In Dazzled 3 May 2015 I wrote: "I like to see young dancers at the start of their careers because they are full of energy and hope". Yesterday I saw even younger dancers in the first heat of the Royal Academy of Dance's competition Moving North. It took place at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre at Quarry Hill in Leeds.
Despite competition from "Leeh Toor deeh Yorkshire" which happened to pass just a few yards from my house as I was setting off for Leeds forcing me to take a circuitous detour the theatre was packed. I guess most of the audience were friends and connexions of the contestants but I did spot Sharon Watson and exchanged a few words with her about Code which Ballet Central had danced the night before.
It was a very long show, There were 51 acts in ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and jazz. Some of the contestants were very young. Nearly all of were female. I counted only 3 or 4 boys. All the contestants were good.
The purpose of the heat was to select 10 finalists for the last stage of the competition which will take place at The Lowry on 18 July. In the event, the judge Gary Clarke chose 12 for Salford. They will compete against the finalists to be chosen in Bolton on 10 May and York on 21 June.
I had one interest in the contest. Hype Dance Company had entered some of its students into the competition. The reason for my interest is that I take the beginners' ballet class there occasionally (see More than just Hype - Beginners and Improvers Classes in Sheffield 14 May 2014). The Hype students danced The Water Fairies to music by Schubert. In my view they did very well and I thought they would make the finals but the were up against some tough competition. Emily Talks who choreographed the piece and trained the students should be congratulated on doing a very good job.
There were three things that surprised me. First, as I noted above, there were not many boys though all of those who did compete made the finals. Secondly, even though some of them were well into their teens none of the female ballet students danced on pointe. Thirdly, there were no non-Western dance styles even though our region hosts a number of companies, dance troupes and individual artists who study those styles. I had expected at least one or two Bollywood entries.
However, I didn't dwell on those matters. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and congratulate all the artists and their teachers. It was good to see them together on stage at the end of the show. We learned that some of the contestants were making their stage débuts in the competition. I hope all enjoyed the experience. I wish them all well in their studies and subsequent careers