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Pantomime magic aims to help Eden Court in Inverness during coronavirus lockdown


By Margaret Chrystall

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Emily Chapman (left) and Claire Darcy.
Emily Chapman (left) and Claire Darcy.

Two dance teachers are hosting an online panto dance class to fundraise for Eden Court.

Claire Darcy and Emily Chapman have been in Eden Court’s panto together for the last five years, Emily as one of the Imagine Theatre ensemble dancers and Claire as the choreographer of the last two.

Miss Darcy has been part of the panto line-up of dancers since she was seven and the theatre is where Miss Chapman performed her first professional job.

The friends are aware of the impact the Covid-19 lockdown is having on Eden Court, which managing director James Mackenzie-Blackman has said is the biggest crisis in its history.

Dance teacher Claire explained: “Eden Court has always been close to our hearts and we wanted to do something to help during this difficult time, so we decided to create a fundraiser.

“Emily and myself will lead people in a fun dance class where they will learn routines dancing to our favourite tracks from the latest pantos.

“We are asking people to donate anything they can on the theatre’s Just Giving page.

“So far the idea has been well-received!”

The 40-minute class at 1pm today will be taught via Zoom which allows the two teachers to interact and see everyonetaking part – and vice versa.

Miss Darcy said: “I teach at Eden Court so I think a lot of my students there and my students at TFX Performing Arts Academy will be joining in.

“Emily – who is down in London just now – will have her students join in and I have friends from Manchester who have dance schools who are looking to take part too.

“There will be all ages – and some of my family.

“And the pantomime cast from last year are also saying they are going to log on and join us, so people will get to see some familiar faces as well.”

Miss Darcy emphasised that the class will be suitable for all ages and abilities.

“There will be four routines taught, two full routines.

“It will be more or less the exact routines we did in the pantos, modified a little bit. The routines we did in the show, people will be able to do at home.”

With 27 or 28 classes a week, Miss Darcy also teaches ballroom and Latin at her weekly Fitsteps class, alongside those for Eden Court and TFX, as well as working for Highland Hospice’s Strictly Inverness. She also has her own YouTube channel and does classes on Facebook.

Though performing for the last five years in Eden Court’s panto, Miss Chapman has been based in London as a freelance teacher since graduating from performing arts college four years ago. As well as teaching full-time at Venue Of Performing Arts dance school, she also teaches at a performing arts academy for adults withdisability called The Cub Disability. And, like her friend, Emily is currently teaching online Monday to Friday.

Link to the event fundraising page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-darcy1

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