‘In times like these, art is even more important to help us feel more positive, to keep active and to keep connected’ says founder of Avant Cymru
A WELSH theatre company has moved all their exercise classes and rehearsals online to “keep active and connected” during the pandemic.
Avant Cymru, based in Rhondda, will be discussing how to improve well-being during their online classes.
Jamie Berry, a choreographer and dancer at Avant Cymru, said: “It is a frustrating time for us all.
“During the pandemic, I want to enable my crew, my students and my peers who we train with to keep progressing and I promise to keep encouraging them all.
“By continuing to do this, it will keep young people’s minds focused and allow all of us to stay healthy.”
Jamie has turned to break-dancing to help with his own mental health and GPs now refer people to his classes.
“I will post online opportunities to follow how I am using theatre and breakdancing to look after my health and wellbeing (especially mental health),” he said.
“I will work with Avant Cymru to post learning ideas students can try safely at home – people can join in by taking part, by asking questions, posting comments, liking and sharing posts.”
These classes will be posted on Avant Cymru’s YouTube channel and other social media platforms.
There will be activities in drama, script writing, dance and art. There will also be live Q&A’s with pioneers of Hip Hop Theatre such as Duwane Tayor.
Rachel Pedley, Artistic Director of Avant Cymru, said: “We have also started to work together with the Welsh Hip Hop Culture scene and have started collecting and developing an online archive for the People’s Collection Wales website.
“It will be a place to come together and reflect what the hip-hop scene has achieved in Wales.”
Avant Cymru hold classes and performances which tour nationally and internationally. They are being supported by the British Council to travel to Canada in October, all being well.
Rachel explains that their performances are now being released online instead, for people to enjoy.
“This year the crew have been working on a video for the U Dance Film platform, in light of what has happened we will release it online next week,” she said.
“We will be continuing to create – we will be performing Twelfth Night in the Summer, on the mountains in Rhondda Cynon Taff, so we will run online rehearsals in preparation.”