I am so glad I was able to watch this evening's showcase from students at Pendleton Sixth Form Centre of Salford City College. So far I have seen plays, singing showcases and Musicals from these students, but until tonight, never seen them purely dancing. Moreover, what was so wonderful was that these routines were not specially prepared for the evening, but are dances that form part of their coursework, and is part of their quotidian curriculum at the college, so they weren't 'putting on an act' for the public!
We saw students from first and second year dance programmes as well as first and second year Musical Theatre students, and the dances form an integral part of their A level or BTEC course studies.
It must also, therefore have been the first time that I have seen the dance students perform, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them. Let me tell you right here and now, I am in no way qualified to criticise or comment on technical aspects of dance. It is a long while since I was dancing, although I was very envious this evening of the tap dancers - that was always my favourite discipline. But nevertheless, I can and will comment on the overall performance of the dancers. And to this end I wish to credit just one dancer from the 2nd year group. It was not that she was any better a dancer than anyone else, it was simply that she gave a total performance, completely committed and fully rounded interpretation to every dance of which she was a part. I hope I am right in saying her name was Megan Flaherty. (she seemed to be the single dancer on the front of each V-shape made).
Another dancer to impress greatly was Luke Hodkinson. His electrifying and superb contemporary routine 'Supremacy' was nothing short of Ballet Rambert standard!
I must say though that although I have mentioned two dancers only from the dance courses, the standard was very high and all the dances very enjoyable. Sadly, I don't know who was responsible for the choreographies, as some delighted and worked much better than others. The ones which impressed the most from a spectacle point of view (most visually stimulating and choreographed within the dancers' capabilities, with all performers engaged and zoned) were Somebody I Used To Know, Iron Sky, All That Jazz, and Anything Goes. A couple of ideas which didn't work perhaps as well as they ought to have done came from the choreography to the up-beat Negro Spirituals at the end of the first act. Listening to the words of the spirituals, the choreography was at odds with the meaning, and so the whole did not cohere.
In between the dance course pieces, students from the Musical Theatre courses performed their coursework. It has to be said, although it may not please, but the Musical Theatre students gave fuller and more rounded performances this evening in general. Somehow, they seemed to understand the need to not only be technically correct, but to entertain and perform. This just gave the routines that extra pazzazz, focus and sparkle which sadly some (and only some) of the dancing students' work didn't have. The first years danced We're In The Money, Good Mornin', and Thoroughly Modern Mille; whilst year 2 entertained with my overall favourite routine from the whole showcase, Fosse Fusion. Three of them also came on later to dance an exciting and visually stunning trio Mr. Pinstripe Suit. Dancer / Performer Isaac Farrell has an assured career ahead of him. What a charismatic and full-on performance that was. The two girls dancing with him had to work very hard to keep up!
In conclusion then my thoughts in a nutshell: Very impressive, highly entertaining, much talent and all of you, keep dancing!!
Reviewer: Mark Dee
Reviewed: 22nd March 2017