This year I was lucky enough to attend U Dance which was held in Salford, Manchester. It was a 3 day event running from 8-10 July. I went with Dance 2 Advanced Youth Dance Company, which you can find out more about here. As a company we choreographed and rehearsed every Monday evening, and entered our piece to the regional U Dance platform. This was successful and we performed it in February at the Jerwood DanceHouse in Ipswich (beautiful building) where only 2 of about 12 pieces were selected to progress to the national platform. We were one of those 2!
July rolled around very quickly and we were all so excited about performing our piece Transfigured on stage at The Lowry, which seats over 1,700!! When we got to the University of Salford after a painfully long mini bus ride up, we checked into our rooms which were really nice (it gave me pretty high expectations of uni accommodation to be honest, it’s safe to say my accommodation now does not live up to those standards) and we got some food before the first show. We got to see NYDC’s latest piece In-Nocentes by Michael Keegan-Dolan which was amazing; their work honestly gets better and better every year. There was a technical glitch where the music stopped playing before the end but the company just carried on so well that no one even noticed I don’t think, I didn’t even realise there was anything wrong until we were told – their professionalism was outstanding.
Saturday was our performance day so we were at the theatre all day rehearsing and then performing in the evening. The atmosphere was exhilarating and was probably my favourite performance I’ve ever been in. As a company we’d all got really closely knit and knew each other so well and felt that really brought everything together on stage, it felt amazing. All the performances from the festival have recently been uploading to Youtube, follow the link below to see our piece.
On the Sunday although we had to be checked out by 8am, we had a whole day of workshops ahead of us. We were split into groups, you could either pick a variety of workshops or there were two whole-day sessions which you had to be selected for. I got to work with Wayne Sables for the day (along with a few others from Dance2) and we managed to make a whole dance film in a day! We really weren’t given a lot to start with and the brief was really open so we could do whatever we wanted and had a lot of freedom. What we managed to produce in the short time we had was brilliant and I know we’re all really proud of it, it’s uploaded here if you’re interested in giving it a watch! There are a couple of copyright issues with the original film so if that link doesn’t work for you, give this one a try…
There was also another show on the Sunday evening, and it was really lovely to watch all the other pieces as their was such a variety of work to be seen and it was really inspiring to see it all happening in one place.
All in all, it really was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m so glad I stuck with the company for a second year, as my original plan had been to drop it due to sixth form stresses. In the end I just decided to squeeze everything in and it certainly was difficult to manage at times but looking back I wouldn’t change a thing as I’ve had so many amazing opportunities come my way.
Much Love x