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Dance helps valleys pupils make connections



​Kimberley from Treorchy Comprehensive School enjoys her dance performance.​

A First Campus project in the Rhondda valley has united students from across the educational spectrum through the medium of dance.

Under the guidance of Sally Varrall, the dance programme leader at Cardiff Met School of Sport, undergraduate dance students have been working with school pupils to create three unique performances. The students have been working with KS2 school children at Park Primary in Cwmparc, with a KS3 class from Ysgol Hen Felin special school in Ystrad and Sixth Form pupils studying for their Welsh Baccalaureate at Treorchy Comprehensive. Together they have devised and choreographed a contemporary dance to be performed at three different locations.

The first performance of the dance – entitled Connections - was part of the opening ceremony for the Active Soles Junior Games at Cardiff Met, where the pupils taking part were awarded medals and given a tour of the university's facilities. This was followed by a local performance in the drama studio at Treorchy Comprehensive School, watched by parents and staff from the schools.

The students' final performance will take place at the Wales Millennium Centre on the community day of Hijinx Unity festival at 6pm on June 29th. Hijinx Unity Festival is a celebration of the best inclusive and disability arts from around the world, run by Welsh theatre company, Hijinx. ​ (Tickets available through Wales Millennium Centre).

Phil Lambert, Assistant First Campus Co-ordinator at Cardiff Met said: "It has been a great experience for everyone involved. We have seen huge benefits to the confidence of the younger children, seen the students broaden their skills and the sixth formers becoming inspired by the opportunities available in dance."

Stephanie Lewis, teacher at Ysgol Hen Felin said: "Our pupils have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of this project, from the early stages of making new friends and experimenting in dance sessions, right through to the performance aspects."