Here at DanSci Dance studio we have always seeked performance opportunities for both our children and adult dancers to take part in. We love dancing and want to be able to share our passion with a wider audience, but there is more to it then just a fun evening at the theatre...
We recently took part in a fabulous performance called Chance to Dance at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. Chance to Dance provides a platform for dance schools to come together and showcase their work in a non competitive environment. As the brain child of a wonderful lady, Norma Lawrie-Hutchings it is an amazing opportunity for our dancers to gain experience of performing in a professional theatre and to be inspired by the other dance schools in the area. We have now taken part three years running and every year both parents and children have left the theatre emotional and happy (Sometimes exhausted!) with a sense of achievement, a little more confidence and more experience than the last time they performed. Of course, as a dance teacher I was incredibly proud of everyone of our dancers getting up on stage but even more so by some of the lessons I could see them learning backstage.
We had some super young dancers at just 4 and 5 years old joining us for our big number this time, it was such a late night, especially with the clocks changing and we had many children who had not performed before let alone at a 'real' theatre. Chance to Dance is an incredible experience to see a professional theatre, a big production from the inside but it is also very daunting and we have minimal time to show them where to stand on stage, how to expect the lights to feel, just how dark the blackout is once you have been dazzled, how busy it is, how many dangers there are from cables and sets and how to cope with the burst of emotions they would have been facing.
Apart from their great performances with last minute choreography changes, quick changes, wardrobe malfunctions, wrong shoes major over heating and crazy make-up (Plenty of things which would throw even a seasoned performer) it was magical watching them work as team to overcome problems. Helping each other get changed, do each others hair and make up, develop their self-presentation skills, take responsibility to warm themselves up and practice the bits they needed to. Before my eyes, I watched these youngsters make lifelong friends, develop social interaction skills and learn to co-operate with each other in quite a high pressure environment.
Learning to cope with the down time, sitting around waiting for our calls, entertaining themselves and each other builds their self reliance .The older children supporting the little ones and all of them showing maturity and an awareness of their surroundings demonstrates how they have built collaboration and patience. Not to mention empathy and compassion while supporting their peers and appreciating how they feel, dealing with floods of emotions
I like to think that apart from the magical feeling you can only get once you have accomplished your dance onstage to an audience and overcome anxieties, that they also learnt some valuable life skills which can't be taught but only experienced.
We are still a very young dance studio and we are very different from traditional dancing schools, what makes us extra special is that the children all get the opportunity to take part and achieve their best, they are all on their own dance journey and we just want them to gain as much from it as they can.
The children were absolutely brilliant and managed incredibly well, they made us super proud not just on stage with how well they performed but on how well they conducted themselves backstage. We had the technical crew comment as we left at 'what a lovely school we were with such professional and polite children' They were a real credit to the studio and their parents.
We hope that as time goes by, that they can begin to reflect on their experience and cherish it as a precious memory. We would like to thank all our parents for taxiing their talented, dedicated children to classes and rehearsals and to Norma Lawrie-Hutchings and the Chance to Dance crew for providing this amazing opportunity.
Congratulations again and thank you for letting us be a part of your beautiful child's dance journey
Miss Ava and everyone at DanSci xx