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BODY TALKS MOVEMENT™

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BODY TALKS MOVEMENT™

Body Talks Movement™ (BTM) is a participatory dance programme that harnesses the healing potential of movement, dance, film and virtual communication. It evolved from our previous project, Movement of Freedom (MOF). It serves and connects children aged 6-14 from disadvantaged communities in the UK and around the world, through multimedia dance workshops. The workshops reveal the healing and unifying power of movement and the fundamental human need to dance and connect. Dance has been a form of expression, ritual and social bonding for millenia. Throughout time, movement has been a communal way of honouring the most significant elements in life.

The BTM programme provides an opportunity for the participants to discover their “dance voice”, by facilitating a structure which connects them meaningfully with peers within their community and beyond their local environment, in a creative, nonverbal and intercultural way. Body Talks continues to focus on specific issues such as growing polarisation between different cultural groups, disintegration of community structures and disconnection from the body’s inherent wisdom and healing potential. As we emerge from the global pandemic, this project is crucial as these issues have now intensified. Moreover, during lockdown many children particularly from lower socio-economic groups suffered acute isolation, the feeling of being “unheard”, a lack of physical activity, an increase in anxiety, loss of confidence and their desire to socialise.

Body Talks aims to address these growing problems by combining creative skills from a range of high-level expertise to create a truly unique, high impact & scalable project. The project is structured into two modules: the development of a teaching curriculum and an immersive video installation.

The project started in 2015 when MoF was invited to connect the street moves of a group of children in New Orleans with a group of children in London. Since then, it has partnered with local organisations to include children from economically deprived communities in Mumbai, Rio, Lesvos, Zimbabwe and Egypt. The MoF workshops have developed to inspire the children to explore their own emotions and movement impulses, expand their personal movement vocabulary and create group dances together. We have made a short documentary which illustrates this phase of the project. In 2017, following a successful Kickstarter campaign, we built a pilot for a secure online network platform for the children to connect with each other. As well as monitoring and evaluating pre-pandemic workshops in local London schools in 2019 and beginning of 2020, we have been carrying out research whilst running virtual dance workshops for small groups of children throughout lockdown.