Ospreys take to the stage

The Ospreys linked up with the National Dance Company Wales as part of their Rygbi project.

On Friday afternoon, Osprey players Will Jones, Phil Jones and Ospreys in the Community schools and club officer, Joe Gage joined forces with the National Dance Company Wales for a special training session.

Livestreamed on the BBC, the Ospreys took to the stage with dancers from Taliesin Swansea for a 30-minute rehearsal as part of the BBC’s #DancePassion event. The event consisted of 11 hours of performances from hubs all across the UK, showcasing performances and rehearsals in the world of dance.

Viewers were treated to a behind the scenes look at the company’s new production, Rygbi – Annwyl i Mi/ Dear to me. Connecting dance and our nation’s passion for rugby, NDCWales’ Artistic Director, Fearghus Ó Conchúir, explores how Welsh bodies are made from the rugby field to the stage. The project celebrates the number of people it takes to make an effective team, highlighting the hopes, dreams, glory and the passion of rallying together both on and off the pitch.

After joining in with the dancers, Ospreys player Phil Jones said: “It was an awesome experience for myself and the boys to get involved in. It was a really interesting and insightful experience to speak to the dancers and learn about some of their experiences and training.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Jamie Rees, Head of Marketing and Communications at Ospreys Rugby said: "Rugby and dance have historically enjoyed a very strong association. Rugby’s World Champions, the All Blacks, open every one of their games with the Haka war dance which throws down a challenge to the opposition in a very theatrical way. Even here at the Ospreys players like the great Shane Williams have literally danced and choreographed their way around the opposition to score some sensational tries - who can forget Shane side-stepping and dancing around the Argentinians to score a sensational try for Wales in 2004? We’re delighted to be working with National Dance Company Wales to help explore this unique link between dance and rugby for their production of Rygbi – Annwyl i Mi / Dear to Me."

Rygbi will premiere at the National Eisteddfod of Wales this August, the piece will be performed indoors on stages large and small, as well as outdoors at festivals over the next 12 months. NDCWales will be working with rugby communities across Wales to develop ideas for the piece including Ospreys Rugby as part of #DancePassion.