Plymouth Dance are pleased to share the first article of our power of dance during lockdown series! Today we are sharing the wonderful work of Far Flung Dance Theatre, a professional integrated dance theatre company based in Plymouth.
The company offers a variety of classes in the city offering creative opportunities across different art forms and ages. Sarah Farrow-Jones, a Co-Director and Co-Founder, states ‘We run creative accessible groups for disabled and non disabled adults in the city of Plymouth. These groups include the Coffee Cup Choir; an inclusive choir that sing and socialise on a Thursday 6-7pm and Flung Further, a gentle group for dancers of all ages Friday 9-10am, as well as sessions for specific day care services and settings in the city. When we can, we also work in the community and in special schools, projects by project.”
Sarah describes the company having to work tirelessly to move these sessions online alongside providing further opportunities for 1-2-1 support aiming to boost members confidence with the transition to online platforms. Despite this challenging transition Far Flung have continued to hold their weekly choir and gentle dance sessions online as well as maintaining weekly online sessions for Dame Hannah Rogers, in Ivybridge. Farflung have also remained involved with the Barbican Theatre, Dance in Devon and Theatre Royal Plymouth on different projects throughout this time.
Upon reflection of their work throughout the pandemic Far Flung have noticed the wider issue of accessibility coming to the forefront of their work. Sarah reflects “Whilst zoom has enabled us to stay connected, it certainly has its inaccessibilities, particularly for people who are blind or visually impaired.” Whilst the pandemic has highlighted the lack of inclusivity around online platforms the company have also recognised the positive outcomes that they feel will sustain Zoom as an integral part of what they offer post pandemic. Far Flung have been able to make connections with people from across the country, something that would not have been possible without the use of Zoom! They have gained new members through this, especially within the Coffee Cup Choir sessions, led by Daisy Higman and Jake Bradshaw, who each identify as visually impaired (VI).
Moving forward from this, as we progress through the pandemic, Sarah highlights that during their professional Guest Artist Workshops, offered for free thanks to funding from Devon Community Foundation, they have been able to hold bigger conversations provoking action around how Far Flung can support people with Invisible Disabilities and Long Term Health Conditions. Sarah notes how powerful the use of creative and artistic opportunities can help us all through these times, stating “The Pandemic has been life changing and devastating for many people, for sure, but it has also bonded people more tightly together through these incredibly hard times. Finding time to sing, dance, write, make, and laugh, even if only online, can certainly make the days more enjoyable.”
A big thank you to Far Flung Dance Theatre for sharing your reflections and highlighting the great work you have been doing and continue to do in the city! Please have a look at their Facebook page and website for more information, both linked below:
Stick with us as we continue to share articles about other artists and organisations in the city using the power of dance throughout lockdown!