Over the past 30+ years, Magpie has created a number of memorable performances across London, Canterbury, Birmingham and beyond. Enjoy a selection of Magpie’s archived productions below:
Don’t Stop Us Now! was an online performance party celebrating dance through the decades and 35 years of Magpie Dance.
Celebrating the diversity and breadth of youth dance across the South East region, Magpie Dance performed at MaKe U.Dance as part of the South East Regional Platform U.Dance 2020.
Why Dance? showcased performances from groups across London, highlighting the benefits of dance for everyone and the joy it brings!
Through a community residency with Royal Opera House, Magpie Dancers collaborated with David Pickering MBE and Laura McCulloch to create their own version of Kenneth MacMillan’s WW1 ballet, Gloria – which was performed at this platform.
To celebrate Learning Disability Awareness week, we partnered up with The Glades, holding sharing’s in the atriums so that more people could see our work and find out about what we do.
Our youth dancers collaborated with Candoco Youth dancers in a project with Trinity Laban at the end of April to devise a brand new piece for this Youth platform – with choreography from a visiting artist.
On 27th April four of our adult dancers performed an extract from our recent WW1 ‘Hidden Impact’ project to live music and vocals. The performance took place at The Shoestring Theatre in South Norwood.
Magpie Youth Technique dancers performed at ISTD’s Springboard event at the University of Bedford. The dance was created by the dancers and was a compilation of pieces from the Hidden Impact performance in December 2018. In addition to the performance, the four dancers helped Magpie Dance facilitators lead a CPD workshop on inclusive practices.
“I have attended Magpie performances for 15 years since my son joined. They get better all the time. This was spectacular”
– Audience member
Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, Magpie Dance presented their flagship performance and exhibition exploring the ‘Hidden Impact’ of people with learning disabilities, their journeys and contributions to the First World War.
Magpie Dance’s company dancers, all of whom have learning disabilities, performed a stunning ritual interpreting the stories of people with learning disabilities, their journeys and contributions to the First World War. From those displaced when asylums were requisitioned as war hospitals, to the journeys some made to the front line.
Delivered in partnership with Ruskin College and self-advocacy group My Life, My Choice, this flagship performance and exhibition is the culmination of research never undertaken before. The research underpins a brand new exhibition of the findings, revealing the stories of people with learning disabilities. An exclusive presentation and Q&A session with Prof. Lee Humber from Ruskin College also took place before the performance.
You can watch the full performance here
With thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.
See a review of the performance here
Marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, Magpie Dance were delighted to tour excerpts from their flagship performance ‘Hidden Impact’ exploring the stories of people with learning disabilities, their journeys and contributions to the First World War.
Magpie Dance performed at Guys Hospital, Mind the Gap Studios, The Glades Shopping Centre and Bromley Disability Pride.
For our regular session end of term sharings we partnered up with The Glades, holding them in the atriums so that more people could see our work and find out about what we do. Both the Tuesday MAC and Wednesday My performed
Our C0-Artist Director, Alison Ferrao and Operations C0-ordinator, Laura-Ann Whitlock, attended this networking event for inclusive arts companies organised by Mind the Gap. Alison gave a short presentation and our dancers performed their piece “Aurora” (excerpt) and then took part in a Carnival props- making workshop led by Emergency Exit Arts.
Performing alongside Highfliers, three MAC dancers performed and excerpt of their piece ‘Aurora’; a piece that transforms a series of technical exercises, using various choreographic techniques. The full version of ‘Aurora’ was premiered at Sandler’s Wells last year with a cast of 20 Mac dancers.
Four MAC dancers performed an excerpt of their piece ‘Aurora’ in the foyer at St Thomas’ hospital, London followed by an interactive workshop and ending with a repeat performance. It was fantastic to be part of this programme and we hope we can partner with Breathe Arts Health Research in the future.
Four of our Mac dancers performed an excerpt of their piece ‘Aurora’ at Bromley Disability Pride which was hosted by X by X Bromley Civic Centre; audience members included the Worshipful Mayo of Bromley Cllr. Kathy Bance MBE.
Held at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, this special performance celebrated our Founding Artistic Director’s outstanding work and achievements over the past 32 years before retiring in the summer.
The Magpie Dance team, from trustees to staff, to the dancers and their families, wanted to put on this wonderful surprise performance, involving the whole company, to honour Avril. Over 250 guests came together to watch the performance and celebrate the work Avril has achieved with Magpie Dance’s entire classes programme from Youth, Community and Adult dancers including Highfliers performed as part of the inspirational and talented line up on the central London stage.
“Thank you for what you have done for all of the groups! I have made so many friends here at Magpie Dance. I will miss you and good luck with your retirement” – Highflier Dancer
Throughout the performance, Avril received accolades and video messages from a range of participants, parents, friends from the dance community and the Magpie Dance staff.
