ISA Dance Competition
The Year 8 Co-Curricular Dance group have been working hard since September to create their entry for the Independent Schools Association Dance Competition 2021. They began choreography for the dance in the Autumn Term on the Park but needed to switch to virtual rehearsals over Google Meet during lockdown #3; a challenge for any performers! Although the students diligently attended their weekly practices under the online supervision of Dance teacher, Beth Butler it was not possible to continue rehearsing the group dance in this online format. Reflecting on her virtual teaching experience, Beth commented, “I have been really impressed with how students managed to retain this piece in their movement memory. We worked on an entirely different piece during remote learning so it was a relief when I realised how much they had remembered so we could further develop and refine what we had already created.”
Now that the group are back in School it has been possible to film their entry for the competition they have been working towards. Students can choreograph a dance piece in any style either as a soloist, duet or group. With cameras set up in Main Hall and only a brief rehearsal beforehand the piece was recorded on Wednesday 24th March ready for the deadline of 28th April. The three boys and five girls in the group performed to ‘Stand By Me’, performed by the choir of Karen Gibson at the Royal Wedding.
This piece was created following the group’s reflection on how being periodically away from School since March 2020 had made us feel. “We agreed that still being part of the Leighton Park community was what kept us all going as we stood by each other supporting one another. It therefore seemed fitting to choose the accompanying track.” explained Beth. “We wanted to create a simple piece that visualised elements of the music especially the title ‘Stand By Me’. This is why often we are stood still with focus projecting a positive energy to each other. We were obviously restricted by the amount of contact work we could include hence why there are large sections of unison.”
Dance Scholar Amy said, “I think that Dance in lockdown was quite tough, but I think that the Dance department and all the dancers have dealt with it well. The rehearsals were very good as most of them were live so Beth could help us to improve. I would say that joining the Dance hobby is a great way to make new friends and excel in Dance. The Dance department gives everyone so many different opportunities both in the classroom and out.” Fellow Dance Scholar Jessy added, “The Dance hobby is a great experience for all genders and all abilities; it is a chance to not only do something that you enjoy also allows you to give ideas of your own and work in a group to create dance pieces for shows and competition dances. In Dance hobbies it is a lot easier to engage in the choreography of the Dance pieces. Dance hobby is a great thing to consider to increase your abilities in not only Dance but also teamwork.” Oliver (Year 8) agreed, “I have found the rehearsals fun and willing to accept anyone. If the dance doesn’t work with the Music Beth asks us for suggestions. Dance hobby is really fun and anyone can do it.”
Following the submission of the piece to the ISA competition Beth reflected, “The dancers were so focused and engaged in the final performance. As a group they have really connected with the choreographic intent and I truly believe they project the dance idea through their use of expressive skill.”