Award winning choreographer receives council funding towards locally inspired dance project

Sophie Duncan
Sophie Duncan

An award-winning choreographer is rejoicing after receiving council support in her quest to produce a local dance film.

Sophie Duncan, aged 27, from Saltergate, Chesterfield, was awarded £1505 to produce the film, which will include young local artists.

Seven councillors from across Derbyshire, including Ron Mihaly and Dave Allen, equally pledged £215.

Ms Duncan, who has worked internationally with world renowned Cirque du Soleil and Franco Dragone, said: “I am thankful to everyone for offering their support for this project.

“If all goes to plan, this will be the first of many similar projects within Chesterfield that will feature and promote local talent.

“I am confident that the project will be a success and a fresh, independent film for the young adults of Chesterfield. I just can’t wait to get started.”

The short dance film – which will be shot in several locations around the town, including the Chesterfield Canal and Barrow Hill Roundhouse - will highlight Chesterfield’s industrial past through a combination of circus, dance and original music.

Local singer/songwriter Adam McCulloch, Ryan Fletcher (bassist from international band Lawson) and film and music producer Nick Allott, are collaborators in the film.

“I am excited to be working alongside such a talented group who will lend their individual expertise.

“We have known each other since our school days and are good friends who all have creative minds. We plan to found an artist collective from this film, encouraging other artists to collaborate developing original and exciting new work.”

The performance will also feature two of the UK’s best pole dance artists – Lorna Walker and Lisa Hammond – who have both won national awards in their field.

Volunteers from the Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir and 16 young dancers mainly from Directions Theatre Arts are also joining the team.

Preparatory work has already begun on the project with final filming due to take place on the Chesterfield Canal and Barrow Hill Roundhouse during the May half term.

The first public official screening of the film is due to take place at the Tapton Lock Festival in September but will be released online prior.

Sophie said: “The long term aims are to create an artist’s hub in the area and to use this as a kick start to build a very large scale promenade event through the town so hopefully this first film will act as proof that we can produce high level, skilled artwork.”

A pupil at Brookfield Community School, Sophie went on to train professionally at the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School. She now performs and works worldwide as a dancer, circus artists and choreographer.

Currently she lives and works in Macau, China as Dance Captain for MGM, but comes back home whenever she gets the opportunity to embark on projects like this one.

To learn more about the project, Sophie or her collaborators, visit soduncan.com , Facebook: @soduncandance or Instagram: @soduncan