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Looking back at 2020...

Well, 2020 was not the year that anybody expected, but all we can do is look back and celebrate all the amazing opportunities and experiences that happened in the Ascension Dance world before, and during the pandemic...

Introduced RISE to the Ascension Youth family

In January 2020, we gave our older girls group an official group name called SOAR with a new logo to go with it. We also added a new group to the Ascension Youth family for girls’ aged 7 – 11 called RISE. We feel like RISE has been with us since day one and we could not imagine our week without these amazing, bubbling, committed girls scattering joy around the Albany Theatre.

Men of Movement

In the same month, we continued delivering on a new project called Men of Movement that looked to inspire young males from across Coventry and Warwickshire with movement activities such as breakdance, dance, gymnastics and parkour/ free running. This project went down a treat with schools in late 2018 and continued in that trajectory as we worked with over 600 young males in the coming months.

New afterschool clubs

January was a very busy month as we stepped up our afterschool club provisions and embarked on sharing our dance work with young people from Chelsymore and Radford. We were then overjoyed when two new schools (Whitmore Park Primary School and Howes Primary School) signed up and invited us to lead afterschool classes for them!

Mownarce Primary School & Stoke Heath Primary

At the end of Jan, we supported two schools with dance/movement workshops to inspire their young people to think creatively. In Stoke Heath, we looked at how art and hobbies can inspire choreography and in Mowmarce, we explored how other sports and set can be used to create dance.

Lockdown – March 23rd 2020

Unfortunately, our plans were cut short as the whole country and many countries across the world went into a state of lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We would like to say a HUGE thank you to all of the NHS staff and key workers who continued to work tirelessly to keep us and our families safe.

During lockdown, we were committed to continue to connect with people across the nation. Here are just a few things we got up to in lockdown:

+ Ascension Youth Online – we continued to run Ascension Youth sessions online for young people and opened these sessions up to the rest of our community for FREE.

+ Create It Share It – 14 weeks of creative tasks for young people who could not join our zoom but still wanted to get creative. Connected with other dance organisations from across the UK.

+ Ascension Dance Online Portal – We created a database of creative dance and movement phrases that young people can visit to help inspire them to make movement at home.

+ DX Boys Dance - We worked with DanceXchange Birmingham to create quick dance tricks aimed to inspire more boys to dance and get moving.

+ Challenge Ascension – We created a dance film inspired by ‘15 Choreographers 1 Dance’ with a number of Ascension Dance Associate Artist’s whilst in lockdown. FILM LINK

+ DanceConnectWM – We teamed up with Shropshire Inclusive Dance Director Rachel Liggett and young dance leader Katie Holtam to create a dance film that had collaborative practice at its heart. FILM LINK

+ VE Day 2020 - Digitally performed and taught a lindy hop to commemorate VE day and share some dance during lockdown. FILM LINK

+ In touch – We embarked on a project interested in people’s experiences of lockdown in a bid to get in touch with our wider community and help them to feel more physically connected to themselves and Coventry. Video will be launching soon!

+ We were also lucky enough to visit the site of Timber Fest and spend two days talking about sustainable performances.

+ Announced as “Supported by” the Belgrade Theatre until 2022.

+ Funded by Positive Youth Foundation ‘s Youth fund in collaboration with the Heart of England’s Community Foundation, to deliver dance workshops in Summer 2020 (Ascension Dance Summer Workshop 2020)

+ We premiered our Dance Film ‘Reclaim’ at New Horizons – Black Country Dance Hub which was created as a result of our Summer Workshops. FILM LINK - STARTS AT 31:55

+ Started work on a new duet titled ‘Resilient’.

Despite everything, it’s been an epic year, we continue to build and create relationships with people and places across the UK. We want to say thank you to everybody who has contributed to Ascension during the last year, you have made every ZOOM session, every hour editing videos and filling out applications worthwhile.

We are so excited about what 2021 has to offer. Let’s hope that we are able to continue to create performances and opportunities for people of all ages.

Stay safe, stay well and keep dancing!!

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