Dance encompasses a variety of techniques, styles and choreography, and students from Havant & South Downs College (HSDC) plan on representing that through their performance ‘Unite’ – hitting our very own theatre on 19 December.
HSDC students are performing a number of dances based around the ‘United Kingdom’ and will showcase songs from British artists and themes relating back to the UK.
We wanted to find out what it takes to put on such a diverse dance performance, so we investigated behind the scenes of Unite to find out more.
Student Megan Padgham said: “The rehearsals are going really well – we all have different styles, so we go from doing contemporary dance to commercial 20 minutes later so it’s always different. We are doing one of the dances about the royal wedding.”
Speaking about some of the challenges faced along the way, student Kirsten Utley said: “We only have one or two commercial dancers in our group, the rest of us are more ballet focused so one of the difficulties has been getting into the ‘hip hop’ mode and learning the technique. It’s quite good because we are developing our dance styles.
“It’s great to learn these new skills because you can leave College and audition for dance schools with new techniques.”
And it’s not just down to the lecturers to come up with the choreography, Kirsten continues.
“The lecturers also involve your choreography in the performance as well, so everyone chips in a bit,” she said. “So, you’re not just learning what they teach you but you’re adding to the performance yourself.”
And Megan and Kirsten have some words of wisdom for future HSDC dance students.
Kirsten said: “I would advise future students not to be nervous about starting College. It can be daunting with so many new people, but I found that all the dance students are so nice and help you and you can make lifelong friends from this course.”
Megan added: “Just because you don’t share the same styles as others it’s okay because everyone has their own individual style. For instance, if you go into the course and you’re not trained in ballet it’s fine because there will be other people in the same boat as you.”
Lecturer Sarah Parsons said: “Our show is an eclectic blend of contemporary, ballet and street dance. It celebrates music and historical events from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
“I’ve choreographed a piece for second year full time UAL dance students called ‘In This Shirt’ which explores the pressures soldiers might face in war, the pressure of wearing the uniform that helps to symbolise our freedom using Winston Churchill’s ‘We Shall Fight Them on The Beaches’ speech to help inspire choreography.
“It’s quite emotive and the students have worked really hard at capturing the characterisation.
“There are also some lovely thoughtful solos based on the Emily Bronte poem ‘The Night is Darkening Round Me’. We do have some more upbeat numbers too though! We celebrate the music of The Spice Girls, Elton John, Queen and the Bee Gees – so something for everyone!”
Book your tickets to Unite now. The performances are:
Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 December at 7pm at the South Downs Campus Theatre
Tickets – Adults £5 and Concessions £4
Buy tickets through our Box Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 023 9279 7954