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Danielle talks about joining Fallen Angels in her role as Engagement Support Worker.

First of all, I give a great big Congratulations! to Paul and Claire for creating this opportunity and achieving the funding, which will help Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) to expand in such a big way. I feel joy that FADT has grown so much that we now can have an Engagement Worker to help develop an even deeper bond amongst our groups and out to the community. I am proud of FADT, everyone who has helped you and the impact you’ve made.

Danielle, FADT Engagement Support Worker with Claire, Executive Director and Paul, Artistic Director.

I’m overjoyed to join FADT in helping our “Beneficiaries” to receive even more help and create opportunities for others to join, while at the same time bringing home an ever-improving quality for those who are with us. I love recovery and have loved working with people through my 25 years in social care specialising in mental health for the last 10 years.

As a previous Dancer with FADT I experienced the difference the arts can make to changing lives. Music, art, dance, drama and any creativity can be a beautiful outlet for expression in ways that sometimes other mediums cannot reach. Dance and art make us feel worthwhile and can be a great complement or pathway to recovery. It helps work through feelings, heal issues and I love the lasting pieces of work we can take pride in.

FADT is a company that possesses all the traits I value in a loving team and I have shared my gratitude often with my sibling “Angels” and our Leaders, Paul and Claire. I love how they empower the Dancers to grow within themselves and into leading roles like our Supporting Angels.

I’m thrilled to be in a position where I can walk with each of our Angels to overcome any difficulties that may make it hard to take part in the activities, while at the same time supporting each of us to find every means to help achieve our absolute best recovery. Being a part of FADT in this way is beyond my wildest dreams and I am so grateful. Thank you FADT and for the lovely welcome I’ve had from everyone into my new role. I love FADT! {\o/}

Danielle Larkin – Engagement Support Worker at FADT

Empowering Women through Dance

An interview with Kathryn Kirk, Outreach Manager at CSASS

Following our recent Empowering Women through Dance project, we spoke with Kathryn Kirk, Outreach Manager at Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service (CSASS) to hear her thoughts on the project…

Why did CSASS work in partnership with Fallen Angels?

Chester Sexual Abuse Support Service (CSASS) Outreach programmes has been developing different creative approaches to support women who have survived sexual abuse. These have included using mindfulness, walk and talk and visual art. FADT, as a well-established local dance company have an excellent profile with working with local people who are recovered addicts. Both charities realised that there could be an exciting partnership, using skills from both organisations to develop women’s self-esteem through creative dance and movement as a way of exploring feelings and self. This partnership was also an opportunity to develop skills and professional links for the volunteers and leaders in both organisations.

What was the highlight of the project for you/CSASS?

When women independently started discussing what they would like to do next in both their own lives and future careers and how the project has changed their outlook and well-being. “I felt so strong when we were dancing together, and this feeling has stayed with me”.

Were there any unexpected outcomes?

Each individual woman came to try and work through their own individual needs; but they have found strength and power when they are working and creating with others. The women all started to support each-other throughout the project as a company The strength and power of each individual has grown and despite most of the project being virtual; the dance, conversations and sharing images has created connections.

Did the project meet your expectations?

Yes, the project expectations were exceeded. Once we were put into the first lockdown for Coronavirus, I did wonder whether the project would be on hold. The women have met together when they have felt able, whether in the park, studio or online. They shared words of hope and support, sending messages of encouragement and continuing to connect whenever possible. This connection has been the sustenance which has enabled the amazing words and images to be produced in the studio in November. The strength and empowerment which the women have created together has been palpable.

Watch Empowering Women through Dance film

Here is a film of the project that sees 6 Women who have experienced mental health challenges, sexual violence, or are in recovery from addiction, in a Covid safe performance at Storyhouse’s Garret Theatre.

Film by Jonny Noakes Films

Photo by Kat Hannon Photography

We are seeking an Outreach Development Consultant

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (FADT) exists to support people in recovery from addiction to transform their lives and share the recovery journey with the wider public, through high-quality dance, performance and creativity.

We are a small organisation with a big vision based in Chester, Cheshire. You would be to joining the team at a crucial point in our development. We have been awarded funding through Arts Council England’s Elevate organisational development programme to expand our team, in order to grow the organisation and work towards sustainability.

FADT are looking to expand our offer to reach out further to pilot outreach programmes for people in recovery from addiction and mental health issues in a variety of settings including community, criminal justice and mental health.

We are looking for an individual with a passion for participatory practice, and experience of working with art and creativity for social change. The successful applicant will be responsible for the strategic development of our outreach programme that will include making new partnerships happen and designing outreach programme content with our Artistic Director, Executive Director and our workshop participants. This role will help us to define how we expand our outreach programme over the next 12 months.

Your track record will show your ability to move ideas into realising financially viable projects and your experience of successfully building a relationship with partners, practitioners, funders and diverse communities to make projects happen.

You will be integral to our small team. We are flexible, friendly and play to each other’s strengths. We’ll make you feel part of the Fallen Angels Family and provide an induction period.

See full details of this opportunity here.

Dave’s Blog – FADT – Together While Apart – Lockdown

Together While Apart Zoom workshop in action
Together While Apart Zoom workshop in action

Extracts from *Dave’s live Blog when in conversation with Claire Morris. July 2020

“When the lockdown started, I was at the peak of my fitness. I was about to go to represent myself and Fallen Angels Dance Theatre in the show, ‘Move-It’. I was about to board a train, then half an hour before I found out that the show was cancelled because of the pandemic… I had bought my tickets, I was fit, trained, ready and clean”. Instead of boarding the train, Dave turned around with his suitcase and went to the Liverpool Fallen Angels session.

