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Before LUdans society’s ‘Dancing through the ages’, I had never experienced a show comprised only of dance (bar a ballet show I performed in at the age of nine as a snowflake; spoiler alert, it was terrible), and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as the lights dimmed and the opening song began to play. It was barely 20 seconds into the first number though, when I realised I was in for an excellent show.
All the dances were choreographed by dancers within the society, which led to an impressively varied range of styles and music. There were some particularly stand out group numbers, where it was hard to believe that it was students that created them: one of my absolute favourites being ‘Distant past’ by Emily Barnett, an explosive jazz number in which individual dancers were given a chance to shine with various terrifying looking tricks, while also flowing well as a whole piece. Also worth a mention was ‘Xtra’ by Chloe Stephenson which got the crowd going, ‘An Irish medley’ by Jess Quittenden was flawlessly executed despite the sheer number of dancers on stage and ‘Seven deadly sins’ by Lily Hamer, which told an interesting story in a very creative way.
The soloists provided something different for the audience, in enabling dancers to show off more of their skill at specific styles, and the most memorable dance for me was ‘You should see me in a crown’, danced by Emily Reed. She describes the character she portrays as ‘deranged’, and she certainly achieved this – it was refreshing to see dance used in such a unique way, and I was completely immersed (if not a little disturbed). Another notable performance was Georgina Jackson’s tap solo to ‘It’s a man’s world’, in which she adopted a more upbeat style of dance for a slower song. I have never seen tap used in that way, and the result was surprisingly beautiful.
In terms of production value, I was very impressed by the range and aesthetics of the costumes used; they added an extra dimension to many of the dances, my particular favourites being the pyjamas and general sleepover theme in ‘Thank u next’ by Chloe Stephenson, and the dramatic looking green and black outfits that enhanced Megan Stephens’ powerful ‘Fatal’. However, this sense of professionalism was a little let down by some messy transitions between dances, as often dancers seemed unsure of when to go on stage, leading to a few awkward pauses. These moments were by no means enough to ruin the show for me though, because as soon as the lights went up and everyone was in place, all dancers involved put on enough of a show to make you forget about anything that came before it.
Overall, I would absolutely attend another one of these shows – despite a few hitches along the way, I was beyond amazed (and more than a little bit jealous) of the talent that some people possess, and the atmosphere of support and celebration of this talent in the room almost inspired me to have a go myself. On reflection though, I think I’ll probably leave it to the professionals.