Sunday, 13 May 2018

Hype Dance's Annual Show

Hype Dance  Annual Show Library Theatre, Sheffield, 12 My 2018 19:45

Performances are important to dance education because ballet and kindred styles of dance developed in the theatre and are intended for an audience.  The experience of appearing before a living, breathing (and paying) audience is delicious. I well remember the charge of excitement I felt in my first show which I tried to describe in The Time of My Life 28 June 2014.  Every dance student from toddler to pensioner can and should feel that charge no matter how inexperienced or incompetent he or she may be.  Most get that opportunity because almost every dance school worth its salt offers its students a chance to take part in its annual show.  Training and rehearsing for that show is what distinguishes dance classes from dreary keep fit.

Hype Dance Company is a dance school in Sheffield to which I was introduced in 2014 by Mel Wong. Mel and I had met through BalletcoForum when Mel appealed for a teacher to stand in for her regular instructor who was about to take maternity leave. I suggested mine in Huddersfield and I mentioned the vacancy to her though I think she had already learned of it from another source. However, my teacher got the job and I followed her down to Sheffield where I attended my first class at Hype (see More than just Hype - Beginners and Improvers Classes in Sheffield 14 May 2014).  In that post I wrote:
"I have not met the other teachers but judging by the standard I found at Hype they must be good. I have no hesitation in recommending that dance school."
I later took classes with Emily Talks and Anna Olejnicki who directs the school and attended Hype's open air Frightnight show on the Moor.  I am glad to say that those other teachers and the school fully met my expectations.

Yesterday was Hype Dance's annual show at the Library Theatre in Sheffield. The Library is one of three theatres around Tudor Square which must place it in contention for one of the most theatre concentrated districts in England. The Library is an intimate auditorium seating 260 sprctators attached to the Central Library which is literally next door to The Lyceum.  Hype has so many students and runs so many classes that it had to stage the show in multiple sessions.  The kids and young people performed in the afternoon while the adult dance students performed in the evening.  I attended the evening show.

Some 19 pieces were presented ranging from ballet to pole dance.  I was impressed by all the performances.  The ballet included some tricky pointe work by two soloists who impressed me with their precision and polish, a charming character dance from the RAD class and excellent contributions from the advanced, improvers and beginners' classes.  I had shadowed the beginners' class in their rehearsal a few weeks ago and was impressed by it then but it was even better on stage.  It was raised to a new level by a soloist who suddenly appeared and wowed us.  A brilliant touch by Anna who had choreographed that piece.

Hype's jazz classes are particularly strong.  All the dancers are impressive but I have to say a special word for the solitary male who showed great strength and virtuosity.  As in most dance schools there are far more women at Hype than men, but all the men who took part in yesterday's show distinguished themselves.  One showed particular wit and courage by taking part in SHE Heels mastering impossibly towering footwear with the grace of any of the girls    The pole dancer was described as a guest in the programme.  I know no more about her but she amazed me with her strength and grace particularly when she was suspended by her legs her luxuriant hair cascading about her.  Contemporary, tap. street and all the other artists performed well too.

The jazz class led us into the finale each of the dancers showing off his or her party piece. Each of the other classes followed them onto stage to mounting applause. Finally the teachers with Anna acknowledging the cheers.  She appeared as proud as Punch and had every right to be.

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