Dance students from Stratford-upon-Avon College have made it through to the final performance of a newly-launched national dance choreography challenge. ‘Rambert Elements’, introduced this academic year by the world-renowned Rambert dance company, is a challenge designed to raise the profile of choreography in secondary schools and colleges across the UK.
Six regional performances took place earlier this year, with one group from each being invited to perform at the national finals. Having been chosen winners of the Midlands heat at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham on 29 February, the Stratford students will now compete in the 2016 National Showcase in London on Tuesday 28 June, where they will be accompanied by the Rambert Orchestra.
Level 3 Dance student Hannah Medley, 16 from Coventry, commented: “I literally screamed when I found out we were through to the final. It’s one of my dreams to perform in the West End and now it’s going to happen. It’s overwhelming – a once in a lifetime opportunity. The other groups were really good but I was so pleased with our choreography. We obviously had what Rambert were looking for!”
The aim of ‘Rambert Elements’ is to give students the chance to create and perform an original dance piece with help from Rambert’s leading choreographers, who produced ‘toolkits’ for the participating groups. Each toolkit contained ideas including a theme – complete with title and suggested sources of inspiration – a piece of music, sequences of movement demonstrated by Rambert dancers and some helpful tips from the Rambert choreographer.
Further guidance was provided at a skills weekend, held last October at Rambert’s South Bank studios, which was attended by dance teachers from the participating schools and colleges and included master classes with the choreographers who created the toolkits.
Level 3 Dance student Taylor Leigh, 18 from Coventry, said “I was flabbergasted when I found out we had made it to the final. It’s really nice to be recognised. I’m still gobsmacked! I didn’t think it would happen – I guess hard work really does pay off. We’re going to push ourselves beyond our limits and we’ll strive to achieve the best we can. It’s time to practice hard and we’re only going to get better.”
Kath Waters, Dance lecturer at Stratford-upon-Avon College, is extremely proud of her group of young dancers: “I’m delighted for them – they have worked incredibly hard and thoroughly deserve their place in the final. From the start they demonstrated a very high level of creativity and ability, which was clearly recognised in the judging panel’s decision. We are all now concentrating on ensuring another winning performance in London!”
Commenting on their selection of the Stratford students for the showcase final, Hannah Lockyer, Rambert Elements coordinator, said: “We were very impressed by the excellent musicality and dynamic quality the dancers embodied within their performance. They performed a very well structured and intelligent piece of choreography and it was very evident that the dancers had taken the time to fully engage with the themes explored in the toolkit.”
We wish the students the very best of luck at the final performance in June.
For more information on any of Stratford-upon-Avon College’s courses, please visit www.stratford.ac.uk or call the College on 01789 266245.