Local Pupils Prepare For Déda Production Curtain Raiser

Pupils at Royal School for the Deaf Derby (RSDD) will perform a specially choreographed dance and contemporary circus piece as the curtain-raiser for a family show at regional dance house Déda on Tuesday December 20.

Ten RSDD pupils aged ten to fifteen have been working with Déda’s contemporary dance and aerial skills teachers at the Chapel Street studios to create a short piece. They will perform this to the whole school who will then watch the first performance of Déda’s Christmas feature show - ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ by acclaimed Derbyshire theatre company WinterWalker which will also be interpreted in British Sign Language.

The family show is a funny and playful adaptation of Hoffmann's timeless Christmas tale with storytelling, dance and original music and will be at Déda for four days until Friday December 23. The RSDD pupils’ performance is the culmination of several months’ work with Déda under the city’s Cultural Campus programme – bringing together young people and arts and cultural organisations to raise aspirations in and out of the classroom.

Previous work has included Déda Dance Artists supporting the school to develop their summer outdoor performance of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and several workshops and sessions to build confidence and communication skills. RSDD Deputy Head – Achievement Amy Ford explained: “Working with Déda has been an incredible experience for our pupils. “None of the group involved in this curtain raiser have experienced contemporary circus or dance at this level before and they have loved being part of it. “They have been able to develop much of the choreography themselves to incorporate floor work with aerial and acrobatic skills. “A potential barrier to young people with varying degrees of hearing loss getting involved in dance is that they need to be able to hear, feel or see the rhythm of the music. “We are busy fundraising to upgrade our facilities to include a studio with a sprung floor so that they can feel music vibrations and also to upgrade our musical equipment and sound systems.  In the meantime, having the opportunity to work at Déda’s studio with the first class facilities and audio system has really helped the group to engage with dance for the first time. “They are thrilled but obviously nervous about the performance – particularly as the whole school will be in the audience – but I know they will do a fantastic job and I hope it will inspire and empower their peers to try new things.”

Déda’s Head of Dance Development and Learning, Clare Limb, continued: “The curtain raiser to ‘The Nutcracker and Mouse King’ is the culmination of an inspiring two year programme with the Royal School for the Deaf Derby. “The Cultural Campus programme is an innovative way of raising young people’s aspirations and broadening their horizons with new experiences and support from professional artists and performers, whilst learning skills which will help them with in their lives more broadly. “It has been wonderful to see these young people grow in confidence to develop their dance, acrobatic and aerial skills and we are looking forward to seeing them perform their piece in our dance and contemporary circus studio.”

Tickets for WinterWalker’s ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ in the Déda Theatre, Chapel Street December 20 to 23 are available from the box office, Tel: 01332 370911; www.deda.uk.com

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