Finally onto the reason why I am here, living in Cambodia, above a rather neat shop, in a river side town.
The name may ring a bell to those of you with any partaking in the inclusive dance scene.
Epic Arts are a UK run NGO. They have an amazing purpose built centre, with 2 dance studios, an art studio, a very soon-to-be recording studio, a specialist unit for primary aged participants, a garden and of course the offices. In total there are over 40 staff, both Khmer and Westerners.
The view isn’t too bad either!
EPIC stands for Every Person Counts. Epic believes in;
-INCREASING ACCESS to performance and exhibition opportunities
-EVERY PERSON COUNTS We believe in a world where people with disabilities are valued, accepted and respected
-ENCOURAGING ACCEPTANCE AND INCLUSION through collaborative exploration of the arts
-BRINGING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGE by dispelling preconception
-ENCOURAGING SELF-EXPRESSION AND BUILDING SELF CONFIDENCE through developing creative potential and building new skills.
Having only been here a week or so, I can already see and feel the impact this wonderful organisation is doing.
Their performance company, Epic Encounters, have just done a UK tour, frequently tour Cambodia and have a few other international plans up their sleeve for the coming months. I will be working with these guys daily, encouraging, facilitating and choreographing. I cannot wait to get started! They have amazing skill and strength, and are very much so solidified in working together as a professional dance company as part of Epic. They often do dance theatre educational pieces, as well as music videos with some of the other recent graduates from Epic. Check them out here
Epic Arts also run an Inclusive Arts Course for students aged 18 and up. I will be leading the dance module of this. There is also a Special Education Project running at the centre, offering creative and educational programmes to children and young people.
I still cannot actually believe I got the job here! And I am so excited for the opportunities that it is arising. Everybody here is so lovely, and so passionate about enabling Epic Arts to continue. They have a cafe and a shop, which profits help Epic Arts (alongside funding), as well as providing training and employment opportunities for local people (I may do a separate post on these awesome places). But really, the place is run by people passionate about the arts, inclusivity and excited to keep on continuing on to the success of the organisation.
One of the senior management team, Laura Evans has a blog all about Epic Arts and it’s values so have a wee look if you’re interested http://everypersoncounts.blogspot.com/
And get liking them on facebook https://www.facebook.com/everypersoncounts
Everything that I am seeing that Epic are doing out here is really so inspirational.
This new job is going to challenge me so much (I’ve never choreographed on an internationally touring professional dance company before or led a course module on dance!) but I am so excited.
In the words of Jack Petchey (sponsor of my old employers Step into Dance), ‘if you think you can, you can’, and I can’t wait to see what we’re going to get up to next over here.