National Dance Company Wales: Family Interactive Matinées

Whilst I’ve gone from having a week off for half term to only two days, there were the commitments I wanted to keep.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to the National Dance Company Wales earlier this year, and really enjoyed the experience of open rehearsals ahead of their performances.

When CM and I were invited to their Family Interactive Matinée at the Dance House in Cardiff Bay I had that feeling that it would create a favourite memory which we’d hold tight.
CM is like most other six-year olds, she loves to dance and sing, she loves the idea of being on stage, but she retains an awe and meekness through the process.
As we sat talking about the event beforehand I got really wary of how the afternoon would unfold, CM seemed in her nervous state, worried that she wouldn’t be good enough, in her words “but mummy, I’ve only got two moves.”

National Dance Company Wales Family Interactive Matinee

Credit: National Dance Company Wales

The team of fantastic dancers led by Lee Johnston were absolutely amazing, as well as being such talented dancers it seems passing on their enthusiasm and sharing their skill is interwoven in what they bring to Wales.

We were all invited to warm up from our seats, which meant everyone relaxed into the spirit of the afternoon, and as soon as volunteers were asked to join the dancers, it was impossible to keep CM’s hand down.
It was a wonderful afternoon, I was so proud of CM as with so many families there she wasn’t ‘chosen’ every time, and I was pleased with how well she handled it (she still doesn’t handle being ‘out’ in party games too well!). The dancers were great at making sure everyone who wanted to get involved had the opportunity, and a really positive atmosphere was created.

The age of the children was broad, reflecting those developing a real interest in dance. And whilst adults were more than welcome to get on the floor I didn’t see anyone take the opportunity.
For me, well, it reinforced every Zumba class I’ve attended with good humour, I lack coordination. At one point the dancers get involved as part of the audience, so I was a little conscious of my lack of rhythm alongside those with so much, to add insult to injury CM got high-fived for her participation, which she’s taken to reinforce how awesome she was, noting I didn’t get the same high-five. Hmmmmm.

After an hour of interaction and a quick interval, we get to sit back and enjoy the dancers doing what they do so well. With lots of moments of clarity as the parts we’d been involved in were enhanced and embodied within the performance.

And then, continuing with this wonderfully engaging approach, the dancers get involved in a Q&A, which is a great insight into the minds of the young. 
For CM, unfortunately the penny dropped, this isn’t an easy art to master, and she has decided she doesn’t really want to be a dancer after all. “Because it’s really difficult to remember all the moves.”
Oh, to be six.

The Family Interactive Matinée is at The Dance House at the Wales Millennium Centre at 1pm on the 28th October and at Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon at 2.30 on 21st November 2015.

If you can’t make these dates, keep an eye on the National Dance Company Wales website, I heard a rumour that there may be more Family Interactive Matinées in the February half term, and we would definitely recommend a ticket.

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