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Kilburn School of Dance at Dance Proms 2013

Kilburn School of Dance at Dance Proms 2013

10 March 2014

Amanda Wilkins talks of Kilburn School of Dance's experiences at Dance Proms 2013

On Sunday 3rd November 2013 we set off from Wellingborough bright and early to arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for the 9am start of what was to be a very long but exciting day. Having checked in, we were shown to our dressing room, then went up to the beautiful, grand auditorium for the finale rehearsal. My dancers ranged from 13 to 18 years old and most of the younger dancers had never been to the Royal Albert Hall before, so the look on their faces when they saw the space in which they were dancing was a joy. What an achievement to say they had danced at such a spectacular and beautiful building steeped in history.

The finale rehearsal got all schools mixing together and competent in their entrances and exits. Then it was time for us to rehearse our first group. A modern Jazz style number called Everybody choreographed by my assistant teacher Kerry Grimes. This was to be danced on the stage. Lighting was set and then we raced back to our dressing rooms to change for our second number – both in Act 1. We had painted faces for the first group so it was no mean feat to change and re-apply make-up. Not forgetting the all important photo shoot outside for happy memories.

Then we went back to prepare our second group, a Classical Greek routine called Olympic Celebration. This was to be danced in the arena, which is a challenge in itself as the space is about five times the size of our studios! The dancers certainly had to shift when running or leaping from one side to the other. The rehearsal lighting looked great and having rehearsed I felt a huge sense of relief as this group had 18 props that moved from dancer to dancer and I had been worried that someone may not be able to reach a prop in time in the vast space.

Having been on the go since arriving we decided to walk the perimeter of the building and go across the road to the Albert Memorial to get some fresh air and take in the ambience. Of course the dancers had other ideas and decided to entertain the passing tourists with leaps, jumps and high kicks with the Royal Albert Hall as a backdrop for photos albums.

By the time they had completed this we were back for another finale practise and then it was time to prepare for the performance itself. I was proud of all my dancers; they really worked as a team and did spectacular performances. The lighting for both was fantastic and we felt honoured to have been selected for such an organised, prestigious event. We have some lifelong memories to treasure.

Amanda Wilkins

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