaki gave herself totally and united by Nigel masterly caressing the on stage movement with a perfect musical partnership. I was transported and it was utterly magical. This would have been sufficient but it was Chiaki’s night and with the wonderful support of the cast she danced with a total freedom and possession of the role. A memory is now in my possession to take through my life’s journey.

Sunday night was the final performance in Beijing and closed the dance festival. The Company has three days off over Christmas but that story will have to be told by someone else!!

Christmas Eve Supper - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Photo by Martha Leebolt

Photo by Martha Leebolt

Photo by Martha Leebolt

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

Photo by Chiaki or Chun

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China Report: Class in Beijing (Video)

December 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

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China Report: Keiko and Hiro (Video)

December 23, 2007 at 4:09 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

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China Report: Final Performance in Beijing

December 23, 2007 at 4:06 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Mr Young, Promoter and Mark Skipper, CEO - Photo by Neil G Jarman

The Company spent the early part of the day continuing the journey around the famous sites that Beijing has to offer. The Forbidden City and Summer Palace seem to be quite popular. All too soon it was time to go to the theatre for the day’s preparation for the performance. This afternoon was David Nixon’s last class with the Company before he leaves Beijing. A video and selection of photographs from class accompany this report. David also spent some time rehearsing Pippa Moore and Chris Hinton-Lewis who will be dancing Butterfly and Pinkerton together for the first time in Yangzhou on 31 December.

Not only was this our final performance in Beijing but also the closing performance of the 5th Beijing International Dance Festival. The performance, with Keiko and Kenny dancing Butterfly and Pinkerton, was very much appreciated by the audience and we were honoured by the presence of senior Government figures. Young, our Promoter, was delighted with the Beijing season and we all look forward to 3 days off for Christmas before we start out journey again to Nanjing on 27th. Watch this space for David Nixon’s thoughts on his visit to Beijing tomorrow (24 December) and share moments from the NBT Christmas Party on 25 December.

Oh, check out the menu in one of the hotel’s restaurants – our Christmas Lunch?

Poly Theatre

Giant poster costs thousands of Yuan per day to display

Keiko and Michela in class - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Company in Class

Company in Class

Company in Class - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Company in Class

Company in Class

Company in Class - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Company in Class

Auditorium of Poly Theatre

Drum dance - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Drum dance

Arrival of Butterfly

Entrance of wedding party

Bonze awaiting his entrance - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Parasols

Theatre was full of flowers for closing ceremony

The famous menu - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Integrated Paralympics Dance Project, Beijing 2007

December 22, 2007 at 9:59 am (Learning & Access, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , )

Project group - Photo by Neil G Jarman

The Integrated Paralympics Dance Project – Young Advocates Programme, Developing the Paralympic Spirit brought together a large group of partners. – Working in partnership with Northern Ballet Theatre were the British Council (the cultural and education section of the British Embassy) and the China Disabled Persons Federation. This project is the first in a programme of work developing the skills of the Beijing Young Advocates who will meet with their international counterparts in September 2008 at the start of the Paralympics in Beijing.

Whilst the Company was performing in Wuxi and Hangzhou, our Learning and Access Department were busy working on a very special project in Beijing

On Friday 14 December we met with Junhong from the British Council who showed us around the venue were we would be delivering the workshops. She introduced us to some of the participants and representatives from the different organisations who have been involved in bringing the project together in China. After a long journey it was great to see that all our arrangements had been put into place and everything was ready for starting work the following Monday.

This left the weekend for a little team building exercise of sightseeing, very kindly our interpreter Zhili showed us around Beijing – Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Royal Gardens, traditional markets and finished off with the Temple of Heaven. On Sunday we had a stroll around a Chinese Antique Market and got very good at bartering with the stall vendors!

Monday morning back to work, after a very busy Press Launch we started to create movement with the group and develop ideas for the final presentation on Friday afternoon. It was great to work with such enthusiastic young adults who are willing to join in and learn new skills.

Working with 20 young adults with and without disabilities, the group worked to create a piece of dance that was performed at the end of the week and through the process developed communication, confidence, leadership and team working skills.

