Yardley children explore science and dance for performance

Children from Oasis Academy Hobmoor, Yardley have joined with digital-dance company Mercurial Arts, a choreographer and digital artist to create a new dance performance for their community.

Ruqqayah and Laura at the University of Birmingham Medical School - Credit Toni Kerr 3

Photo – Toni Kerr

Working collaboratively since May, sixty Year 5 pupils have worked on the project, inspired by and exploring neuroscience. As well as the dance performance, half of the children have been working on a ‘Digital Play Space’ to compliment the work – insights into the brain, interactive projections, film footage and sound using new technologies.

As a starting point, the children visited the University of Birmingham Medical School for in-depth investigations into the workings of the brain, and looked into complex questions such as, ‘Where do ideas and movements come from in the body?’ Led by Dr. Alex Conner of the University of Birmingham Medical School, the visit stimulated thought and imagination. “It is a challenging subject for the children and will take them to the forefront of our current knowledge and science about how the brain works” said Dr. Conner.

Mercurial Arts’ Artistic Director Oliver Scott said: “One of the exciting things about this project is we can set the children complex and real challenges. Not only will they become a fully-fledged dance company making their own new work, they will share it with the general public. It is an ambitious task that develops physical, personal and social skills that will stand them in good stead in many contexts”.

This is the second project the Mercurial Arts team have been involved with in the school, the first being the composition of a school anthem, made with the direct input of the pupils. The collaboration is part of a push to promote arts, science and culture in the school and to use the community centre to its full potential. The piece, Chaotic Liquid Network is part of an exploration into the brain Mercurial Arts have been undertaking over the last year, and first investigated during their project The Seed, performed at the Coventry Mysteries festival in 2013.

The public performance of Chaotic Liquid Network will take place on Friday 4th July at 11.45am at Oasis Hobmoor Community Centre, Yardley. The Digital Play Space will be open as a drop-in, from 11am-3pm on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July 2014.