cheek2cheek gladstone 1    cheek2cheek gladstone 2    cheek2cheek gladstone 3    Cheek2Cheek4


Cheek2Cheek is an inter generational dance project
that brings together senior citizens and those with a disability.
Crossroad Arts are working with several different communities throughout Qld and from overseas
to celebrate dance and people's place in this world.
What also strengthens the project is the photography skill based workshops where elderly residents  learn portrait photography.
"We are thrilled to be able to bring together such an amazing and diverse cross section of people.
In Mackay, Crossroad Arts are working with Wheelchair dancers, Homefield Agedcare, Bluecare, Endeavour and Excelcare.
"The dancing styles range from chair dancing, Bollywood Hip, line dancing, Irish dancing,rap and Samba to more traditional dances like the pride of erin and folk dances . One of the other exciting developments to emerge in this project is film dance where we create short films of the dances and screen them on walls and building sites throughout the region.
Cheek2Cheek is also taking place in Gladstone and Sarina.
"We have brought together some of the best community dance artists to help ignite people's passion to get out on the dance floor and celebrate life. In June, two post graduate community artist from Israel and Germany will fly out from Europe to join the team for a 5 week internship with the company."
It's a busy time for this small professional arts company whose heart remains in regional qld but whose aspirations are global.
The team has just returned from a successful theatre dance and visual arts tour of Japan and are on the road in May  to Longreach and Mt Isa to plan the 2nd stage of the cheek2cheek project  thanks to a project development grant from the Australia Council.





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Cheek2Cheek Gladstone June 2015 Page 2                                Kyla Hazel  Hazel Kyla Dance                 



Day 2

We are now into a steady morning routine of gentle exercises, tai chi and chair dancing to Irish fiddle and whistle tunes. They love it!  We love it!! Today we ventured into Pina Bausch territory with a ritualistic movement piece around the theme of the 4 seasons. We discovered it from the opening piece of Wim Wender’s film ‘Pina’.

The movements are simple and powerful.  For me the theme has echoes of Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man.  I watch Kyla lead the dance in front of seniors who are entering their Winter years.  Kyla begins the exercise by reciting the opening lines in Afrikaans.  

 “Spring when the seeds are planted. Summer when the grass grows tall, sun shining. Autumn when the leaves fall to the ground. Winter, as cold as ice.”


Set to the tune of West End Blues by Louis Armstrong and his band, the residents pick up the movements relatively easily.  The 4/4 count gets a bit tricky when we move between grass growing to sun shining.  But everyone loves the winter gesture of clenching the fists and bringing them up towards the chest as the whole body shivers.  It’s April and everyone is aware that winter is around the corner.



Day 4

Today the roles are reversed. Hazel talks proudly about dancing the Pride of Erin with her husband in Toowoomba.   I ask Hazel if she can show Kyla and I how to dance it.  At first Hazel is reluctant . She is nearly ninety and blind. But her mind is sharp. We urge her on and the other residents join in the coaching session.

It becomes one of those wonderful moments when participants in a community arts project begin to take an ownership of the project.   Kyla and I have moved from being facilitators to students of ballroom dancing to co-creators.


 Bluecare 1      RSL Care     Bluecare 2     irishdance1      


My name is Michal Paker, and I am an MA Applied Theatre student at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London. During the past five weeks I have worked in Mackay, Queensland with Crossroad Arts on their 'Cheek2Cheeck' project, as part of a placement that was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, UK.

The project involved two communities that are not often in dialogue with one another – older people and younger people with disabilities. These communities encounter discrimination in Australia. Even though laws are in place to ensure their equality and to protect their rights.

I believe that the project has helped to tackle these issues by providing a space for these communities to participate in creating art and dialogue. In addition, it  established links between participants and care providers in different rural areas, which is particularly important in Australia, as its size can cause people in these places to feel extremely isolated. The project  also raised the broader community’s awareness of these issues as it involved an exhibition and a performance that were open to the public. .

For me, co-facilitating and assisting on this project has been and enriching challenge. I did not have much experience working with these communities, and found the approach used by Crossroad Arts to be very effective. The placement has been an invaluable experience and has exceeded my expectations.