Musician Bill - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Class

Opening Speach

Student dancers - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Performance

Closing Scene

Paperwork - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Waiting in the 'wings'

Certificates for each participant

Selina Mcgonagle, Director of Learning and Access with interpreter and Dr Rebecca Nadin of the British Council - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Caroline Burn with the group - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Group photo

Caroline posing with a student - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Zhilli, Sophie, Bill and Caroline in front of the Forbidden City - Photo by Selina Mcgonagle

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China Report: First Performance in Beijing

December 21, 2007 at 4:55 pm (Overseas Tour) (, , , , )

Martin, Darren, Yi, Pippa and Lori assisted with guests at the sponsor's evening - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Per diem call first thing this morning. The Company received their allowances for the rest of the tour (2 weeks tomorrow we come home) A challenging morning for the Technical Department with every operation under minute scrutiny but somehow they managed to get everything finished in time for class at 12.30. (We will share some of the idiosyncrasies at a later date). The Technical Rehearsal went well. Tonight was our second sponsor’s evening – this time hosted by Leeds City Council. The event took place in a very lavish conference room and was attended by around 150 people including some Government Vice- Ministers. The Lord Mayor of Leeds was once again in attendance and the other speaker was Chris Bailey, Dean of the Arts Faculty at Leeds Met University. Chris had quite a traumatic journey to China. His original flight was cancelled due to fog and he therefore arrived much later than planned but then his luggage went missing, his Interpreter was in Shanghai and the traffic was unbelievable when he travelled across the City to the Poly Theatre. Everything came out well in the end and the Company gave a great opening performance for our Beijing season. The performace was very well received by the audience. 2 more to go in Beijing before we have 3 days off to celebrate Christmas.

Piles of Chinese Yuan for the Per Diems

Conference Centre at the Poly Plaza - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Chris Bailey, Leeds Metropolitan University

Arrival of Butterfly - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: Fitup day in Beijing

December 20, 2007 at 3:36 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , )

The Great Wall of China - Photo by Neil G Jarman

David Nixon taught class for the Dancers for the first time in 10 days so a bit of a shock to the system but essential to get them up to form for the opening night in Beijing tomorrow. As always the day was challenging. No lights on stage for class and no power for the electric piano. Eventually we found a cleaner’s socket in the auditorium and class got underway but not before David had to sing the first few exercises. Although David (and his wife Yoko Ichino) toured the world as dancers, this is his first ever visit to China. His verdict “I’m really glad I came” We took him to the Great Wall today which he found a very exciting , although strenuous experience. (Watch this space for David’s account of his visit to Beijing) Whilst we were away, the fit up continued in the Poly Theatre – again with its challenges but all will be fine for tomorrow’s opening.

The Great Wall of China

The Olympics meets the Great Wall - Photo by Neil G Jarman

The Great Wall of China

David Nixon and Mark Skipper at the Great Wall - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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China Report: First day in Beijing

December 19, 2007 at 3:51 pm (General Information, Overseas Tour) (, , , )

Poly Plaza - Hotel and theatre complex - Photo by Neil G Jarman

Not too much to report today. The Company had the day off and many spent the time visiting the famous landmarks such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The Technicians made a visit to the Poly Theatre to check things out ready for the fit up tomorrow. The first useful piece of news was that the containers are only permitted into the City between 12.00am and 6am so the planned get in at 9am tomorrow would not be possible and the crew would have to go at midnight to unload. Useful time was spent working out where the scenery would hang and dealing with the fact that huge acoustic ceilings take out large sections of the grid and make the hanging plot quite tricky. It is further complicated as some of the flying is manual and some computerised and operated from opposite sides of the stage. Our Flyman, Joe, cannot be in both places at once. As always these challenges will be overcome. The Promoter is also unable to find a venue for class so the Technicians will lay the floor and put out the barres on stage before they finish tonight and delay the fit up until after class. Mr Nixon has now arrived in Beijing.

Forthcoming attractions at Poly Theatre

Relentless traffic around the theatre complex - Photo by Neil G Jarman

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Integrated Paralympics Dance Project, Beijing 2007

December 18, 2007 at 5:05 pm (Learning & Access, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , )

Learning and Access 

On Friday we met with Junhong from the British Council who showed us around the venue were we would be delivering the workshops.  She introduced us to some of the participants and representatives from the different organisations who have been involved in bringing the project together in China.  After a long journey it was great to see that all our arrangements had been put into place and everything was ready for starting work on the Monday.

