Local Dancers take to the Stage with Pasha

Sharing the stage with Strictly star Pasha Kovalev is no mean feat, but it’s what one dance troupe is preparing to do, as his Motherwell Concert Hall show approaches on May 12.

20 students from local school, DanceFuzion, will perform a routine with the star, during his live Magic of Hollywood show, with Anya Garnis. These dancers include: Amy Cox, Ben Ferguson, Carol Ann McRandle, Eden Hardie, Eilidh Smith, Elizabeth O’Farrell, Ellie Stewart, Emma Cumming, Ethan Forgie, Faith Davidson, Gemma Watson, Jessica Hyslop, Kasey Fagan, Leah Hynes, Rachel Dillon, Rebeka Kolbert-Wild, Rhian Cox, Sophie Ratcliffe, Sophie Wood and Teigan Collins.
All the dancers hail from Airdrie and Coatbridge and range from 9 – 17 years old, making their debut even more impressive.

DanceFuzion teacher, Ann Donnachie said: “This is the stuff dreams are made of!”

Having accompanied Pasha during his previous shows at Motherwell Concert Hall, DanceFuzion’s students were again selected to perform in this year’s show.

Donnachie said: “This is the 4th year we have been invited to dance with Pasha and we are over the moon. Now Pasha is actually going to be dancing alongside us on stage; we are super excited!”

On the night of the show, Pasha will join the dancers in a street, lyrical and jazz routine; complete with choreography by Ann Donnachie.

The teacher explained: “The music consists of two six-minute mixes, mixed by Pasha and the producer; these were sent to me and I have designed the matching choreography.”

Choreography now in place, the dancers are practicing to get it perfect.

Donnachie said: “We have just started our rehearsals and will rehearse every Sunday, but as the show gets closer we will rehearse several times a week.”

This practise will come in handy as the junior dancers prepare to join their professional counterparts.

Donnachie said: “On the night of the show Pasha watches the rehearsal and gives great feedback and encouragement.”

She added: “Pasha is so good with the kids, and even signs their t-shirts as souvenirs.”

Don’t miss your chance to see these local stars shine!

Book your tickets at culturenl.co.uk or phone 01698 403120

Memory Spinners: Dementia Arts Workshops

Memory Spinners Airdrie Town Hall

Light relief for those living with dementia is on offer at Airdrie Town Hall, with the Scottish Opera and CultureNL Memory Spinners art workshops, running Mondays from 29 January – 23 March (1-3pm).

Using music, movement and visual arts, the free of charge programme helps both people with dementia and their carers relax and form support networks.

Park Springs Care Home employee Rose Brennan said: “Our group – Ronnie, Betty, Margaret and myself – has been attending since the first session and I can’t tell you how much we have enjoyed it.

“When the group have been going back to the home they have been telling everyone about it, they get so excited; all their families and friends have heard about it and they all think that it is a wonderful idea.”

The Park Spring group are just three of around twenty six participants coming to the workshops on a regular basis.

CultureNL Arts Development Officer, Deborah McArthur, said: “It’s been really nice to see how large a group we have ended up having, and that shows the need and the want for something like this in North Lanarkshire; we have such a lovely bunch of people involved.”

Each session starts with a half hour lunch, where the group can get to know each other before the activities begin.

McArthur explained: “Having lunch at the beginning means that the group can bring the social aspect back into eating. I am a great believer in food bringing people together and I think that the time at the start, where we all chat, is really important.”

After lunch the group moves on to a warm up, which leads on to singing and acting activities.

McArthur said: “The exercises that we do allow everybody to take part at the same time; when you come to a session you get to see how much everybody laughs and enjoys it.”

Echoing this sentiment was visual artist Joe Gair.

He said: “When I was thinking of how to approach the project I wanted to bring a range of activities; some people enjoy colouring in and painting simple things, other people like to get a bit more creative, so I wanted to provide a bit of variety.”

He added: “The visual art aspect of the project is good, as people know what they are working toward, for example last week we did masks for the final show, and the group took a lot of care and time over them because they knew that they would be wearing them.”

All of the group’s crafted props and drama activities will be brought together at the end of the programme, in a show for their friends and family.

McArthur explained: “The Memory Spinners activities have no wrong answer, people can do whatever they want with the materials that we have. Then we make this fit into the end performance, and this creates a comfortable environment to work in.”

Beechwood Care Home worker, Emma Weir said: “The workshops are something new and something challenging, but they are very enjoyable.”

She added: “I came to bring Tommy and Jeanette, but I have been surprised how much I have enjoyed it myself. You get to meet new people; it welcomes anyone and everyone affected by dementia.”

Reflecting on the workshops, McArthur explained that no previous arts or performance experience is required.

She said: “I think sometimes people might be deterred by the idea of opera, or they might think that if a workshop is singing and dancing then it is not for them, but actually I would describe it as a group of people that are coming together to try different things and have fun.”