ACE Youth’s European touring is going from strength to strength: they have just returned from a successful trip to Saint Etienne, a week working with the Les Orteils de Sable, the youth dance company of Les Ballets Contemporains de Saint Etienne. Every two years this company – a champion of youth dance in France – hosts a youth dance festival entitled 1,2,3…Dansez! and this year ACE Youth were invited to perform on the opening night at the Opera Theatre alongside the French company. As well as treating the French audience to work from their own rep, ACE Youth also worked with Les Orteils de Sable over the week they were there to create a new 10 minute collaborative piece called Aftermath.
The week was extremely beneficial for all the young people involved and fitted in very well to ACE dance and music’s ethos of cultural exchange. Although a contemporary dance company too, Les Orteils de Sable have a very different approach to and style of dance, which was a fresh challenge for ACE Youth. The French young people also really enjoyed getting to grips with ACE Youth’s contemporary Afro-Caribbean dance. Click here to watch a documentary on youth dance created by French video artist Aurelien Cenet in collaboration with the two companies
For me the most memorable moment was watching ACE Youth perform Loss of Innocence on the opening night of the festival: their standard and focus were exceptional and the dancers had the audience captivated from start to finish. The French audience told us afterwards that they loved the phenomenal energy ACE Youth brought to the stage.
Philippe Léonard (Artistic Assistant, programming, Théâtre de St-Etienne) offers his thoughts on the project: “I was very happy to receive you at the Opera Theatre of Saint-Etienne, at the Festival 1.2.3. Dance. Send to all members of the team at ACE dance and music, congratulations for the quality of their performance. The communicative energy and commitment of the young dancers was very “pro” I was particularly impressed at the choreographic and dramatic quality of the pieces presented. I am proud to have contributed to my small way to the success of this great project, supported with enthusiasm and determination by Mireille and Clementine. I wish you success in your future endeavors and hope that the good cooperation between ACE and Les Orteils will continue.”
In October half-term we hope that Les Orteils de Sable will be able to make the return trip to Birmingham to work with ACE Youth and other youth dance companies from the West Midlands. The week will involve master classes for the young dancers, performances of their work and discussions around the cultural and artistic value of youth dance in Europe. Watch this space!