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66 South London Teens to Create Original Pieces of Dance Inspired by National Gallery Collection

LONDON.- The Royal Ballet School is to launch the latest development of a four-year education campaign by collaborating with the National Gallery. On 8 December, 66 students from The Royal Ballet School, Forest Hill School and Sydenham Girls School will meet for the first time to begin the process of producing their own creative responses to the theme of the moving body as depicted in the National Gallery’s collection.

This collaboration also marks a new departure for Line of Vision – the National Gallery’s outreach programme, which has been running for the past six years. Line of Vision aims to ensure inclusion for young people by providing practical opportunities for them to engage with the Gallery’s collection.

All 66 students will take part in discussion and drawing sessions at the National Gallery, followed by a creative movement workshop to be held at The Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden.

It is the first time a collaboration of this sort has taken place between The Royal Ballet School and the National Gallery. It offers an exciting opportunity for the National Gallery to extend the scope of its outreach programme for young people. It also marks a new development in The Royal Ballet School’s campaign to provide opportunities for Royal Ballet School students and state school pupils to work collaboratively.

The young people will work with teachers from The Royal Ballet School’s Dance Partnership and Access Programme and a contemporary artist to create pieces of original dance and sculptures – all inspired by the moving body as portrayed in a selection of National Gallery paintings.

The dance and art projects will focus on two paintings by Michelangelo: The Manchester Madonna and The Entombment, as well as Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne and Giordano’s Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone.

The young people will discuss and explore the themes, figures, shapes, colours, rhythms and forms found in the paintings before embarking on their own work.

Dance students from The Royal Ballet School, Forest Hill School and Sydenham Girls’ School will create original pieces of choreography, while art students from The Royal Ballet School and Forest Hill School will produce life-size sculptures. The choreography will be presented in The Royal Ballet School’s Margot Fonteyn Theatre, White Lodge, Richmond Park in May 2009 and the sculptures will be showcased at the National Gallery next year.

Emma Rehm, National Gallery Outreach Officer, said, “This collaboration offers a valuable opportunity for young people to experience the paintings first-hand, discuss their responses and engage creatively with the National Gallery’s collection by using it as an inspiration for their own work. It is particularly exciting that they will be exploring it through the dance as well as the visual arts.”

Ginny Brown, Royal Ballet School Dance Partnership and Access Programme Manager, said, “We are delighted to be extending our work by collaborating with the nation’s foremost art gallery. This association not only brings together young people with different skills and experiences but unites two non-verbal art forms by taking inspiration from the moving body.”

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