“Words cannot express how magical this performance was, filled with such passion, dedication and commitment and beautifully performed work, where the dancers performed to their full potential as they always do. You must be so proud of all the dancers and everyone at Magpie Dance” – Magpie Dance friend
Avril, who was moved to tears said, addressing the audience the performance “I’m overwhelmed with the tribute you have given me, its extraordinary. I’ve been so fortunate to have such an amazing team to work with. I know Magpie Dance will go on and on because you are all so passionate and have such strength
Performers, you have done me proud. It’s not goodbye it’s ‘Au revoir’.”
Mark Dempsey, chair of Magpie board said “This performance was a fantastic tribute to Avril’s dedication, determination and commitment. Avril’s leadership and entrepreneurship has been a true inspiration and we are gong to make sure it doesn’t stop.”
Our MAC dancers performed at Danceboxxx, a Community Dance Festival at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley celebrating the diversity, talent and passion for dance across the borough.
Four MAC dancers performed an excerpt of their piece ‘Aurora’ at Barclay’s Bank Headquarters, Canary Wharf, London, to staff and invited VIPs.
Our Saturday Technique Youth Group performed ‘Roll and Rock’ as part of an inclusive youth dance platform celebrating inclusive youth dance performances by young people from Greenwich, Lewisham and wider London at Trinity Laban. Youth Group patron and Actress Kellie Shirley commented; “It was such a treat to see such talented shine and all the performances were inspiring and evocative. It was a really special night to see the youth group deliver such an accomplished confident performance.
This was a project that Magpie Dance was involved in weekly which culminated in a performance by the students of the school as well as 4 of our Adult Group Dancers on the 21st March 2017
On the 17th March 2017 some of our Youth Group technique dancers performed at this event at the Hilton London Kensington.
We were proud to be invited to perform at ths prestigious event on the 10th March 2017 at Barclay’s Piccadilly Circus branch (attended by VIPs including a Paralympic gold medallist); 4 of our Adult Group dancers performed.
This took place at The Southbank Centre on the 11th September 2016 and Highfliers performed ‘There Were Definitely Swans’.
Magpie’s Saturday Youth Group Technique performed at Broadway Theatre as part of Positive Vibez, ‘Take It To The Stage’ for one night only! A show highlighting the exceptional talents of young people in the performing arts industry.
The group performed an adaptation of their piece’ Tilt’, on 23rd July 2016
Magpie’s Adult Group debuted their new piece made in collaboration with Complicite.
The piece was performed at The Churchill Theatre on July 9th 2016 as part of Big Dance.
Magpie’s Highfliers Dance Company performed an excerpt of their piece, ‘There Were Definitely Swans’, at The Baylis Studio at Sadlers Wells on 8th July. This was part of their Summer 2016 tour.
The piece was written by Lost Dog’s Ben Duke & the six Highfliers Dancers: Hannah Dempsey, Hannah Westerman, Daisy Garrett, Owain Taylor, Jamie Gregory, Daniel De Mendoza
Held at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury on the 24th June 2016, Highfliers performed ‘There Were Definitely Swans’ as part of this double bill to a packed audience and received a standing ovation. Highfliers also performed this piece on the 1st July at Rambert in a sharing of work.
This was an inclusive programme of work at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre at Northern Ballet, Leeds where Highfliers performed ‘There Were Definitely Swans’. Our Highflier dancers (and their professionalism) inspired other dancers to continue with their professional training.
In June 2016 Highfliers premiered their first performance of the full work, by choreographer Ben Duke (from Lost Dog) of ‘There Were Swans’ at Greenwich Dance.
It was so grat to share the stage with these amazing and talented people @ Magpie Dance #Highliers’
Each year Youth Dance England runs a national festival, U.Dance, that draws together some of the best youth dance work from across the country. Hundreds of young people join together to perform in high profile venues, take classes with leading professionals and have fun.
Magpie’s Saturday Youth Group Technique’s choreographic work, ‘Tilt’, was shortlisted to perform at the U.Dance regional platform in March 2016.
Magpie dancers were invited to the BBC’s New Broadcasting House to dance’The Strictly’ live on The One Show. 31 Magpie dancers, family members, volunteers and facilitators joined the fun alongside the Strictly stars and other London Dance companies.
To see pictures from the day click here. Keep Dancing!
Magpie celebrated 30 years at the Langley Park Centre for the Performing Arts with a full showcase of live music and danceworks created collaboratively by our Youth Group, Adult Group, Community Class and Highfliers dancers. There were 8 dance pieces total including a special guest performance by Cando2 and a creative video submitted by Dance Ability (Trinity Laban).
Eight Magpie dancers performed creative choreography during a live reading of Moby-Dick as part of the London Literature Festival at Southbank Centre. Click here for pictures.
Three Magpie Adult Group dancers presented an abridged version of their piece ‘Made by Many’ to an audience of arts enthusiasts who attended the New Moves event, University of Kent.
Magpie Dance Youth Group Technique performed Speakeasy at Magpie’s 30th Anniversary charity dinner in July 2015 with thanks to 3 local businesses; Bailey Ahmad Business Recovery, Metro Bank and CWJ (Clarkson Wright and Jakes Ltd).
