Anthony stretching image

National Dance Company Wales open the door to new opportunities in dance for people across Wales

As National Dance Company Wales embark on its autumn tour across Wales it invites everyone across Wales to enjoy new experiences in dance by taking part in the variety of participation events that are programmed alongside the main performance, and has inspired many young Welsh people to explore careers in contemporary dance across the years.  

Alongside its Roots tour, NDCWales will deliver a series of unique workshops called Days of Dance curated in partnership with arts venues across the tour, to ensure that each one is customised for its local community. The inspiring, interactive sessions provide opportunity for everyone to enter the world of contemporary dance. Each Day of Dance is different at each venue across the tour, but each gives people the chance to experience contemporary dance for the first time, understand the context of dance, learn what life as a professional dancer is like, and even learn moments from the performance. Day of Dance events will be taking place throughout November and December in Mold, Blackwood, Ystradgynlais, Narbeth, Aberdyfi, Caernarfon and Pwllheli.

“A whole new set of possibilities for my life opened up when I first saw contemporary dance, so I hope that NDCWales can inspire others by performing for them and by inviting them to experience dance themselves”, says NDCWales’ Artistic Director Fearghus Ó Conchúir

One of these stories can be seen through the career of Wales’ talented dancer and choreographer Anthony Matsena, who’s work features in this year’s Roots tour.

Growing up in Swansea from the age of 13 Anthony and his brothers were encouraged by the Forest Fach community to explore their love of hip hop and street dance through local groups. Soon after, Anthony attended a workshop at NDCWales, his first introduction to contemporary dance.

“The workshop at Dance House was an incredible experience,” he said. “A short while later I saw NDCWales professionally and it was of the key ‘shaping experiences’ of my career. I knew then that I wanted to transition to contemporary dance.”

On his first day at the London Contemporary Dance School, he was asked to share his goal. “I told them my dream was to one day be a company dancer for NDCWales. Three years later, I am delighted to not only dancing with the company, but creating dance for them.”

Codi, a brand-new piece choreographed by Anthony Matsena is one of four short dynamic dance performances that forms Roots; a collection of NDCWales’ favourite pieces that each tell a unique story through dance; exploring themes of Welsh life and culture.

“Codi explores how together, we can rise up through difficult times.” Anthony explains. “I was inspired by the strength of community seen in Wales’ mining towns in the face of closures and adversity. I wrote Codi to present the notion that if we dance together as people, helping one another, we can lift each other up, and rise much faster and higher with others around.”

Each Roots dance piece is introduced beforehand to help everyone find their own meanings within the stories and is followed by a Q&A session to share behind the scenes secrets of the choreographers and dancers. Also programmed is Rygbi: Annwyl  / Dear by NDCWales Artistic Director Fearghus Ó Conchúir which celebrates rugby in Wales and highlights the hopes, glory and passion of rallying together on and off the pitch. It was created with input from rugby fans and players across Wales so that the dance truly echoes the sport and toured to Japan supporting Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad.