All England Dance Finals 2013 - Classical Greek Dance
7 November 2013
The All England Dance National Finals were held at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London from 27th July to 4th August 2013.
The All England Dance National Finals were held at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London from 27th July to 4th August 2013. All England Dance is the culmination of local dance festivals from all over the country, allowing those striving to be the best to compete for the ultimate prizes in the English amateur dance world. The purpose is educational and, although competitive, it gives both children and students the opportunity to be judged by professional dancers and experts in particular dance styles. Their artistic ability, confidence and knowledge are all broadened by the experience, as well as it being “great fun”. Some in the baby class had never experienced London before!
They were very long, hot summer days inside the theatre but the talent on show was, at times, beyond belief considering the age of the dancers, and the Greek sections were no exception.
Lauren Godfrey (Dupont Dance Stage School) was the Bugle Fairy and winner of the Baby section. Not only was she strong technically but had the expressive ability to communicate with her audience. No wonder she won the award for ‘Most Promising Baby’ at the end of the finals. The A and B section winners (7 – 10 years) were both very musically sensitive and particularly strong in footwork and Greek technique. The winner of the C Section was Isabella Parcell (Jacqui Ison Theatre Arts). A musically expressive dancer, she portrayed Artemis and showed how a strong Classical and Greek technique can combine to produce a dancer with excellent control, elevation, sense of line and use of relaxation from the centre. Isabella was the eventual winner of the Anne Tyrer Greek Award.
The Junior Duet, Trio, Quartet and Group sections were unfortunately small but still maintained the imagination and standard of technical ability and the groups were beautifully rehearsed.
As the week progressed we moved to the Intermediate and Senior sections, and the standard of work increased with age. We had a complete evening session of Greek Dance and were joined by three expert adjudicators, Juliet Locks, Lucy Pohl and Julia Ellis, all who have many years of experience in teaching, examining and adjudicating Greek Dance and who worked exceptionally well together. Mind you, they were in for a treat, having to adjudicate some of the best Greek dancers in the country. Cerise Bedder (Maenad) and Lucy Bramley (Utopia) were winner and runner-up in the D Section. Both pupils (Dupont Dance Stage School), showed maturity beyond their years in expression, inner sensitivity, energy, control and understanding of their theme and how to portray it with maximum effect.
The E Section (15 – 21 years) was a real joy to watch. It was eventually won by William Lewis, also from Dupont, who gave a powerful performance in Pyrrhic style. A Call to Arms was energized and had determination and skillful use of the sword and shield. The Duets, Trios and Quartets could all have been winners, and the performers from Academy Dance, Dupont Dance Stage School, Jacqui Ison Theatre Arts, Kilburn School and Roshe Performing Arts should be proud of their standard and clear understanding of Greek technique.
The final Greek section was the Senior groups, a wonderful array of talent both from the teachers and students, very slick and professionally performed by all. We had groups from both the Kilburn and Mayhew schools nominated for the very prestigious Joanne Marsden-Blackwell Choreographic Award, for outstanding choreography in a group section, which was to be adjudicated at the Gala. Roshe Performing Arts were the eventual winners of Senior B groups, with their powerful and thought-provoking Earth Song. All watching felt the intensity; the realisation of how mankind is destroying the world was evident in the sincerity of their dancing.
There were certainly no complaints about the dancing at the All England Finals; the criticism comes from the restriction put upon teachers to choreograph ‘safely and simply’ (Lyrical, Athletic and dances with Classical storylines). There is so much more to Greek Dance than this. The Classical Greek Dance Association Faculty is bringing their Greek Dance into the 21st century; it is time we now educate our festivals and those concerned to do the same.