On December 10, the Dance Society hosted their ‘Christmas Showcase’, which fulfilled its promise of an exciting night as the society’s talent was showcased on stage, alongside the Ballet Society and Dance Sport.
The selection process was non-audition, which worked to enhance the confidence of those who have never performed or who are not regular performers, appearing to dissolve any barriers usually found between different levels of dancers in competitive teams.
Having said this, the overall level of performance was extraordinarily high as the ambition of choreographers oozed into their dancers.
With the traditional Central Hall venue unavailable, Performance Coordinator Heidi Jempeji managed to secure the Lounge Bar, which had been transformed into a low lit winter wonderland.
For the first time ever, the show was a total sell out, with 200 tickets bought online and effective negotiation resulting in an increased capacity of 50 more guests, who had queued outside in hope of a ticket.
The show, managed by UYDS Chair Laura Summers, kicked off with a dazzling jazz interpretation of Moulin Rouge, which began with a few dancers delicately demonstrating their immense flexibility and centre of gravity.
All dancers then, in full swing, joined the spectacular contrast of bursting energy. The stage lighting enhanced the dramatic effect of the choreography and its impressive synchronisation with the music worked wonders.
Subject to rehearsals and circuit training for this routine as early as 8am, learning the dance was no walk in the park; but, as choreographer and Vice Chair Katia Di Girolamo states: “Pain pays off”.
The inspiring routine, also choreographed by Hannah Voss, was placed second two weeks earlier in Durham’s inter-varsity competition, Durham Dance Fusion.
Next came an array of music offered by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Michael Buble, Mumford and Sons and Billy Stewart (not forgetting the Lion King too), to which all styles of dance were performed, including contemporary, tap, and ballet.
Last, but most certainly not least, eleven toy soldiers first anchored their feet on stage, before dropping their upper torso in a doll-like fashion.
This effect was loyally maintained throughout the street performance which incorporated other styles such as ‘tutting’, derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics.
By the use of staggered, mirror-image choreography, the soldiers were bought to life and snapped into a robust routine.
The strength and energy channelled by the dancers, a vigorous attempt to achieve sharpness, was compelling yet entirely rewarding as dancers succeeded with faultless precision.
Assuming the roar from the crowd reflected their impression of the dance, the routine was pure genius.
It is no wonder that this routine, choregraphed by Chantelle Nyarko, Saki Kunimoto and Ray Wayde, won first place at Durham.
Something quite striking about this group of dancers is their sheer solidarity. There really was a sense that what they do, they do together, and they do it with one hundred per cent effort and commitment.
For those with the opinion of dance as merely a leisurely activity, I would challenge that these dancers not only showcased their enjoyment of dancing within the society, but also their devotion to dance as a discipline.
UYDS is now preparing routines for their next competition at Loughborough and their scene for Fusion this year, where dancers will undoubtedly exceed expectations once again.