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Day of Dance and Finale of Telling Tales Project

The Day of Dance for All Ages was designed to celebrate the culmination of the heritage work from August 2009 – April 2011. Ascendance Rep ran a series of 10 workshops in Cottingley, Bingley, Bradford and Shipley with the goal of celebrating the end of the Cottingley project with some of those individuals and groups who had taken part in school residencies or workshops during the past two years. The theme taken to the workshops was 'My Story', inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry.

Ideas for the piece and comprehensive research into intergenerational practice was researched extensively during a residency at Skipton Castle in summer 2011 and led to the creation of new repertoire devised by professional dancers, which would be adapted for the Telling Tales final celebration.

Family stories and relationships were shown through dance and pieced together for the final performance.

During the workshops, the dancers demonstrated the movements as the basis for recreating the scenario of the Yorkshire textile mills – with grim-faced workers ‘marching’ into the factories to face a long hard day (represented by drooping with tiredness and collapse) and even very young children having to work.

We decided to use a courtly dance to represent the mill-owners who were wealthy and considered themselves to be sophisticated. Participants were then asked how they thought the ordinary workers would celebrate, for example on a holiday or perhaps at a wedding, and this resulted in the final raucous celebratory dance, which everyone thought was a fitting and a fun way to end the project.