What do you think would happen if you knocked on your next door neighbour’s door and asked to dance? You probably think you’d get a bit of an odd look and crossed off next year’s Christmas card list. But you might just be surprised at how much your neighbours want you to reach out and share their lives.
That’s what Yorkshire Dance Youth discovered when they set off into their Seacroft community to film the Juncture Youth Fringe project Dancing with your Neighbours. Their initial trepidation at bringing their love of dance into their everyday lives soon gave way to forming new bonds and the realisation that dance is another way to bridge the gaps in society.
The team of four young dancers, choreographer Anthony Middleton and group leader Danielle Byars, was accompanied by a team of filmmakers from Space2 over the two day shoot, which saw the dancers explore their own neighbourhoods and make connections with local people of all ages.
The group found that, rather than facing a wall of indifference, their neighbours wanted to share their stories about dance and were more than happy to learn a few moves and become part of the performance. As a result, the film reveals a host of real life characters who feel a genuine connection with their community and a responsibility to look out for one another.
People of all ages became involved in the shoot, from an older woman keen to take up a dance class in the future, to groups of children and teenagers whose curiosity encouraged them to approach the group, even if just to express an unconvincing cynicism.
Originally an exercise inspired by a piece about problems within neighbourhoods (Louise Wallinger’s Annoying the Neighbours), the project has instead uncovered a far more positive and encouraging view of modern community life – and both the creators and public participants have stated they’ve been inspired by the filming to either get to know their neighbours better or, in the case of the neighbours themselves, get to know the world of dance the Yorkshire Dance Youth hold so dear.
The finished film Dancing with your Neighbours screens at Yorkshire Dance on Saturday 8 March at 2pm.
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