Celebrating Belfast Movement Choir

Maiden Voyage Dance is celebrating the conclusion of the first phase of Belfast Movement Choir.

Re-Emergence, screened at the Strand Arts Centre on Thursday 23 June was the culmination of over two years of work by 100 participants from the Belfast Movement Choir, which brought five groups of women and girls from across the city together through dance, in one communal, celebratory, cultural activity.

Maiden Voyage are currently seeking funding to continue and consolidate Belfast Movement Choir to further boost the physical and mental wellbeing of the women and girls in our city.

Sandy Cuthbert, coordinator of the Belfast Movement Choir, explains the project as we came out of lockdown and back to live workshops:

“From the very first session, the theme of re-emergence had a visceral connection with the five groups of intergenerational women who make up the Belfast Movement Choir. Personal stories started this journey as we developed individual, partner and small group explorations into choreography and then into an overall structure, ensuring there was scope for a full group experience – the unity and power of moving as one movement choir.”

Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the benefits for participants taking part in the Belfast Movement Choir include building mental and physical agility, increasing movement memory and alertness, working in collaboration and developing creativity, self-confidence, self-esteem and overall wellbeing.

Finn O’Gorman took part in the first year of the Belfast Movement Choir and found that it opened up lots of new possibilities for her:

“At an age where my movements were becoming restricted and the future seemed defined by limitation, Belfast Movement Choir introduced me to a world I hadn’t ever imagined.

Here was an arena where motion was redefined and expanded. Any and all parts of the body could be enlivened by expression; parts previously abandoned were brought back into the fold.

I developed a new relationship, a new conversation with my own body which is informing every aspect of my life, this new life – no longer defined by limitations, but by potential and possibility.” 

Susan Warner, a former Royal Navy nurse who sustained full body fractures in Afghanistan, found her experience of the Belfast Movement Choir to be extremely helpful in her recovery process:

Mending bones is the beginning, but soft tissues, and mental and emotional scars, take longer to heal.  The Belfast Movement Choir shines the light on the broken places and the light helps to re-emerge and blossom again.  Movement to music is very healing and touches deep into the soul.  Meeting the ladies of the choir and joining in movement with them, the beauty of the movements, their grace and elegance, was deeply healing, restoring concentration and attention.

For more information on Belfast Movement Choir contact Sandy@maidenvoyagedance.com

Belfast Movement Choir is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Maiden Voyage is principally funded by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Supported by Belfast City Council.