Dancers inspired by Bay's natural beauty and lockdown!

Picture of dancer on Torquay beach

Inspired by the sea .. - Credit: Jez Ward

A special dance film has been released featuring a group of young dancers who combined the natural beauty of the Bay with being confined in their homes to produce moving ‘solos’. 

Choreographer and teacher Deborah Norris, spent 12 weeks working with the group from Totnes School of Dance over zoom. 

The classes were to support the continued development of the students, aged 14 to 21, while their studio was closed during lockdown.  

Deborah used creative tasks to inspire the dancers to create solos to portray their personal relationships with the sea and local coastline whilst being stuck at home. 

Each dancer worked with a series of words that they had chosen individually to represent their connection.  

Film maker Daniel Bruce was brought on board to produce a short dance film to capturing the group and their inspiring work.  

In early August, as lockdown eased, the dancers filmed on location at Meadfoot Beach in Torquay over two days with strict social distancing measures and a support team including principal Louise Knapman-Singh and teacher Rebecca Laight. 

Dancers on a beach in Torquay

Beach dancers - Credit: Jez Ward

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It was the hottest weekend of the summer, with temperatures of 30 degrees.! 

As part of the project, Ballet Folk were able to mentor and support two dance artists as project managers for the creative process and filming.  

Lily Laight and Chloe Hawkins had both been about to embark on professional performance work which was impacted due to the pandemic. They received a bursary enabling them to work with the dance group from the Peninsular Dance Partnership. 

Deborah then approached Folk artist Kitty Macfarlane and offered her the opportunity to create an original score for the film. Kitty released the song for the film ‘Half Wild’ at the end of last month. 

The group has thanked Dance film-maker June Gersten Roberts who offered invaluable editorial mentoring and Jez Ward who documented the creative process and filming in a series of photographs. He will create/publish a photographic exhibition once lockdown restrictions make it possible. 

Deborah, Ballet Folk’s director, said: “‘Giving an opportunity to young dancers to create and perform in such a beautiful location was so important during this turbulent time. Watching them escape and explore their surroundings through movement was like therapy."

Syphons of Sand has gone live on Ballet Folk’s website -