Pupils learn the pointe of ballet

28th September 2012 at 01:00
Hansel and Gretel is being given a creative spin in a collaborative school project. Julia Belgutay reports

Scottish Ballet has launched a new project that will bring together schools, colleges and other partners to inspire the first large-scale professional, full-length ballet production of Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel, and Me will be an opportunity for young Scots from the age of five to express their own ideas of what the story means to them.

The project would "merge creative expression and real life", said Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet's new artistic director, and the company would "harvest" the ideas of all those involved so they could feed into the final product.

Creative writing workshops will take place in schools from this autumn, and they will receive visits from a dance artist and a storyteller before children write their stories. The workshops will aim to reach almost 1,200 children around Scotland.

A creative writing competition will be organised in collaboration with the National Library of Scotland, and ideas will feed directly into the creative process for the ballet, which will be Mr Hampson's first full- length choreography for the company.

In cooperation with the Forestry Commission and regional dance agencies, "creative woodland workshops" will be held early next year, where young people will research and explore local woodlands to create their own, site-specific performances.

Two-week summer schools with the Citizens Theatre for children aged six to eight will take place next July, with sessions held in the Hidden Gardens and the Rose Garden in Glasgow. Youngsters aged 14-18 can take part in a two-day choreographic lab with support from Hothouse and YDance.

Christopher Hampson will then use the voices and influences from the programmes to create his Hansel and Gretel, which will offer an opportunity to young dancers from across Scotland to dance alongside the full Scottish Ballet company.


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