News

Second bursary awarded to support emerging dance practitioners from the West Midlands

Mon 21 November 2016

A dance bursary set up by the family of a former mac employee Norma Abbott, announces its 2016 recipient today. Emerging dance practitioner Shafa Khan based in Staffordshire will use his £250 bursary to further develop his dance practice.

Norma Abbott was a Customer Service Assistant at mac for many years and was a keen dancer and a tireless advocate for participation in dance. The bursary has been set up to benefit West Midlands based dancers and choreographers, who will later showcase their work at mac. Norma’s husband Peter is committed to awarding the yearly bursaries for the rest of his life.

Bursary recipient Shafa Khan’s interest in dance began when he took Saturday classes at mac. He is now training in kathak dance under the mentorship of Sonia Sabri (one of the UK’s leading South-Asian dance choreographers and performers and a mac Associate Artist). Shafa will use his bursary to fund studio and rehearsal costs related to the development of a new solo piece of work, as well as funding travel to visit the Dance Library archives at Sadlers Wells, London to develop his production knowledge further. Shafa aims to highlight the beauty and skill of art forms originating from South Asia and the Middle East.

Shafa Khan said: ‘The award will give me a goal and an energy towards developing my solo piece and will encourage me to complete the research phase and produce material which could be presented, critiqued, enabling me to further improve my practice. The financial part of the award will facilitate the practicalities of securing research and development time in the studio, which will be helpful. This will not only allow Sonia Sabri to facilitate my research and ideas but also provide an opportunity for external mentors to assess and analyse my progress.’

One of the inaugural 2015 bursary winners, Katie-Lea Stevenson, has reported on the impact the bursary award has had on her dance practice over the last year: “The Norma Abbot Bursary helped me so much. I was able to buy equipment for a dance project I was working on in South Africa, where I set up a dance programme giving free dance training to children in Townships. I was also able to train in contemporary dance whilst in Africa and Europe as the money helped me pay my fees and travel. From connecting and meeting people I am now in Australia where I have been part of two performance groups. I have also created an organisation called Breath which is an anti-bullying campaign to help stop the number of suicides across the globe using arts.

Peter Abbott added: ‘Norma’s love of dance gave our family the impetus to create the bursary. We hope the bursary winners will go on to pursue their dance careers as a result of the award. It’s great that the memory of Norma will live on in such a creative way and we look forward to seeing how both their careers progress in the future.’

Ends

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The award will give me a goal and an energy towards developing my solo piece and will encourage me to complete the research phase and produce material which could be presented, critiqued, enabling me to further improve my practice. The financial part of the award will facilitate the practicalities of securing research and development time in the studio, which will be helpful. This will not only allow Sonia Sabri to facilitate my research and ideas but also provide an opportunity for external mentors to assess and analyse my progress.’

Shafa Khan - Norma Abbott Bursary Recipient 2016

The Norma Abbot Bursary helped me so much. I was able to buy equipment for a dance project I was working on in South Africa, where I set up a dance programme giving free dance training to children in Townships. I was also able to train in contemporary dance whilst in Africa and Europe as the money helped me pay my fees and travel......'

Katie-Lea Stevenson - Bursar Recipient 2015

Norma’s love of dance gave our family the impetus to create the bursary. We hope the bursary winners will go on to pursue their dance careers as a result of the award. It’s great that the memory of Norma will live on in such a creative way and we look forward to seeing how both their careers progress in the future.’

Peter Abbott