Ballet stars shine on Neptune ward visit
17 August 2015
They say laughter is the best medicine, so when dancers from the English Youth Ballet leapt into the children’s ward of Southend Hospital to give poorly children and their families an insight into all things ballet, it really lit up the ward.
As well as an exciting preview of their comic ballet, Coppelia,
coming to the Cliffs Pavilion, the English Youth Ballet has a
policy of encouraging and promoting young British dancers, and
giving young children the opportunity to experience it who might
otherwise not get the chance.
Lisa Kawa-Akenbo, senior healthcare play specialist, said: "The
workshop was a fantastic distraction for our patients; being in
hospital can be a very stressful and frightening experience for
children and young people. It allowed them to forget that
they are in hospital and have an enjoyable, fun time.
"We also invited some of our regular, long-term patients as for
those children people and families who spend much of their time in
hospital it was great to be visiting us for the workshop rather
than coming for treatment."
The visit saw the company ballerina explain what a day in the
life of a dancer is all about. The dancers then showed the children
the 'barre' work that they do every day, including showcasing
costumes and pointe shoes for everyone to see, followed by an
excerpt from the ballet Coppelia's Grand Pas de Deux. This was
followed by a question and answer session, with the dancers going
round the ward to see children who may not have been able to see
Scott Butterworth, from the English Youth Ballet, said: "The
children find it educational and interesting. They are fascinated
by the costumes that are presented, and even more so when they have
the chance to see a pointe shoe close up. It gives them hopefully a
break from their routine, and you can see in their faces the way
they can be transported to another world when they watch the
dancers performing an extract form one of the big classical
ballets, such as Coppelia."
The dancers found it personally very rewarding from the
eager and often excited reaction of the children, parents and staff
to the workshop. They also enjoyed showing everyone what a day in
the life of a dancer is all about. On the Friday evening of the
performance the company will be raising funds for the ward by
collections at the Cliffs Pavilion.
Scott added: "If we can help the children in Southend Hospital
by raising funds for their ward in the theatre, then why not?
Children in the production love collecting money through our
'bucket' appeal in the theatre, and the appearance of the Neptune
ward staff on stage at the end of the evening only adds to the
excitement. Everyone has a great time and everyone benefits."
Coppelia takes place at The Cliffs Pavilion on Friday 21 -
Saturday 22 August, with a 7.30pm performance on both the Friday
and Saturday evening and a 2.30pm matinee performance on the
Saturday. Call 01702 351135 to book tickets.