Dancing at the Royal Opera House

Dancing at the Royal Opera House

In mid-January Amanda a Team Leader in one of our East London schemes received details about a special Dance Company specifically for people with Downs Syndrome.

‘Culture Device Dance Project’ are a professional dance company who use improvisation techniques to push the boundaries of both choreography and dance. They were looking for volunteers to perform in a specially staged performance called ‘Rite Re-envisioned’ at The Royal Opera House (ROH) in Covent Garden, London later in the year.

Amanda immediately thought of one of the residents at the scheme, Thomas who has been supported by Heritage Care since May 2018.

Thomas was approached about taking part and Amanda and Jamal a Support Worker at the scheme then arranged a ‘meet and greet’ event with the dance company to ensure Thomas was happy to participate and allay any fears he might have.

What followed was hard work and lots of commitment from everyone involved, with Jamal supporting Thomas to attend rehearsals every Friday at the ROH.

Finally on the 22nd and 24th March this year ‘Rite Re-envisioned was performed in front of packed audiences, which included Thomas’s friends, family and members of the Heritage Care staff team. The production was also filmed by a crew for future broadcast.

When asked what he enjoyed most about the day Thomas said: Performing in front of so many people and that was also the scariest part!’

Amanda who supported Thomas through out the process said: ‘This was an amazing opportunity for Thomas and everyone at the scheme is so proud.  Special thanks go out to Jamal, who even came in on his days off to help Thomas to rehearsals and ensure a consistency of care and support.

Since taking part in this event Thomas’ confidence has grown immeasurably. He has taken part in drama sessions with the Hackney Shed project and has been back on stage with them at a performance in April at the theatre in Stratford. Thomas has taken to all of the attention like a duck to water and we hope to be able to support him to pursue even more opportunities in the future.’