“So, I had got to a stage that I was really fit and clean and then the pandemic happened. I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t go and socialise… From being in three shows I had been looking forward to… it was all taken away.”

“Every time throughout my life when I have kinda got there… something has happened; someone dies, I break my foot, I wasn’t chosen for the cut, I f**k it up or I am just not there… This time it was the pandemic… I felt a bit lost… I have used Fallen Angels as an absolute crutch, a pillar of strength, this time I have been able to get involved with ‘Together While Apart’. This (TWA) has completely helped me… with my focus, my self-discovery… I have managed to carry on with my counselling sessions which I was going to cancel… I realised that if I am not going to do this, then I am never going to get on top of this ever. I am going to carry on going through life f**ing up, so now is the best time.

Believe in what you are doing, I believe in Fallen Angels, believe in yourself and keep working with yourself… I am able to be comfortable with telling people what’s been going on, with certain aspects of my life… no fear of judgment, being rejected, hated… Not being judged because of the shame and paranoia of what’s going on…

Fallen Angels has been a pillar of strength, it has got me moving, it’s got my blood moving around my body; your heart rate raises. It is a form of fitness. It is a form of artistic expression. It is a form of waking up and stretching. Waking up and being aware of yourself. It’s basically a form of self-monitoring. Almost a form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or your own neuro-linguistic programming (ILP)… using body tapping and self-affirmation and believing in yourself. If I was to go anywhere else with this, through this (the pandemic), I would probably put that phone down on my counsellor. I would have cut myself off from the group… and the world. I would be right down there. I would probably have lost everything; my relationship with D… I could see it happening. Lost my job… no contact my family, being a s**t friend to everyone, even with my extended family at Fallen Angels … and dancers in Liverpool.

What Fallen Angels has done for me; it has given me the freedom to express myself creatively and has helped me through my self-discovery by being on-line and by getting involved and by feeling inclusive… I have never been as open as I have been at Fallen Angels… I have not been excluded which happens so much in this day and age. We are all fighting so much in our tribes… with our own labels… Fallen Angels has given us the freedom to express ourselves creatively, authentically and honestly… and have a safe space…

Image of a grid of participants taking part in a Zoom workshop.
Together While Apart Zoom workshop in action

This is not just about me and my journey. This is about friends, friendship, family and helping each-other. Getting involved in things I wouldn’t normally have done if I had not been involved with Fallen Angels. I have made some really good friends and I am reaching out to some of the people in the group. It’s given me a chance… and platform to showcase myself and do all the lovely things for you.(FADT)

So, in a nutshell; I am mostly grateful for the on-line Zoom meetings and check-ins… The ability to know that I am able to come on board and say, ‘Hi Guys! Yes, this is me! And this is you; we are a big family and we’re here to help each-other’… in our own dysfunctional way, which is wonderful… Fallen Angels brings everyone together, which is a wonderful gift. Thank you. “

*Name changed to protect identity.

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Rubicon Dance

We are so excited to be asked to deliver a CPD session with the lovely dance community of Rubicon Dance in Cardiff. As this is an online session, absolutely anyone could join us!!! Paul and I don’t really deliver sessions outside our own recovery community, so I hope you will join us!!!!

Get booking though, as place on limited to a first come first served basis.. we would love to see you!!

Claire

Activations to continue with The Turnpike

Photograph by Livia Lazar courtesy The Turnpike

This week Fallen Angels Dance Theatre are continuing their second phase of a significant project with visual artist, Frances Disley and The Turnpike. After completing phase 1 of the collaboration prior to lockdown, they are now re-activating the second stage of this successful project online, with a view to reconvening as a residency once The Turnpike has reopened. For more info log onto:  www.theturnpike.org.uk/activations

Fallen Angels is usually based on a Friday at The Turnpike, Civic Square in Leigh. However since social distancing measures their community recovery dancers at The Turnpike have joined with their peers from Chester and Liverpool for Fallen Angels ‘Together While Apart‘ online programme.

Photograph by Livia Lazar courtesy The Turnpike

Combat Stress with Fallen Angels

Artistic Director Paul Bayes Kitcher has been reaching out to share insights and exercises to help everyone to combat stress during this challenging time of lockdown. 

He says: “What we do at Fallen Angels is by doing some physical techniques we can get into the body and out of our minds, which releases stress and tension”. 

The online youtube videos can be found on Fallen Angels Dance Theatre’s Youtube channel, or you can find the links on www.fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk/blog here are the links:  

Combatting Stress with Fallen Angels: 

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hcuOAN-Dzc&t=10s

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uVwCb-Rzz4&t=105s

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjoOWu610uc

Together While Apart:

On 23rd March we all experienced a life changing measure, at Fallen Angels our workshops in the community were put on hold. We immediately checked in with our Angels and brought everyone together using the power of the internet.

Fallen Angels instigated ‘Together While Apart’ a new, vibrant online programme helping local people from our three community groups across the North West who are all overcoming significant challenges including mental health breakdown, addiction, and other disadvantages.  

Zoom workshops that unite our 3 community recovery groups

Now in our 9th week our project includes high-quality creative dance workshops and learning opportunities, and valuable peer support through this creative online platform. The company is grateful for support from CWAC Emergency fund, Steve Morgan Foundation, National Lottery and Cheshire Community Foundation. We hope that through their support the online programme will enable our community to transition back into their activities at Storyhouse when it is possible and safe to do so

To find out more about the Together While Apart C19 project click here.