Little Big Dance launched in 2019 with the aim of challenging artists and the dance sector to rethink how work for very young children is made. In fact, rather than making work ‘for’ young children, the programme supports artists to work ‘with’ them from the outset so that their influence shapes and steers the final product.
Little Big Dance also aims to challenge preconceived ideas and traditions about what performance for children should look and feel like; bringing dance work to life that encourages new conversations about what early years culture can be and how making work for very young audiences can progress artists’ practices.
True to the ethos of Little Big Dance, both the pieces to come out of the first cycle of this pioneering programme challenge perceptions of what dance performances for very young children can be in terms of content, format and the ideas behind the work.
Takeshi Matsumoto’s piece Club Origami combines dance, fashion and live music to sweep its audiences away on an immersive and interactive adventure where imagination brings paper to life. This Autumn, Club Origami will receive its first outing at Dance Umbrella, London’s International Dance Festival which has been the first to present choreographic greats such as Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Akram Khan and Michael Clark. During the festival, Takeshi will present Club Origami at various locations across the city during 8-24 October.
George Fellows’ piece it’s ok asks important questions of adults - and of the wider dance industry - about the kind of culture we want to present to children, and how this can impact on how they develop a healthy attitude to a wide range of emotions and feelings. In the piece, we join two characters on an intimate journey where anger, joy, sadness and love are expressed and explored. Children are invited to get up close to all of these emotions and to see that all are valid; all are ok. it’s ok features as part of The Gulbenkian Theatre’s Autumn Season on 25 September.
Little Big Dance is a pioneering national initiative creating new dance work for under fives and their families, led by South East Dance in partnership with DanceEast, Take Art and Yorkshire Dance and funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Council England.