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DANCE CAPTAIN RETURNS HOME TO DIRECT FILM
An award-winning choreographer is jumping for joy after she scooped funding to produce a dance film.
Sophie Duncan, 27, of Saltergate, Chesterfield, has worked internationally with world renowned Cirque du Soleil and FrancoDragone.
She has been awarded a total of £1505 from seven Derbyshire councillors including Ron Mihaly and Dave Allen to make the film which will showcase artistic talent in north Derbyshire.
Sophie is directing and choreographing the film. Collaborators include pole dance artists Lorna Walker, who won Miss Pole UK 2013, and Lisa Hammond, current Pole Theatre UK, semi pro division; Ryan Fletcher, bass player with pop band Lawson, singer-songwriter Adam McCulloch and film and music producer Nick Allott.
“If all goes to plan, this will be the first of many similar projects within Chesterfield that will feature and promote local talent.
The short dance film has been shot in various locations including Chesterfield Canal and Barrow Hill Roundhouse and highlights the area’s industrial past through a combination of circus, dance and original music.
Final filming was scheduled to take place on the canal and at the Roundhouse during the school half term break.
The first public official screening of the film will take place at the Tapton Lock Festival in September but will be released online in advance.
Sophie said: “The long term aims are to create an artists’ hub in the area and to use this as a kick-start to build a very large scale promenade event through the town so hopefully this first film will act as proof that we can produce high level, skilled artwork.”
A pupil at Brookfield Community School, Sophie went on to train professionally at the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School.
She now performs and works worldwide as a dancer, circus artist and choreographer.
When she’s not based in Chesterfield, Sophie lives and works in Macau, China as dance captain for MGM.
AWARD WINNING CHOREOGRAPHER RECEIVES COUNCIL FUNDING TOWARDS A LOCALLY INSPIRED DANCE PROJECT
“I am confident that the project will be a success and a fresh, independent film for the young adults of Chesterfield. I just can’t wait to get started.”
The short dance film – which will be shot in several locations around the town, including the Chesterfield Canal and Barrow Hill Roundhouse – will highlight Chesterfield’s industrial past through a combination of circus, dance and original music.
Preparatory work has already begun on the project with final filming due to take place on the Chesterfield Canal and Barrow Hill Roundhouse during the May half term.
Sophie said: “The long term aims are to create an artist’s hub in the area and to use this as a kick start to build a very large scale promenade event through the town so hopefully this first film will act as proof that we can produce high level, skilled artwork.”
A pupil at Brookfield Community School, Sophie went on to train professionally at the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School. She now performs and works worldwide as a dancer, circus artists and choreographer.
Currently she lives and works in Macau, China as Dance Captain for MGM, but comes back home whenever she gets the opportunity to embark on projects like this one.
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CHESTERFIELD DANCER RETURNS TO ROOTS TO TRAIN NEXT GENERATION OF DANCERS
"A professional dancer from Chesterfield whose work has taken her around the world is returning to the region this summer to host an intensive training programme for budding youngsters.
Sophie Duncan, 26, who has performed with some of the most prestigious companies in the world - including the legendary Cirque du Soleil - will be running the course this August at a studio in Nottingham with her friend Joshua Ecob from Hucknall."
They themselves met at a similar course which took place when the pair were just teenagers and now want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
She said: “The course we will be running, NGDance, is for kids between 11 and 18 who want to experience what it is like to be a professional dancer.
“Me and Josh have been friends for 12 years now, since we met at a similar course in 2004 and we realised when we were chatting that there was nothing else like this that exists at the moment in this area.
“Because we’re performing and creating work right now, we’ve got nothing to hide and we can shed some light on this bizarre industry - to demystify it a bit both for students and their parents. “And as well as focusing on contemporary and ballet styles of dance, we will be doing sessions on choreography which will really help the students get top grades in their exams.”
Sophie has just returned to the UK after spending the last three years in Macau, China, performing in one of the world’s biggest and best shows, ‘The House Of Dancing Water’.That show is the brainchild of legendary Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone and involves a 3.7 million gallon pool into which performers dive from a 24 metre platform.
“Training with these legends - these very intense people who have won Olympic medals - was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “We would do really long days and be performing 10 shows a week. By the end of my time in Macau I had done 1,242 shows in just three-and-a-half years."
The course she and Josh will be running this summer will cover professional ballet, contemporary dance and choreography but will also give students the chance to learn the skills and habits of top dancers.
“As well as the choreography, one of the great things about our course is the ‘unlimited access’ sessions we will be offering at the end of each day,” Sophie said.“We want the kids who come to be able to ask anything they want to so they can really feel what it would be like if they became professional dancers.”
Sophie, who attended Brookfield Community School, on Chatsworth Road, says she personally owes her success to her inspirational teacher, Nia Yule.
“She came in specifically to teach us GCSE dance and without her there is no way I would have been a dancer,” she said.
The course will take place over six days, from Monday August 1 until Saturday 6 at The Dance Studios in Hockley, Nottingham. It costs £120In addition, Sophie and Josh are offering three scholarships for the programme, one in partnership with The Dance Studios, the other for a current member of C.A.T and one which will be chosen by Sophie and Josh themselves. For a full course outline or to book go to www.ngdance.org. To receive updates, also visit their Facebook page @ngdance.info.