A moving short film telling real-life lockdown stories of people in Coventry is being released on Friday (Jan 29).

Coventry City of Culture Trust commissioned Ascension Dance to produce the film to capture how individuals have faced up to the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic and share some of their memories of being in lockdown.

The film – ‘In Touch’ – features a mix of people telling their stories in their own words interspersed with footage of dancers from Ascension Dance interpreting those stories into dance and movement.

The title was inspired by how people have found different ways to stay in touch with friends and family, despite physical contact being virtually impossible during the lockdowns that have been enforced during the pandemic.

Ashley Jordan, of Ascension Dance, said: “Originally, it was conceived as a sort of time capsule – a way of reflecting on the weeks we’d spent in lockdown once we were back to something like normal. But as things have turned out, I think perhaps it’s even more poignant to be sharing something hopeful now that we’re into our third lockdown.”

The video was created by gathering stories of connection from people in Coventry, some of which were written, and some in video form. As lockdown continued people became less and less comfortable with talking about how they were feeling about the situation, so Ashley and his team had to find creative ways of working.

Ashley added: “If I’m honest, there have been times when it has been a struggle to bring it all together, but it’s also been a real labour of love, and I hope that what we’ve created helps to spread a bit of light in these difficult times.”

The film ends with the words of 100-year-old Coventry resident Kay Ward who says, ‘you have to be brave sometimes’.

Ashley added: “We were especially moved by Kay’s words which we’ve highlighted at the end of the video – she had such bravery and spoke so beautifully about how we can all learn from other people and help each other through this.”

Joshua Patel, who shares his story in the video said: “I think what Ascension Dance have been doing throughout the lockdown has been great, and so when I saw In Touch I wanted to get involved to support them and their message. It was a nice moment of reflection to record my message, and although lockdown was hard, everyone found ways to keep connected and have fun during a difficult time, which was beautiful.”

Stephanie Bentley, one of the dancers in the video, said: “When Ashley first sent me the lockdown stories that Ascension Dance had been collecting, I instantly felt very moved and connected to the people who had shared their challenges and memories. I have been lucky enough to work with Ascension Dance in the past and I jumped at the chance to work with them again.

“The creation of In Touch was a special week for me. The pandemic has been a challenging and uncertain time for all. Being part of In Touch was the perfect opportunity to stay connected, keep moving, creating and dreaming.”

Chenine Bhathena, of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are very proud to have supported In Touch, created by Ascension Dance, a local company who have been making waves across the UK in recent years, for their powerful combination of physicality and storytelling.

“This is a very poignant and moving piece of work from Ascension Dance and really captures both the challenges we have all faced during lockdown, and how our human spirit has kept us resilient enabling us to come together in many different ways to keep that human connection.

“It highlights just how much we have all had to give up over the past year to help get us through these very challenging times.

“We hope this film will help inspire people to continue to follow the current Government guidance, with the hope that we will be able to be back in touch in person very soon.”

The film, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/Exh8agYK71s will be available from midday on Friday, January 29.

The dancers in the film are: Stephanie Bentley, Lexy Garner, Ashley Jordan, Ben Morley and
Hannah Northern,

Testimonies come from: Nick Cherryman, Jane Cooke, Margaret Cuttler, Margaret Jordan, Melissa Jordan, Rawle Jordan, Josh Leach, Lou Lomas, Roshni Mak, Laura Marterere, Miriam O’Brien, Joshua Patel, Alex Plastow, Stevie Poole, Charlotte Roberts, Emily Robertson, Jamie Sergeant and Kay Ward.

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