Getting Ready for Yanks Weekend!


By Olivia

For those of you who don't live in Saddleworth, our last Dancestry Legacy workshop focused on Yanks Weekend. This is an annual event where we all get dressed up in 1940's wartime gear and pretend we are living in World War Two by having dances and military vehicle parades. Why? I hear you ask...

Well in 1979 a film was released called 'Yanks' starring non-other than Richard Gere. The story centred around a large U.S. Army base being set up near a small Lancashire town and how the 'Yanks' became a part of the community. Brilliantly it was filmed in Saddleworth so most of our parents and grandparents were extras in the film! I believe my Auntie Christine is visible in the opening shots!

Our workshop on Sunday 21st July began with yet another game of Granny Footsteps, which appears to be a firm favourite of the young people we work with. We then moved on to a contemporary dance technique class. I used as much imagery as possible to help create the right movements on the children. For a large mid back curve on a plie, I used the image of 'hugging a beach ball' which resulted in a lot of giggling but also the right shapes and movements being performed by the children in the class. At the end of the class, we began to look at our creative theme for the day; Yanks.

We began by playing a game based on the villages of Saddleworth. Each side of the room was named either Dobcross, Diggle, Denshaw or Greenfield. The centre of the room we call Richard Gere. When I played music participants ran around the room when it stopped I would shout out an area and you had to run to that area. Simple! Next, we made it a bit more complicated by learning a Lindy-Hop move to be performed in each area, when I shouted Richard Gere however the movement was very simple - you had to run into the middle of the room and pretend to faint/swoon - one for the mums there! The game then continued the same as before but instead of just running to an area, you had to run there and perform the Lindy-Hop movement for that area. After all that running and Lindy-Hopping we are a bit tired so we had a juice break and looked at some Lindy - Hop videos to get some inspiration for our Lindy - Hop solos we were about to create next. We talked about the style of the movement and made a list of all the cool moves in the videos that we would want to put in our solos. Juice break over and we were back on our feet again to create our solos. When we were done we performed them and even had a go at learning each others! We all agreed that Lindy - Hop is very tiring! For our next creative task we took inspiration from another World War Two memory from out local area. On the moors near Glossop (just off Snake Pass) there is a plane wreck, just out there on the moor. The plane actually came down in 1948, but the plane and its crew both served in World War Two. For more information about the crash visit this website which has some great details and photographs.

I had recently walked out to this amazing site and witnessed the wreck for myself. I took lots of photographs and we used these images to create movement. We began by talking about the shapes that we could see in the wreckage and then the context of the crash too before creating a trio based upon these ideas. The movement was so interesting to watch especially the different approaches taken by boys and girls. The girls tended to use the photographs, creating a movement for each image and then placing them in an order to perform. The boys re-enacted a plane crashing with sound effects. I used both approaches mixed together when creating our trio at the end of the session. Our sharing was once again well received. I will leave you with some images of the plane crash site that I took on my recent visit.

The next Dancestry Legacy workshop will take place on Sunday 22nd September and will be inspired by Dovestones, a local RSPB wildlife site. Born and Bred Dance Theatre will be performing here in collaboration with other artists on Saturday 14th September. More details will be released shortly, so keep you eyes peeled!

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