On Friday 30th October 2015, the children and young people of Shirenewton Caravan Site in Cardiff set the dance floor on fire with the support and stewardship of one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies.
Isaac Blake; Director of the Romani Cultural & Arts Company based in Cardiff; organised for the Birmingham Royal Ballet to visit the Gypsy and Traveller site so that the children and young people could experience a once-in-a-life-time opportunity and learn the basics of ballet.
Isaac Blake said: “The children and young people of the two Gypsy and Traveller sites are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community. They deserve the best opportunities and I am proud to have been able to work with Birmingham Royal Ballet to make this special event possible. The children have shone today and they have experienced something different. Who knows – this just might inspire a few of them to become the next Billy Elliot!”.
The Romani Cultural & Arts Company is leading the way in the UK and in Europe with its unique strategy of engaging with Gypsy and Traveller children and young people through the arts. The fine-tuned community development model is making a tangible difference to the life chances of some of the most marginalised young people in Cardiff and throughout Wales. Isaac said: “The Gypsy and Traveller children and young people living on caravan sites can become forgotten by the state. Public services do not meet their needs and they can exist in a culturally barren vacuum. I hope that Birmingham Royal Ballet visit is just the beginning of a string of amazing, life-changing experiences that these special children take part in.”
On Tuesday 3rd November, Isaac Blake also organised for Birmingham Royal Ballet to visit Moorland Primary School in Splott, Cardiff. The whole school has taken part and has also had the opportunity to experience ballet, guided by the professionalism of Birmingham Royal Ballet team.
Pearl Chesterman – Director for Learning said: ““Birmingham Royal Ballet reach out into schools and communities in Birmingham and on tour. We were delighted to be invited by the Romany Cultural and Arts Company to deliver workshops at Shirenewton Caravan Site. This is the first time that Birmingham Royal Ballet has engaged with Gypsy and Traveller communities and we hope that this will be the first of many future opportunities for us to work together.”
Julie Morgan (AM) attended the event at the Shirenewton Caravan Site on Friday 30th October and said: “It was wonderful to see the children on Shirenewton Site dancing with the encouragement & instruction from members of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.This was a unique occasion and congratulations to the Romani Cultural & Arts Company for bringing them down to Cardiff. It is absolutely right that children who often suffer from discrimination & disadvantage have the opportunity to learn from such brilliant, dedicated dancers”.