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Making moves to keep dance in the spotlight with virtual dance show and competition

12 March 2021  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in: ,

Keen to keep dance firmly in the spotlight at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, and to mark National Dance Week, five enthusiastic and passionate Year 13 dancers are organising ‘Moving Forward’, a virtual dance show and competition, which will be released on Friday 23rd April. The students chose ‘Moving Forward’ to celebrate how well all students have coped during the Covid pandemic and to reassure everyone that they will move forward together in a positive way through dance. The event aims to help students overcome any difficulties as well as promoting creativity, excellence, resilience and teamwork, four of the values that the school prides itself on.

Each student has a dedicated role in the project management of the show. Kassandra Jeffels, is the project coordinator, Charlotte Harrison is the director and costume designer, Abbey Charles is the videographer, Usha Rai is the choreographer and Grace Stones is the marketing coordinator.

Kassandra, project coordinator, said: “Moving Forward is an inclusive event that is open to students from Year 7 through to 12. We hope everyone involved will not only enjoy themselves but realise the importance of media such as dance, as it offers students a platform to showcase their abilities with this being an event of hope for those who have struggled during the pandemic.”

“In addition to being guided by their teachers and classmates, students are part of a google classroom where they can call on tips from other participants, including the project team, about anything from costumes to choreography. Our vision is for students to have fun but also to use this as an opportunity to learn from other dancers in their year. We suggest they pretend they are performing to an audience to showcase their talent, as well as learn from this experience, accept any constructive criticism and apply this to future performances.

Mrs O’Malley, Dance Teacher, said: “I was thrilled to hear that the Year 13s were keen to lead the project of a virtual dance show that would demonstrate their passion for Dance and to be able to celebrate ‘Moving Forward’. The students, who are all studying CTEC Performing Arts, have planned and prepared everything themselves and communicated clearly with all those involved. They have blown me away with their dedication, commitment and professionalism throughout the process.

“This will be their ‘Swansong’ before leaving our Sixth Form College and they have gone above and beyond to make this happen throughout lockdown. This will no doubt ignite a spark with our younger students to get involved and I very much look forward to the finished outcome to celebrate the talent we have at Richmond School and Sixth Form College.”

Students will select their own style, costume and music for their one-minute performance. The routines will be filmed in the main hall, and the judges will take age into consideration selecting three winning performances from each year group for best choreography, most professional performance and best costume.

To add a grand finale feel and buzz to the competition, Usha will choreograph a set dance for all students to learn and perform. This will be filmed by year group, to ensure safety and social distancing, and then the performances will be blended together to create the final piece.

Kassandra added: “I think this is an amazing opportunity which shows how passionate many of the students are about dance. It’s also really refreshing for performers, such as myself, who struggled with the lack of practical learning and dance lessons outside of school. It will be a new experience for those who haven’t participated in shows before and will help all our students to feel a sense of belonging and being part of a bigger community of like-minded individuals.”

We were delighted to talk to the Moving Forward project team about their passion for dance and their plans for the future.

What are your favourite dance genres?

“My favourite dance styles are contemporary or lyrical as I have always loved them from a young age and see them as a form of expression.” Charlotte

“My favourite dance genres are ballet and hip hop. I’ve done ballet since I was seven years old and that’s how I started to fall in love with dance, however hip hop has become a new interest during lockdown. It challenges me to become a more versatile performer and I love the way it makes me feel. I do still want to progress in ballet though and I aim to be back on pointe by the end of the year.” Kassandra.

“I don’t really have a favourite dance genre because they’re all so different and that’s what is so captivating about dance. I like to dance to pop commercial because it is fun, however I like to watch every dance genre.” Usha

“My favourite style of dance is modern as I feel it combines aspects of all dance styles and influences from social dances to allow creativity.” Grace

“Either contemporary or commercial. I enjoy the freedom of dance and the message it can communicate. Abbey

Are any of you planning to pursue your studies in performing arts?

“I am planning to study dance and psychology at Middlesex or Liverpool and have unconditional offers for both universities, with Middlesex being my firm choice and Liverpool my insurance.

“I have wanted to go to Middlesex for a while now, the Dance course is perfect in helping me to appreciate dance in a practical and theoretical sense and allows me to gain wider knowledge of the science behind dance. This will also help me to get into hopefully doing my masters in dance movement physiotherapy and pursue my career in that. London is also full of places to gain experience and opportunities to enable me to achieve further knowledge into the dance industry.” Charlotte

“I have received a conditional offer to study Musical Theatre from Lincoln University, my top university choice and Liverpool Hope, and I am waiting to hear back from The Hammond in Chester, following my second audition.

“I have always loved the stage and musical theatre enables me to partake in all of the art forms instead of choosing one. Many of my favourite actors came from the West End and I find the stories behind musicals very inspiring. It’s an escape from reality that can also help to educate us and keep us reaching for the stars throughout our whole lives. Musical theatre is my passion and through it I hope to be able to inspire someone or be responsible for helping someone through a hard time. Life is precious and musical theatre offers something very precious, in my opinion.” Kassandra

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