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 Beijing

September 10, 2008 at 1:39 pm (Company News, General Information, Learning & Access) (, , )

Jo Dean reports again from Bejing where the Learning & Access Department are working as part of the British Council’s Young Advocate Progamme – developing the Paralympic Spirit.

The week seems to be rushing by with everyday packed full of activities, and we have just one day of workshops left before the showcase tomorrow. Tuesday was our second day of workshops, and the group continued developing the sequences they had created on Monday.  They also started creating more choreography based on the shapes and patterns found in flags from around the world.  The group is working really well together and the young advocates have come up with some fantastic ideas for their pieces, moments of which have been really moving.  A British party in the evening, complete with fish and chips, showcased the musical talents of some of the young advocates on the programme and got everyone up and dancing in a ceilidh. 

 

Yesterday was our rest day, but it seemed to be as busy as ever!  We started with a trip to the Great Wall, which was a lot steeper when walking up it than it looks from the bottom!  Following that we saw the China Disabled People’s Performing Arts Troupe at the Poly Theatre which impressed everyone, before returning to the Bird’s Nest stadium to watch some of the athletics events of the paralympics.


 Today the group is feeling the strain of the busy schedule but are really starting to refine their movement and polish their pieces.  The performance yesterday seemed to inspire them and the professionalism and precision of movement that they saw in the Troupe is being brought into the rehearsal today.  This afternoon we will be bringing together all of their work and structuring the piece for the showcase, before a shopping trip to Beijing to finish the day. 

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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: 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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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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