In January and March 2017, choreographer, dancer and educator Subathra Subramaniam worked with Bedford Creative Arts to develop a series of dance and movement workshops as part of the research and development phase of her newest work ‘Unkindest Cut’. Made in collaboration with artists Kathy Hinde, Matthew Olden and Aideen Malone, ‘Unkindest Cut’ is an interdisciplinary arts and health project exploring the theme of mental health in young people, for which Bedford Creative Arts is a commissioning partner.
The workshops were delivered at Weatherfield Academy, a school for young people with special educational needs, and focused on developing ways of self-expression. With a particular focus on exploring the use of movement as a way of communicating how the young people felt, the workshops emphasised the importance of making themselves heard and taking time to listen to one another.
Led by Subramaniam, the sixteen sixth form students, aged 17-19, were taught movements from practices including yoga and Bharata Natyam (a form of Indian classical dance). These movements were then used to create sequences that responded to simple narratives or emotions set by Subramaniam. The students went on to use the learnt movements, combined with their own movements inspired by hip-hop, pop and a love of the dab, to collaboratively develop short, expressive sequences and narratives exploring their own thoughts and feelings.
In the final two workshops, a smaller group of eight students came together to share their individual experiences, likes and dislikes of life as a young person today. The students expressed themselves both vocally, and through the gestures and movements developed in the workshops with Subramaniam in a sensitive and open sharing.
The ‘Unkindest Cut’ has integrated young people’s voices and stories into the core of the work for audiences to reflect and engage with. It is now currently available for touring.
I find it relaxing and takes my worry’s (sic)
I felt really happy
Commissioned/Supported by: Arts Council England, Pavilion Dance South Westand Maudsley Hospital (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust) and Bedford Creative Arts.