This half term we’ve been cramming a lot in as Daddy has the week off so I can take the girls to things that would normally be tricky with the baby in tow too. One of these things being the Interactive Family Matinee at the National Dance Company Wales based in Cardiff Bay.
Aimed at children aged 6+ this session was billed as a fun and creative way to introduce your children to dance. My girls both take ballet lessons and are really into performance and dance so I thought this would be right up their street. I hadn’t been to anything like it before so wasn’t completely sure what to expect but a little video on their website gave me an idea before we went.
The whole event was very relaxed – we were greeted at the front door and shown to a little lounge area where we could wait for the session to start – there were toys and a little area for younger children to play and soft drinks we could help ourselves to. We then were shown through to a small theatre area where we sat and watched the dancers warm up for 5 minutes. They then had us all (parents included!) up and warming up which was great as it really loosened up any nerves and we felt invigorated for the rest of the performance. I loved this warm up session so much I might incorporate it into my morning routine actually!
Then it was time to learn some moves! The dancers were so friendly and encouraging that Bean felt really happy to go up with them and practice some routines. Before we went Bean wasn’t too sure whether she’d want to get up and dance but when we were there I literally couldn’t stop her leaping up to dance! It was the same with many of the other children – their inhibitions quickly wore away and they were up there getting involved. Adults were even encouraged to get stuck in which was great.
Under the guidance of the dancers Bean picked up some moves very quickly and she enjoyed taking part in the short routines with everybody. The first half of the session was devoted to this interactive type of participation and there was then a short break where we could go back to the lounge to grab a drink before we headed back in for the performance.
The second half we were able to see some of the moves and concepts we learned and witnessed from the first session put into practice in the actual performance of Tuplet by Alexander Ekman. The theme of rhythm we learnt about at the start was brought to life in the performance and the girls were absolutely transfixed. The performance was striking, complex, and yet simple in concept. Having spent some real time with the dancers we felt we knew them more as they were performing, we could recognise elements of rhythm in the dance and it really brought the performance more alive for me. The powerful monochrome scenery and setting and creative, modern dancing entertained the girls completely – in fact much more than I would have thought it would. I was really pleased that they had the opportunity to see such a great, contemporary piece and to be so welcomed into the dance community for the short time we were there.
The whole thing was excellent – they even ended the session with a very relaxed Q&A session where we could ask anything we wanted to the dancers and their responses were enlightening, especially for the little budding dancers in the room. We loved it so much that Bean was asking when she could go again before it had even finished!
At £8 a ticket / £6 concession I really think this was great value and we’ll definitely be heading to their next one. I’m keeping my eye on their website as I was told they are hoping run these again in February half term.
If in the meantime you want to see their Autumn Tour, there are still a few dates left.
Disclosure – we were given complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.