Banbury Pupils enjoy Motionhouse Dance Magic for National Arts Week

Year 3 pupils at Harriers Banbury Academy welcomed renowned dance company Motionhouse to the school recently for a series of workshops marking National Arts Week.

National Arts Week, celebrated across schools nationwide, aims to expose students to diverse art forms and was embraced by staff at the academy who place a high value on building cultural capital:

“Working with Motionhouse has been a real privilege,” said year 3 teacher Lucy Coghlan. “Our year 3 pupils were able to take part in a series of workshops with them where they learnt lifts, balances and a routine, and we were able to open up a special afternoon session to an additional 30 children from years 4 – 6 who we felt could benefit from this kind of learning.”

Motionhouse has been working with North Oxon Cultural Education Partnership to deliver dance education locally and the visit to Harriers was its first to the school. ”We are very grateful to Cherwell District Council for funding the workshop and making it possible for our children,” added Lucy. “We’d really like to build on this experience and develop the connection with the company.”

The workshops were a hit with the children who enjoyed learning about the origins of Motionhouse and careers in dance as well as developing their own movement skills. Eight year old Tilly was enthusiastic about her experience:

“I liked it so much as I got to learn lots of new dance moves and the professional dancers were really cool. I liked the lifts the most. I would love to do it again.”
The workshops culminated in a performance for parents and friends who were impressed by what the children had achieved, with one parent commenting, “I was really, really impressed with the show and what the children achieved over the 3 workshops. It was amazing watching them perform, they all seemed really happy and confident. The children said it was great fun!”

The audience was also treated to a performance of ‘Lost,’ a duet choreographed by the company which garnered much praise, with one member of the audience describing it as ‘moving and memorable.’

Harriers Banbury Academy is operated by the Aspirations Academies Trust which places applied learning at its heart. Vice Principal Joanna Agate is pleased with the success of the project: “We are always looking for opportunities which offer our children the chance to work with professionals across the arts. We currently have two visiting artists working with our Key Stage 2 pupils teaching them how to use charcoal effectively in Art. This kind of learning has a huge impact and stays with the children long after they leave us.”

Year 3 pupil Nataniel offered his verdict on the project: “The workshops were really fun. I enjoyed learning a dance and performing in front of parents and other people in school. I would give it 10/10”

Read the story on the Banbury Guardian.

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