Sophie dances her way to success

Published Wednesday 8 July 2015 at 15:23

Former Blackburn is Open intern has taken the next steps in her career after being chosen to help coordinate a dance show for a major international arts festival.

Sophie Skellern, 23, is currently putting dancers through their paces for a contemporary street dance performance for the Manchester International Festival (MIF15).

The show called FlexN Manchester sees ten dancers from New York together with ten Manchester based performers to create a new dance piece.

The event is driven by a style of dancing called Flexing which began in Brooklyn and has Jamaican influences.

Sophie, a University Centre at Blackburn College graduate, is helping to coordinate the D.R.E.A.M aspect of the production, a one day accompanying event taking place this Saturday, which invites dancers to ‘battle’ each other with an emphasis on creativity, innovation and storytelling.

The former fine art student initially launched her career as an intern at Blackburn is Open where she helped to organise monthly events, set up an alternative life drawing session called Drink and Draw and is currently a project assistant on September’s Festival of Making.

She also recently joined with Blackburn artist Emma Catlow through the scheme to produce a public art commission which now sits on the side of the new Blackburn Sports and Leisure Centre.

Her experiences have helped her decide to now work towards doing a Masters degree in Contemporary Curating and she hopes specialise in working on events such as Triennials and Biennials.

“It all started off a few years ago when I curated a large exhibition involving 22 artists in an empty mill space in Burnley,”

she said.

“That was in the second year of my degree, and since then I have just been really passionate about curating, not within a gallery setting as such, but in these alternative venues that really twist how you interact with art.

“It’s been so great to build up my experience over the last few years, and  work on some bigger and really exciting projects!”

Her role at MIF which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world to the North West has involved everything from running social media campaigns to running to Tesco to buy bags of fruit for the dance rehearsals.

“It’s been an amazing experience, a really exciting project with loads going on. It has been great to work with dancers, something I have done very little of in the past! Working with MIF15 has definitely been one of the best things I have done, and I would love to do more work with them in the future.”

Executive member for Culture, Leisure and Young People, Councillor Damian Talbot said:

“One of the reasons the Council launched Blackburn is Open was to give creative young people in the town career opportunities and to help them develop in the creative industries.

“So it’s great to see that the scheme is helping talented artists and creatives like Sophie to realise their full potential.

“And that their wider experience helps them stage even more interesting and higher quality events and activities in our town.”

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