Made in Hastings

Since 2012, HSC has worked in Hastings, originally invited to perform and work in schools by Michael Hambridge (formerly Arts & Cultural Development Officer for Hastings Borough Council). Over the years we have formed a long-standing relationship with Elaine Vanner and her dance students at Ark Alexandra Academy (formerly Helenswood Academy).

In summer 2019, HSC worked with 4 local schools on a new project – Hastings Reimagined – which evolved from the existing partnerships built in this region. The project aimed to introduce Hofesh’s repertoire to new groups whilst deepening our relationship with existing partners, ultimately creating work inspired by Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale. Dancers from the company visited the schools involved to share repertoire, which the dance teachers and students then developed into their own Hofesh-inspired pieces. As well as supporting better attainment among pupils, the project also provided CPD for teachers by helping to embed creative learning skills into their programmes. The project culminated in an intimate sharing between the four partner schools – Ark Alexandra Academy and Sixth Form, Bexhill College, Hastings Academy and The St Leonards Academy.

Hastings Reimagined was supported by Arts Council England, Hastings Opportunity Area Programme and HRAEN.

“Projects like this are so important. I think it’s so good to have different opportunities in schools as it shouldn’t just be about Maths, English and Science. There are other things out there and by doing this, you’re getting skills in confidence, communication, teamwork, and it’s wonderful bringing everyone together.”                                                  

Project participant

“For HSC, supporting some of the creative contemporary dance teaching that is taking place in schools is hugely important.  Being ongoing partners, over some years, to the extraordinary work that is being achieved and seeing, through these collaborations, young people grow as young artists and people, is a huge privilege.”

David Steele

Learning Associate – Hofesh Shechter Company

“We were so lucky to have Hofesh Shechter Company for an intensive residency at our school.  The live performance at the end of the week was breath-taking and left the students watching stunned. The workshops were led with great enthusiasm, outstanding teaching skills and an extremely approachable manner.  This project led to a spine-tingling performance in which Hofesh Shechter Company dancers performed alongside our students in a collaborative work of live music, learned repertoire and creative motif and development work. The whole experience was inspirational, encouraging and has left a life-long imprint on our students and staff.”
Elaine Vanner, Head of Dance, Helenswood Academy