Powys Dance has been known as one of the leading community dance companies in Wales and has a first-class reputation for its wide- ranging work in county, from inclusive projects co-developed with participants to ambitious high-quality performance work rooted in the principles of creative learning.
Pursuing artistic excellence alongside social relevance, and providing opportunities for a broad range of people from different areas, ages, abilities and social backgrounds to take part in dance activity; the company has committed forty years to enhancing the cultural vibrancy of mid Wales, working in partnership with local artists, organisations, agencies and individuals to inspire and connect the local and wider community and to promote health, wellbeing, learning and creativity.
Chair Jennifer Owen Adams said:
“Since we transformed from a local authority department and into an independent charity three years ago we have been working hard to redefine our future.
We wanted to embody our revived vision to open the world of dancing up to its fullest extent and felt that rebranding would be a very powerful way to communicate our aspirations.
We want to champion and develop talent while also nurturing dance for dance’s sake as well as a tool for wellbeing, social inclusion and positive change.
The process of renaming Powys Dance has exercised the creativity at the core of the organisation. It has compelled us to look at what is working, what is not and what we want to do to change the landscape of dance and the arts in Wales and beyond”.
Impelo is a charitable organisation based in Llandrindod Wells that seeks to share the transformational power of dance as far and wide as possible, connecting people of all ages and walks of life in joyful expression. The company delivers an array of dance classes for children, young people, adults, older adults and people with disabilities at our Dance Centre home, which also hosts a wide selection of other arts and fitness activity including Pilates, yoga, ballet and a singing group.
Impelo offers one-off dance workshops throughout the year including family dance events and training opportunities for professional dance artists and practitioners, as well as hosting visiting dance and theatre productions at its Dance Centre home.
Impelo is derived from the Latin Impello , meaning to urge on, drive forward, but altered to encourage Welsh pronunciation. Director Amanda Griffkin says:
“One of the biggest but most important challenges was to ensure that the new name reflected our desire for the Welsh language to be integral to our organisation. Using Latin as our base allowed us to imply meaning in both languages. This is a new word that captures our approach.
“We are excited about what the future will bring for Impelo as we explore the brand further and create a unique and enterprising organisation that has its community, participants, stakeholders, practitioners and future supporters at its heart.”
Under Griffkin’s steerage, the company has shown itself to have big ambitions. In the last three years alone, almost 50,000 people have engaged with the company’s activities, including 12 and a half thousand schoolchildren through workshops in over 30 schools across Powys.
2016 saw them devising a promenade performance inspired by the work of Roald Dahl in his centenary year and presenting professional dance companies, such as Phoenix Dance Theatre, rarely seen outside of cities in the heart of mid Wales to eager and appreciative audiences.
2017 and 2018 saw the company take its own professional work on tour. Flying Atoms, an aerial piece rooted in the Key Stage 2 science curriculum, toured first to schools across Powys, then to Science Festivals across the UK and finally onto the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a tour of theatres in Wales. Over 4000 people saw one of 50 performances and more than 1100 young people took part in workshops accompanying the show.
2019 sees more than just a new name for the company.
In an exciting development, Impelo have secured funding from Arts Council of Wales to create another professional dance work for young people and their families, this time in partnership with a wealth of talented people from across the science and arts communities - Imperial College London, Coney, MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, University of Oxford, Dr Anna Fenemore, Abingdon Science Partnership and access consultant Jonny Cotsen
CELL is inspired by life in the lab, the movement of cells and folding of DNA; a playful, exploration of microbiology for families.
The production features an inflatable set which comes alive with movement to make audiences marvel at the body’s power, quirks and hidden landscapes and to allow young people to discover the life-giving world inside their bodies; a universe smaller than a grain of sand.
Griffkin expands on this:
“Our last show Flying Atoms looked out to the universe explaining that there are more stars than all the grains of sand on all the beaches in all the world. CELL looks within and toward the microscopic with a starting point that one grain of sand is the size of 5,000 human cells. We will capture imaginations, physicalise scientific concepts and allow mindful reflection on the body as a complex network of cells that makes both growth and illness possible”.
Whilst records going back for the full forty years are scarce, the company estimates that they must have touched the lives of over 100,000 people in that time, no mean feat in such a rural area. Griffkin says:
“From our home in mid Wales, we’ve been part of the fabric of life for forty years. We’ve shared the transformational power of dance far and wide, connecting people of all ages and walks of life in joyful expression. Today, our vision is to connect and inspire even more communities and organisations through the joy of dance by empowering curiosity, ambition and lifelong learning”.
With such high ambitions and such a committed team in place, the next forty years for Impelo look very bright indeed.