Funding from L. B. Newham as part of their local ‘Every Child Can Dance’ agenda enabled us to establish Roma Dance Classes over a period of 4 months. The classes proved to be very popular, they averaged 15 students per class, and they all came from different cultural backgrounds and age groups. This was a pilot initiative that helped the local community to better understand and celebrate Roma culture, teaching us that there is an interest amongst non-Roma people to participate and learn Roma/ Gypsy arts.
Our partnership with the Saddler’s Wells enabled 10 young Roma to participate in Compass a collaborative contemporary dance work, where they had the unique opportunity to be coached by professional dancers and choreographers.
The success of the Project was also in that our young Roma influenced the choreography of the final performance by embedding their own cultural heritage, as well as experimenting with more contemporary dance styles. The young Roma participants have benefited from performing in such a high profile production by expanding their ambitions and being exposed to international professionals in the performing arts field. The final performance on the stage at Sadler’s Wells theatre, 23 April 2012, was a true reflection of their efforts, creativity and commitment.