Dance Showcase 2017

June 23, 2017 at 1:14 PM

From contemporary dance to jazz, hip hop and classical ballet, this year’s Dance Showcase was a superb display of talent that brought yet another dimension of student achievement to the Saint Kentigern stage.  

The largely student-led performances entailed over 100 dancers who had auditioned from across the year groups, performing 38 pieces that had been carefully prepared by Year 12 and 13 Dance student choreographers, resulting in two fabulous performance nights. The pressure was on both the choreographers and the performers to get every last detail correct as 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 performance and 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 for NCEA Level 1 (Year 11) to Level 3 to ‘perform a significant role in a group dance to an audience.’ 

To meet these objectives, the senior dance students have poured considerable energy into preparing for the Showcase, in readiness to present their work for NCEA assessment. This year, the show was based on a sense of connectivity. The Year 12 pieces all delved into the theme of family, expressing feelings of love, separation, loss, protection, stability, belonging and companionship. Wider themes were interpreted into dance by the Year 13 choreographers, who had brainstormed the concept of ‘Turangawaewae.’ Translated as ‘a place to stand,’ the students developed works around belonging, individuality and identity. The vast range of meanings conveyed on stage by both year levels was a superb display of the choreographers’ research and imagination, as well as the performers’ dancing ability. The energy the dancers exerted was reciprocated by the warm appreciation from the audience of students, parents and friends. 

For the first time, Year 7-8 students were involved in the show, dancing in pieces taught by senior dance students from the College Dance Academy. The Academy/Extension Programme is a new initiative, set up during the course of 2016, catering 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, Mr Geordan Wilcox and Mr Ichiro Harada, as well as a range of itinerant dance specialists who expose the students to a wide range of teaching and performance styles. 

Year 12 and 13 Dance students develop many different skills through the process of choreographing for the showcase; they manage auditions, dancers, organise rehearsals, costumes, prepare for rehearsals, manage timelines, work collaboratively with others and develop leadership skills. They are also involved in the technical aspects of the production. To produce a show of this calibre is an enormous amount of work and it’s quite incredible that the rehearsals and performances were largely student-led.  Their themes explored difficult, emotional issues that had a real impact on the audience. The choreographers, performers and back stage crew are to be congratulated for their dedication to bring a show of this quality to the stage. 

Congratulations to everyone involved, from front of house to behind the scenes and especially the choreographers and dancers. Thank you also to Head of Dance, Mr Geordan Wilcox and fellow teacher, Mr Ichiro Harada for their hard work in mentoring the students to produce a high-calibre and thought-provoking show!


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