In June 2017 we were invited by Rural Arts in Thirsk to be a part of their newest community engagement programme “Art on your Doorstep”.

Funded through the wider project “Celebrating Age”, of which Rural Arts is a partner, “Art on your Doorstep” does exactly what it says on the tin: brings high quality art to the doorsteps of older people across the Yorkshire region, encouraging them to engage with art forms that they wouldn’t usually encounter.

We here at Slanjayvah Danza love working with all age groups in the community and felt very humbled to be invited to be part of a new project where we can spend time with folks who do not have easy access to the arts be it through age, distance or finances.

It was an inspiring project to be part of. Taking all things linked to our “6 Feet, 3 Shoes” project, we received such a warm welcome from each group. Not only did we perform dance, song and story, we had people participate in each of those elements. With each group we learned something new. A true exchange and fun for all of us.

Thank you to Rural Arts in Thirsk and all those involved for this opportunity – we loved it!

Here is the link to a short write up that was featured in the Yorkshire Post, written by freelance journalist Faye Levi:

The Delivery Diaries – bringing a piece of Spain to North Yorkshire

Rural Arts is well and truly on the road with Art On Your Doorstep, bringing the arts to older people in our local communities. Last week we joined Wren and Callum from Slanjayvah Danza as they visited extra care housing schemes in Thirsk and Northallerton to perform their unique blend of Scottish and Spanish dance.

The duo are dressed for the occasion – Wren in a traditional Flamenco outfit and Callum, I am told, has stepped into the breach at the last minute to don a kilt for the Scottish numbers. We catch a brief moment to chat before they go ‘on stage’.

“We’ve never performed in a space like this before”, Callum confesses, “it’s a lovely place and we’re learning about how to adapt what we do for future shows like this”. Although new to housing schemes like Orchid House and Rivendale, Slanjayvah Danza is a company very used to working in the community. Indeed, Wren started her dance career back home in Scotland, performing for older people near to where she lived. She adds “it’s really nice to come back and reengage with people who are less able to get out to an evening show”.

Unlike your average dance performance in a theatre, Wren and Callum pride themselves on hosting a very interactive show. They invite the audience to share their stories from travels abroad, uncovering lots of funny tales from the crowd in Northallerton. Wren remarks “the amount of experience in a room like this is huge – there are so many stories”.

The show went on to include several routines, each reflecting a different dance style, musical influence and story from Slanjayvah Danza’s journey. As the audience clapped along I could tell that this was a performance that had brightened a rainy day for everyone who came along. The feedback confirmed it, as the audience was invited to share just one word to describe the experience. “Fabulous” was the response.

A few more links: