018 Once Upon a Dance: Review

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It is the 17th year of the 0 dance show at the Regent Theatre and this year it’s produced a fairy-tale theme with 018: Once Upon a Dance Festival. It’s a magical five night celebration of dance companies across the Midlands and North West, showcasing every dance style imaginable.

The Regent Academy of Performing Arts opened the show with their unique interpretation of the fairy-tale, Beauty and the Beast. They adapted the traditional story to tell the tale of a girl who is both beauty and beast, using two dancers to reflect each conflicting personality. This innovatively portrayed the struggles that people with mental health conditions face.

Hostess, Caroline Sherratt, then headed onto the stage to explain more about the show and praise the efforts of the dance companies involved. A little comedy sketch with dancer George Hughes, engaged the audience and introduced the next act, ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Hanley St Luke’s C of E Aided Primary School.

The youngsters portrayed the toys that come alive the night before Christmas including teddy bears, dolls and charming toy soldiers, to songs from The Nutcracker. This performance certainly had the cute factor.

Opening the second half was Sway Dance performing to ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ by ZAYN featuring Sia. Allison Gallacher School of Dance were next on stage with their interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood, called ‘Hunting Red.’ A visually impactful performance, that reached its climax with the wolf capturing Little Red Riding Hood.

Closing the show was NULC Performing Arts with ‘Lost in Wonderland.’ Unlike the other groups they started their routine singing, which created a build-up to the music and the start of their dance. NULC immersed themselves into their Alice in Wonderland theme, using dance to portray Alice’s dreams. Their creative costumes added to the whimsical theme, while performing street dance to Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams.’

The finale was a group performance by all the dance groups in Act 2, which got the audience clapping and gained cheers from proud parents.

018 Dance Show: Once Upon a Dance is at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent from 27 February-3 March 2018. Over the next four nights there will be performances from Michelle Moss School of Performing Arts, Steelworks Performing Arts in association with Stoke-on-Trent College and Angela Beardmore School of Dance. See website for details.

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