Unkindest Cut — Schools Residency

Working in partnership with Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) Suba worked with twelve self selecting students aged 16–18 from Weatherfield Academy (a special educational needs school) to explore issues around mental health and young people through movement, yoga and dance.

One of the outcomes of the six week project was for Suba to record and incorporate the voices of the young people into the performance work Unkindest Cut. These residencies are an integral part of Sadhana’s outreach work as we include the responses of young people, what it’s like to be a teenager in our society and the issues they face.

Aligning with the motto of the school “To work together to place the young person at the centre of all we strive for by developing confidence, independence and life-long learning” the young people gained confidence and found their own voices in creating movement work. We explored rhythm, Bharata Natyam gestures, contact improvisation, contemporary movement and voice.

Teachers were eager to share with Suba how much the young people looked forward to the sessions as they talked about them throughout the week. One of the biggest successes was that boys who would normally do football wanted to do these sessions instead.

What became clear was that dance was having a profoundly positive impact on these young peoples’ lives. Some of the feedback we received included “I love dance. It makes me forget my worries”, “It stops me being sad” and “I love the yoga”.

By the end of the residency, the students were very happy to share their feelings about being a teenager and one student in particular talked at length about some of her deepest worries and anxieties. For Suba, it was one of the most profoundly important projects she has ever been involved in as the outcomes, process and impact on young peoples’ lives was beyond expectation.