Art On Your Doorstep – The Delivery Diaries – bringing a piece of Spain to North Yorkshire

 Art On Your Doorstep – The Delivery Diaries

Jen Wren of Slanjayvah Danza performs Flamenco in front of residents

The Delivery Diaries – bringing a piece of Spain to North Yorkshire

Rural Arts is well and truly on the road with Art On Your Doorstep, bringing the arts to older people in our local communities. Last week we joined Jen Wren and Callum Holt from Slanjayvah Danza as they visited Extra Care housing schemes in Thirsk and Northallerton to perform their unique blend of Scottish and Spanish dance.

The duo are dressed for the occasion – Jen in a traditional Flamenco outfit and Callum, I am told, has stepped into the breach at the last minute to don a kilt for the Scottish numbers. We catch a brief moment to chat before they go ‘on stage’.

“We’ve never performed in a space like this before”, Callum confesses, “it’s a lovely place and we’re learning about how to adapt what we do for future shows like this”. Although new to housing schemes like Orchid House and Rivendale, Slanjayvah Danza is a company very used to working in the community. Indeed, Jen started her dance career back home in Scotland, performing for older people near to where she lived. She adds “it’s really nice to come back and re-engage with people who are less able to get out to an evening show”.

Unlike your average dance performance in a theatre, Jen and Callum pride themselves on hosting a very interactive show. They invite the audience to share their stories from travels abroad, uncovering lots of funny tales from the crowd in Northallerton. Jen remarks “the amount of experience in a room like this is huge – there are so many stories”.

The show went on to include several routines, each reflecting a different dance style, musical influence and story from Slanjayvah Danza’s journey. As the audience clapped along I could tell that this was a performance that had brightened a rainy day for everyone who came along. The feedback confirmed it, as the audience was invited to share just one word to describe the experience. “Fabulous” was the response.   

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