COOL COMPANY DANCE
Cool Company is a dance improvisation ensemble for people aged 60+ that invites you to come together to experience how we imagine, watch, think, share, and move in our everyday lives.
Workshops are facilitated by choreographer and movement specialist Deane McQueen. Using the current art exhibition as inspiration, everyday movements are refashioned from the 'ordinary' to the extraordinary using a wide variety of simple exercises, imagination and humour.
Radical in method and approach, the key to these sessions is the integration of social and creative elements whilst enabling participants to support each other, working together to include everybody’s experiences and value differences.
Participants can expect to learn new things and build positive relationships, whilst finding a safe space to release inhibitions.
No prior dance or movement experience is required. A safe, warm atmospheric environment in 'The Space' at Nottingham Contemporary awaits.
Cool Company is soon to enter the fifth phase of workshops, the dates for this series are 6, 20 & 27 June, 4, 11 & 18 July. Booking is now open, please click here to book.
To read more about Deane McQueen please click here
We also commissioned Deane to produce a retrospective piece of work which was a live performance art piece performed for one night only on Friday 31 March at BACKLIT studios, Nottingham. To read more about this piece of work click here
During the Spring we worked with Dance Artist Deane McQueen to deliver a short series of dance workshops as part of a pilot project for dance company, 'Cool Company'.
During the sessions, participants were encouraged and invited to document the process in a sketchbook. Deane also had an assistant called Marcia Porto, working with her during the sessions. Marcia documented the work through photography and drawing.
Marcia shares some of the beautiful images she produced during and after the workshops, in response to the work that was being created and explored by Deane and the participants. Here are some of her pieces -
"It has been a really special and interesting experience being part of cool company’s Tues mornings at Contemporary. Deane’s effortless, strong, witty and gentle leadership gets a whole room of non-dancers , dancing without them even realising! Inspired..."
What the members said:
"Walking into the room on day 1 was an emotional experience. The lights were dimmed, and evocative background music was playing. This was a special, creative place that touched my soul as much as any cathedral could. I knew I was here for my healing. I was here to move, to be free and to let go of the social restraints that bind me. Thank God there were no ‘moves’ to learn. Here I could, at last be myself in the company of others and freely express myself."
"These few weeks have meant a great deal to me, more than you could ever know. This short dance course has helped me to rebuild my identity and to reclaim my life.
Dance, dance, dance; what else is there?"
"What I particularly enjoyed – engaging activities and tasks that explored our own emotions as well as group awareness.
I felt safe to improvise alone and with others. The dancers were asked their thoughts and ideas which were met with a flexibility that made me feel we were learning from each other. We also had a good laugh too."
Phase Two -
We hosted a second phase of Cool Company between August and September. This was a continued exploration of movement through thought provoking concepts, each lending themselves to be stand along live art performance pieces. The group began their work by viewing the current exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary which has influenced some of the tasks they completed and the responses given.
"I feel very lucky that these events are being funded with the understanding that being over 60 should not exclude you from cutting edge, exciting contemporary dance experiences. To use The Space at Nottingham Contemporary adds a further message that we older people are worth it."
"It was so different from other dancing I have done. Very imaginative and unusual but quite challenging for me to learn to let go of inhibitions and express myself freely. Very pleasant members of the group and Deane is an excellent teacher."
"Deane is an excellent facilitator, and her ideas always stimulate interesting ideas to explore in a variety of ways."
Participants said that by taking part it helped develop their communication and social skills. It also increased their confidence to have a go at something new and different.
Phase Three -
Workshops continued throughout Autumn and Winter and took inspiration from the Hollow Earth: Art and Caves exhibition at Contemporary. Participants played, explored and experimented over the six sessions and shared their responses to a project brief in the final session. To read the project brief titled Cities and the Dead, click here
What have you enjoyed most about the sessions?
"Welcoming and friendly group and working with them is both stimulating and fun. Deane is a brilliant facilitator, always encouraging and supportive."
"I found them creatively inspiring. I've never done anything like this before and found each week's work thought-provoking. Friendly welcoming group and excellently led by Deane."
"Deane McQueen, the choreographer is fantastic !! She is considerate, passionate, understanding, imaginative, encouraging and FUNNY!! Brilliant how she puts all these sessions together. At times I have experienced these sessions emotional as it awoke me with different feelings. The room at the venue is perfect to do these sessions, big space, no windows, no distractions, calm surroundings"
"The magic quality of the sessions, being with such amazing people led by inspirational artists. I’ve always loved how incredibly well planned the sessions are yet at the same time being so free spirited."
"It's difficult to pick just one point because they are such holistic sessions. The combination of art, creativity, music, activity and fun make these sessions so unusual and good. Deane is an exceptional choreographer and Marcia is an accomplished artist - they make the sessions so interesting."
"This has become a very valuable and enjoyable group to be a part of: inspiring leadership is supporting our developing skills and understanding."
"I can’t wait for the classes to start again in January. I found the last session extremely moving and felt very emotional watching everyone with their ritual. An incredible session."