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How a Stratford based dance studio is supporting professional talent through the Covid-19 crisis

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 October 2020

Dancers in the new space at Here East for Studio Wayne McGregor's Reset 2020 programme. Picture: Dan Ross

Dancers in the new space at Here East for Studio Wayne McGregor's Reset 2020 programme. Picture: Dan Ross

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A dance company in Stratford is helping to ensure a generation of professional talent is not lost to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Renowned choreographer and director Wayne McGregor. Picture: P�l Hansen.Renowned choreographer and director Wayne McGregor. Picture: P�l Hansen.

Studio Wayne McGregor, based at technology and innovation campus Here East in the Olympic Park, developed the Reset 2020 programme - a series of initiatives to support professional freelance dancers through this period of existential threat for the performing arts.

Reset 2020 offers three training programmes for different experience levels as well as mentoring support from peers and access to talks on various aspects of being a freelance artist.

These include finance, tax, marketing, fundraising, producing, health and wellbeing and nutrition.

The programme, which was launched in August, is being delivered by Company Wayne McGregor dancers and teachers and its diverse pool of trainers.

A renowned choreographer and director, Mr McGregor said Reset 2020 was urgently needed.

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“Not only a bespoke programme to re-energise our own company of dancers after months of lonely training at home, but also as a way to champion independent dance artists by sharing our resources with the wider freelance community who have been so badly affected by the pandemic and lockdown.

“Nothing can replace the experience of training in a studio alongside other fantastic talents.

“We have developed a programme that offers technique classes with world-class teachers alongside professional development talks and workshops to inspire.”

The studio has received funding support from Arts Council England and The Garrick Charitable Trust for the programme, whilst Here East has provided it with the required space - larger than usual to allow for social distancing – for free.

Sadler’s Wells, Harlequin Floors and The Royal Ballet have all donated specialist equipment needed to kit out the space.

This includes the Harlequin Cascade dancefoor, which has built-in antibacterial protection.

Mr McGregor added: “We now need to ensure that this critical maintenance and professional development series continues throughout the Covid crisis and allow all of our elite athletes access to this art form-specific nourishment.

“Without the dancer, there is no dance.”


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