Mind The Gap provides a performance platform for the stars of tomorrow at the Changing Britain festival. Magpie’s Youth Group technique dancers performed ‘Speakeasy’ – an excerpt from Magpie’s Flying High production, choreographed by David Willdridge from Stopgap Dance Company.
Magpie Dance was invited to perform ‘Flying High,’ at the Gulbenkian. Magpie presented a mixed programme including ‘Made by Many’ created as a collaborative effort by Magpie’s Adult Group as well as new commission, ‘The Story So Far’ which saw David Willdridge from Stopgap Dance Company choreograph on Magpie’s Youth Group and newly launched professional performance company, Highfliers.
Co Motion performance platform brought together inclusive contemporary dance performances from a variety of mixed-ability dance groups and companies including Cando2, Trinity Laban, Magpie Dance, alongside participants from local Greenwich and Lewisham primary and secondary schools. The event began in 2009 by Trinity Laban as a performance platform, the only one of its kind in London and the UK.
The platform provided disabled young people an exceptional performance opportunity in the internationally renowned Laban Theatre. The platform included specially commissioned works as well as invited performance pieces.
On 16th January, Magpie Dance was invited to perform at the Lilian Baylis Studio with a mixed bill, Flying High, for Sadler’s Well’s =dance festival. The programme included ‘Made by Many,’ created as a collaborative effort by Magpie’s Adult Group as well as a new commission, ‘The Story So Far’ which saw David Wildridge from Stopgap Dance Company choreograph on Magpie’s Youth Group and newly launched professional dance company, Highfliers.
In total, 23 people with learning disabilities from the Bromley and surrounding areas performed in this show. The ages of the performers ranged from 18-58. Audience reception to the performance was incredible. With a sold-out show and thought-provoking questions from audience members during the post-show discussion, it can be said that the evening truly inspired the performers, the public, and challenged mainstream expectations, thereby fulfilling Magpie’s fundamental ethos and mission.
The Adult Group performed at the Lions Club International Europa Forum in Birmingham for 800 delegates from around the world.
The Adult Group performed ‘Made by Many’ and the Youth Group Technique group performed ‘Flowers No More’ at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley for Big Dance 2014.
Magpie’s Youth Group was shortlisted and performed for the UDance London regional heats.
On 29th April 2014, Magpie’s Youth Group technique dancers performed ‘Flowers No More’ to a sell-out audience for The Place’s Refresh platform.
Dancers from Magpie’s adult group performed a specially choreographed piece for Re:locate magazine’s Christmas celebration at a night club in Leicester Square, London. The evening raised over £200 for Magpie.
Magpie’s Youth group performed at the Co-Motion platform at Trinity Laban
Magpie performed ‘Collected Works past. present. revivals’ at the Albany Theatre Deptford. The choreographic showcase, which included five Magpie pieces, marked the end of the Reaching Communities grant that supported this programme.
For Big Dance, Magpie made a new piece entitled, ‘The Ed Effect’, based on the well-known story of Edward Scissorhands in collaboration with New Adventures.
“The Ed Effect was one of my highlights of Big Dance Week. It was incredibly inspiring to see dancers of different abilities really rise to meet the opportunity of working with a leading professional dance company. It was wonderful to see a collaboration of this kind as part of the Big Dance programme” – Anne Hartley
Magpie’s Youth Group also performed at the Co-Motion platform at Trinity Laban.
Magpie Dance youth and adult dancers participated in a 4-day choreographic residency with New Adventures on Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’ story. This was the first time that Magpie worked with New Adventures and the first time that the dancers had worked from a starting point of delving into the characters from a story to influence the choreographic and contemporary dance processes.
The youth and adult dancers spent 10 weeks working together on their story of Cinderella and performed to a packed audience in Bromley with lighting and raked seating. Magpie’s Youth Group also performed at the Co-Motion platform at Trinity Laban.
Magpie worked with Pari Naderi to make the piece ‘Orbital’ for Big Dance. Twenty-nine dancers from Magpie’s youth and adult company performed the dance on the main stage at The Churchill Theatre.
‘Orbital’ was created over a short period of rehearsals with Magpie facilitators and all learning disabled dancers that attend Magpie’s Youth Group and Adult Performance Group. Together, they created a piece through the concept of imagery and sound as a stimulus.
Magpie performed at the Albany Theatre Deptford for a matinee and evening performance of Dance@Magpie, which included two mentoring pieces choreographed by dancers from the adult group, plus other works by the adult and youth groups.
Magpie Dance Youth Group performed ‘Expressions’ at The Peacock Theatre in Holborn as part of Rumble – a dance platform for secondary schools and youth groups
The piece was accompanied by a specially created score and live music and explored the dancers’ interaction with the visual and aural stimuli. Above all the piece was an exploration and celebration of the young people’s creative, performance and technical skills.