Let's Dance

August 13, 2021 at 9:26 AM

During the course of last term, over 150 College dancers accumulated close to 700 hours of rehearsal between them, in preparation for this year’s Dance Showcase! Yes, a great deal of time goes into producing the Showcase, but our dance students love every minute of it, as do our dance teachers, Head of Dance, Mr Geordan Wilcox, Mr Ichiro Harada and Ms Lily Warner.

The Showcase is a student-led production that not only puts their performance on display but also their creativity, skill and flair as emerging choreographers. At 7am every morning last term, dancers began formulating, learning, creating and practising new movements and ideas. Our Dance Studios were filled each period of the day, as teachers and guest tutors cast watchful eyes over group choreographies, calling out, ‘5, 6, 7, 8’ again and again as they worked towards perfecting their routines! Morning tea and lunch times brought excited students galloping down to the studios to find even a smidge of space to rehearse formations, timing and to research sound for over 30 dramatic, dynamic and emotive pieces that included contemporary, ballet, hip hop, jazz, lyrical and cultural dance. It’s hard work but it’s fun!

The Year 12 and 13 Dance students develop many different skills through the process of choreographing for the Showcase, from managing auditions and talent, to organising rehearsals and costumes, and working both collaboratively and as leaders. Creativity is fostered as students develop themes and concepts for their dance works. while exploring dance as a medium for expression. Year 12 took on the theme, ‘The Power of Nature’ whilst Year 13 explored many different ideas. From students in Year 7 to those in Year 13, presenting their work through public performance is an important part of their arts education.

The pressure was on both the choreographers and the performers to get every last detail correct as, for some, their work was being assessed for NCEA. For those undertaking Dance as an examinable course of study at senior level, there are a number of objectives to be achieved. Achievement objectives at NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) and NCEA Level 3 (Year 13) each have a choreographic element. At Year 12, there is a requirement to ‘choreograph a group Dance to communicate an intention.’ At Year 13, the requirement is to ‘produce a dance for a performance.’ There is also a requirement to ‘perform a significant role in a group dance to an audience.’

In addition to the senior dance students pouring considerable energy into preparing for the Showcase in readiness to present their work for NCEA assessment, some of our drama (NCEA) and theatre arts (IB Diploma) students were involved with the technical and production aspects of the show, also for assessment.

With the introduction of the Future Me Academies this year, we have had the pleasure to welcome back some of our Old Collegians to teach our Academy students. Erin Meek, now a graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance, teaches Junior Ballet and Year 9-10 Contemporary students. Raychel Tapsel is currently studying dance at the University of Auckland and has been teaching our Senior Hip Hop group, with fellow Old Collegian, Kate Romans, teaching Junior Hip Hop. Lily Carson, is a graduate from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies, and she worked with our Year 12 class dance. In addition, we have welcomed Andrew Cesan, also a dance graduate from the University of Auckland and Director of Momentum Productions, to teach the Year 11 class dance, and Kimberly Green, a  graduate from Unitec Dance Studies, who is teaching our Senior Jazz Academy.

The Dance Department is very proud of their students and particularly the student leaders for their energy and commitment.  Head of Dance, Mr Geordan Wilcox said, ‘This year, with the introduction of the Future Me Dance Academies, we have had greater interest in dance than ever and we have seen the Dance Showcase grow to the biggest it has ever been, with a great number of students involved both on the stage and behind the scenes. We are delighted with the growth and success of dance at the College and we continue to work towards creating opportunities and learning experiences that are meaningful, and allow for each student to develop a range of skills in a non-competitive and supportive environment.’

We are so lucky that we have so many creative, talented and dedicated dance students. With performances from the Dance Academy, dance troupes, class groups, soloists 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.

Well done on a fantastic Showcase of your work!

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