China Workshop Participants

This left the weekend for a little team building exercise of sight seeing; very kindly our interpretor Zhili showed us around Beijing, Tijianamen Square, the Forbidden City, the Royal Gardens, traditional markets and finishing off with the Temple of Heaven.  On Sunday we had a stroll around a Chinese Antique Market and got very good at bartering with the stall vendors! 

Monday morning back to work, after a very busy press launch we started to create movement with the group and develop ideas for the final presentation on Friday afternoon.  It is great to work with such enthusiastic young adults who are willing to join in and learn new skills.   

Info about the project; 

Integrated Paralympics Dance Project, Young Advocates Programme, Developing the Paralympic Spirit.  Working in partnership with Northern Ballet Theatre, the British Council (the cultural and education section of the British Embassy) and the China Disabled Persons Federation.  This project is the first in a programme of work developing the skills of the Beijing Young Advocates who will meet with their international counterparts in September 2008 at the start of the Paralympics in Beijing. 

Working with 20 young adults with and without disabilities, the group will be creating a piece of dance that will be performed at the end of the week and through the process develop communication, confidence, leadership and teamwork skills. 

Selina McGonagle
Director of Learning & Access, NBT

  The L&A team in Tijianamen Square

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China Report: Dancer, Nathalie Leger, shares her day travelling from Hangzhou to Beijing

December 18, 2007 at 3:12 pm (Artist's News, Overseas Tour) (, , , , , , , )

Sebastian and Sarah. Photography by Neil G Jarman

6.45am Wake up alarm, a bit tired this morning. Leaving 8.30am Hangzhou to Beijing. People enjoying last breakfast here. Mr Wheeler in good form this morning! Make me laugh! Check out all fine and bye bye Hangzhou. Dancers, Technicians and others tired but excited to go to the Capital. Will be great to see how things are changing for the Olympic Games coming up. Plus, will be able to settle down for 9 days count down to Christmas day! Minus 7 days!! Yeah! Finally, will open suitcases, hang out clothes properly, laundry time!!! Complete free day tomorrow in Beijing GREAT DAY!
8.30am 2 Coaches. We are missing one dancer! Did anyone went to the Loo last minute! Tisch, Company Manager, needs to count again! Now we have one too many!? Well better this way – Let’s Go
Weather is still fine – not even cold. Lot of rain these past few days but not a big change from England! Trip to Airport give you time to look around! The poverty of people is visible; dirt and pollution are making your vision unclear; laundry outside balcony are turning gray; and suddenly you can see a full duck or fish drying outside on this unhealthy air!! (getting hungry) but one thing I love and give me a smile: it’s the fashion style – never one colour managing the other! A green shirt with red pants!!! Not so Chanel style. Passing a river and seeing little pagodas floating! Lovely! But then I realised how everybody is so quiet today – reading listening to music or looking through the window like me
10.00 amCheck in Airport Hangzhou. Quicker than Manchester and Paris. Who would think that? Waiting for boarding but Ms Sibson and Mr Goldsmith are called to the Check in again? Something wrong in the suitcase? They are back – just the camera battery from Darren’s suitcase. Did look like a kind of bomb on the screen! Good laugh!
11.15am Boarding. Airbus 300 – enormous plane! Pack of people and NBT. Two halves flying – smells are moving around….. and honestly not the most enjoyable one! ( not really Armani perfume)
1.50am – Plane arrive Beijing. Long way from Terminal so bus ride for miles it seems. Long wait for baggage for some reason. Darren’s bag does not arrive – have they decided it is security risk! Then – last bag – it arrives so all is well. Journey to Poly Plaza Hotel not too long but check in takes long time. Some Principal dancers have Press Conference and not able to change as rooms not all ready.
4.10pm Press Conference goes ok! Lots of journalists asking questions. Once it is over – everybody free to enjoy the rest of the day plus free day tomorrow ! Poly Plaza hotel great so everybody happy!!

Sebastian and Toby

Long queue to check-in

The press reception

Interpreted<br>  r Jackie and Victoria

Mark, Keiko and Kenny

the press reception introduces Double Troubles

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