The Royal Ballet, in partnership with Cast and Doncaster Council, will be bringing a virtual community dance project to Doncaster this summer.
Doncaster Dances is a three-week long project that will bring together groups from across Doncaster to create an original dance piece that reflects the current climate and social distancing practices. This will result in a short film that will receive its premiere on Saturday 5 September 2020 at a location in Doncaster town centre and online.
The Royal Ballet was due to perform at Cast in July and to take part in a wider community project. While this is not currently possible, Doncaster Dances continues to bring dance to the community in a safe and engaging way. Deborah Rees, Director of Cast adds, 'The Covid-19 pandemic may have temporarily closed our doors but in the last three months we've experienced an outpouring of togetherness, generosity and creativity. The instinct to dance has brought people together across the globe and this project gives an amazing opportunity for people to dance together from their own homes. Cast and the Royal Opera House have worked hard to maintain contact with our communities and maintain the spirit of this unique lockdown project.'
This digital project is a first for The Royal Ballet. This comes as part of the Royal Opera House partnership with Doncaster Creates – Doncaster’s culture development programme. MP for Doncaster North, Ed Miliband, who helped to establish Doncaster Creates as the region's first cultural community project to harness and nurture the creativity of Doncaster said, 'I am delighted to see our local community bring together The Royal Ballet, Cast and the Local Authority to harness the power of creativity and bring our community together to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 and collectively celebrate the importance of dance. Even despite COVID-19 it is wonderful to see the determination that the show must go on.'
The Royal Opera House's national learning and participation programmes (Create and Dance, Create and Sing, Design and Make) have committed to working with every school in the town over the next three years. The ROH national programmes have engaged over 40,000 children across the UK, from Northumberland to North Devon, developing their creativity and imagination through ballet, opera and theatrecraft.
Doncaster Dances is inspired by The Royal Ballet’s production of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet – participants will have access to a series of online resources to learn parts of the choreography. They will also be encouraged to create their own choreography, exploring themes of loss, love, separation, friendship and solidarity. Artist of The Royal Ballet and Doncaster native, Charlotte Tonkinson will work remotely with the Royal Opera House Learning and Participation team to guide participants through the tasks. Charlotte said, 'It is a wonderful feeling to bring The Royal Ballet to my hometown of Doncaster. Working with community groups and school children, I look forward to lifting their spirits and working with the local community to bring this project to life at a crucial time in Doncaster'.
A collective, socially-distanced performance will take place on Friday 14 August at 4pm, in and around Doncaster. Participants will film their performance to become part of a short dance film. Charlotte Tonkinson and Royal Ballet Artist Joseph Aumeer will portray Juliet and Romeo in this unique performance.
The Doncaster Dances film will receive its premiere on Saturday 5 September 2020. Please check back to the Royal Opera House website for updates and details.