Dance Showcase 2020

August 07, 2020 at 9:34 AM

The annual Dance Showcase celebrates the beauty, energy and raw emotion of dance across the genres, and is always a wonderful evening of entertainment. This year was no different; opening night was a superb celebration of the joy of dance – but like all activities this year, the build-up to the evening was not without its challenges!  

Preparation and planning for the Dance Showcase began early in Term 1, but as Coivd-19 spread, putting campus life put on hold for six weeks, our dance students lost practical rehearsal time. Whilst our dancers maintained their own personal training from home, the ability to work and dance as a group, share ideas in person and receive on the spot feedback was clearly missed.

For all our students, this has been a year of disruption, reflection and discovering new ways of ‘doing things.’ When our students returned to school after lockdown, they brought a changed outlook on life, school, friends and family. They came back with a strong appreciation for their freedom and the deeper connections they had made. With this new appreciation, the students also returned highly motivated, with boundless enthusiasm for this year’s Dance Showcase - and more than made up for lost time!

And so it was that 180 determined dancers got back to work! With the passage of time, new themes had emerged and it was inevitable with Covid-19 having such an impact, that key ideas of isolation and change would take centre stage. Along with this, our senior students explored social injustices relating to race, religion and the role of women.

From hip hop to jazz, lyrical and contemporary, the audience was drawn in to almost 30 dramatic, dynamic and emotive performances from dance students in Years 7 to 13. From solo to group performances, the largely student-led production was a mix of co-curricular and curriculum dance with performances from the Dance Academy, dance troupes, class groups and student choreographed NCEA level 1, 2 and 3 pieces. It became very clear that across a range of genres, we have some exceedingly talented dancers, both girls and boys.

Throughout the show, the performances were interspersed with snippets of video from lockdown which gave real insight into how our dancers continued to practise, learn and meet new challenges set by the dance department, sharing with their classmates through video despite the isolation. There was also a medley from Chicago, the intended senior musical for Term 1, that was due to be staged the week we went into lockdown.

For those undertaking Dance as an examinable course of study at senior level, there were several objectives to be achieved. As a subject, Dance is one of the four separate Arts disciplines — Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts — that make up the ‘essential learning’ area of The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum. It is a curriculum requirement that all students in Year 7 take courses covering each of the disciplines, meaning that both boys and girls at this age have a ‘taste’ of Dance as a future area of study. In Years 8 and 9, students are required to select two of the Arts disciplines for each year of study and thereafter, the Arts become part of a range of optional subjects for selection, leading to formal NZQA qualifications, assessed both internally and externally.

At NCEA Level 1 (Year 11), students develop their performance and choreography skills alongside knowledge and understanding of dance elements and styles. Achievement objectives at NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) expand on these skills, with requirements to choreograph and perform in group and solo dances to communicate an intention, and provide an interpretation and demonstrate understanding of dance performance and genre. NCEA Level 3 (Year 13) students are challenged to advance their performance and choreography repertoire and critically analyse dance performances. Throughout these levels, there is also the opportunity for students to further their development and knowledge by attending extension classes and sitting scholarships.

We are always fortunate to welcome back Old Collegians as guest choreographers. In 2020, we were thankful to Erin Meek, Molly Griffiths, Kate Romans and Raychel Tapsel for their assistance. We also thank Victoria Metz, a former student of dance teacher, Ichiro Harada, who studied at Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance in Munich.

The Dance Department are very proud of their students and particularly the student leaders for their energy and commitment. We are so lucky that we have so many creative, talented and dedicated dance students and are able to celebrate this with a live performance at a time when so much of the world has come to a standstill. To produce a show of this calibre is an enormous amount of work and each year we see an improvement in technique and performance sophistication from our dancers. Well done!

Click here to view the gallery.

Dancers at the College benefit from a state-of-the-art dance studio that was opened as part of the Sports Centre extension in 2018. The studio has the capacity to host performances as well as be divided into two acoustically separate teaching spaces. This is achieved by having an electrically operated, sound proof, dividing wall which retracts into the ceiling space to give greater flexibility of available space.

The original dance studio has been revitalised and another multi-purpose dance/activity room makes up the teaching and learning spaces. All studios have suitably cushioned floors, fit for purpose, to reduce the impact on students’ bodies.

The Dance Academy
In addition to curriculum dance, the College offers a Dance Academy/Extension Programme which caters for different levels and styles of dance, including classical ballet, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop. Students audition for a place, attending extra Period 0 (before school) and Period 7 (after school) classes as well as Saturday classes. The extra classes include coaching, pilates, yoga and conditioning, as well as learning dance works for performance, both at College and beyond. The classes are taught by College dance staff, as well as a range of itinerant dance specialists who expose the students to a wide variety of teaching and performance styles

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Introducing our Dance Staff at the College

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Mr Geordan Wilcox
Head of Dance, Mr Geordan Wilcox was formerly a dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) for 13 years, and has a Master of Creative and Performing Arts in Dance Studies, as well as a Diploma in Teaching (Secondary), both from the University of Auckland. He has choreographed works for professional dance companies and has taught at both the University of Auckland and the New Zealand School of Dance. He brings a huge amount of knowledge to the role and our students really enjoy his style.


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Mr Ichiro Harada
Mr Ichiro Harada is originally from Nara in Japan. He graduated from Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Dance in 1994. He has danced with Doris Humphrey Repertoire Dance Company, Ballet Long Island and Geurah Abraham Dance Ensemble in New York and performed in Musical Drama. He established Ichiro Harada Dance Group in Sydney. As a choreographer, his works have been performed in Japan, Australia, Russia, Korea and New York City including for the Estee Lauder Defining Beauty Award, Youth America Grand Prix final in New York City, Seoul International Ballet Composition final, and Koriyama 50th Anniversary Dance Gala. His choreography has been performed by members of Boston Ballet, Orlando Ballet and the Berlin State Ballet.  He has taught in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, he received a NZ Most Inspiring Teacher’s Award.



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