At this time of year, it’s good to look back at what Rubicon has achieved in 2020.  It’s been a year like no other, with no section of society unaffected by a global pandemic, but through it all we’ve managed to keep dancing.

Thanks to our friends at the National Museum of Wales, in January we had the best time ever performing our take on favourite children’s story Funny Bones with Dippy the dinosaur at their Night at the Museum sleepover events. Take a look here.

February saw our annual Schools’ Dance Festival, which celebrates the amazing talent and huge potential of young people in Wales. This flagship event is all about young people inspiring each other and every year the standard gets higher and higher.  This year more than 50 schools and 1300 pupils from across the region took to the stage at the St David’s Hall performing to sell-out audiences every night!  What an experience. To find out more about Rubicon’s work in schools click here.

With our Capital Fundraising Campaign to restore public access to Roath Library in full swing, community members helped out by donating books to our Book Sale in March. Get involved and help us create a dance that changes lives by contributing to our appeal. You can find out more and make a donation here.

In April we began to plot and plan for a new Digital Dance Programme that provides regular weekly dance activities online.  We started with one daily yoga session in April and built up from there.  We now provide more than 45 weekly public access online dance activities for people from all walks of life, with more being added all the time.  Dancing online is a great way to stay active, be creative and connect with friends. To find out more email [email protected] or visit our website here.

Rubicon supports the community dance sector in Wales through the Wales Wide Training Programme which is an Arts Council of Wales Lottery-funded programme.  Supporting the sector is always vitally important but this year even more so.  Since May we’ve delivered an unbelievable 93 events and supported 265 dance practitioners and 18 partner organisations across Wales.  One freelance dance artist told us “I have never felt so connected with others working in dance across Wales as I have through the Wales Wide Training Programme”. If you want to know more click here.

In June, we created a new partnership with Menter Caerdydd and began Dawns gyda Rubicon! delivering online dance activities for young people through the medium of Welsh.  We were also invited to take part in the 2020 edition of the Tafwyl Festival – Tafwyl Digidol. You can see what we got up to here.

In July we launched a different way to engage in dance with Rubicon Reviews which brings audiences and artists together to talk about all things dance and choreography.  Our first Rubicon Reviews event featured Marcus Jarrell Willis talking about the amazing Colloquy which Marcus created for Rubicon’s 2019 tour with our friends Only Boys Aloud.  Colloquy is witty, poignant, and draws on the slight misunderstandings in language Marcus experienced as an African American when he first moved to Wales.  Wherever we dance Colloquy it is loved by audiences and it was wonderful to get an insight into Marcus’ creative process and even talk to some of the original cast. Keep in touch with everything we are up to by signing up for our newsletter here.

August saw the culmination of a co-creation project made with freelance artist Eleanor Brown and dancers drawn from Rubicon’s community including our youth dance programme, BTEC and GCSE learners, elderly and disabled dancers.  The film we produced with Eleanor enabled us to once again create a dance together.  It captures our collective experience of lockdown and shows that dance can connect people even in the hardest of times. You can take a look here.

In September it was wonderful to welcome our learners back into our studios and we are thrilled that this year even more young people than ever successfully auditioned.  With 45 learners studying GCSE Dance or our unique pre-vocational BTEC in Performing Arts (Dance Pathway), the first term has flown by and the students have risen to all the challenges of studying dance in a socially distanced way. To find out more about studying dance at Rubicon and book on to one of our Open Days click here.

Beginning with a six week pilot at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales, Rubicon has developed a long standing partnership with Cardiff & Vale University Health Board and we now provide regular dance activities for patients in all kinds of clinical settings and even online.  In October we were therefore thrilled that our partnership was recognised at the Arts & Business Cymru Awards which won the Arts in Health category.   We are really proud of this work and to find out more click here.

There are so many different career options for people who study dance and at Rubicon we really want to encourage young people from all kinds of backgrounds to think about careers in the creative industries.  To help get the word out in November we took part in Creative & Cultural Skills’ Creative Careers week and made a film that looks at the path one of our dance leaders, Rhian, took to working in the sector.  Rhian asked some of the young people who dance at Rubicon what they would like to find out about job opportunities in the creative and cultural sector and incorporated them into the film.  Watch Rhian’s film here.

Rounding off the year December has been busy and all about celebrating creativity in later life.  Our friends at Music in Hospitals and Care provided live music for some of our active elderly and care home dance sessions, our over 50’s groups took part in a fundraising Salsathon and we also held an online dance day as part of Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival.  If you want to find out just what an impact dance makes on the quality of life of older people, read stroke survivor Alan’s story here.