Recently the University of Leicester’s Modern Dance Society, to which I am a very proud member of, did incredibly well at the Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Dance Competition. Despite being from a University that sticks to the traditional academic subjects, the talent we have among us is outstanding, no matter what degree you do. This was shown by the result of the day being that we came away with a staggering total of six awards, therefore doubling the number of awards the society has ever had since it was created a few years ago.

Despite our name of “Modern Dance Society”, we actually cover a range of styles of dance including: ballet, tap, contemporary, and modern. We took all four styles to the NTU competition, with two routines for each category. The two categories refer to the ability level of intermediate and advanced, therefore allowing us to cater to different levels of ability within the society. By doing this, it means that when Freshers comes round each year, we can welcome beginners into the intermediate classes so that they have the chance to learn a new talent, all the while the advanced class continues to challenge the dancers that have been in and out of leotards since they were walking!

The themes of our routines this year definitely showed judges the different styles we can do. One specific favourite was the advanced contemporary piece that saw us inspired by the Hunger Games through the structure of a battle between three districts. The crowd loved it right through until the famous sound of the hunger games whistle to signify a victor. Our version may not have had Jennifer Lawrence playing the protagonist, but it still went down very well with the audience.

The popularity of the Charleston style showed through too in our intermediate modern dance as well as our advanced tap dance. Both routines took music from the soundtrack of the recent Great Gatsby film to bring the glitz and glam of the 20s to Nottingham on a not so glamorous…but actually quite grim day in terms of weather.

It was hard not to enjoy being on the stage that day, the cheering from the audience created such a high level of energy in the room. Even through the worry of performing a very fast tap dance up there on a very slippery stage didn’t prevent us from doing cheesy smiles from start to end (in the routines when it was appropriate, cheesy smiles for Hunger Games would kind of ruin the tension!)

These competitions are heavily attended by students that are studying dance as their main discipline, and therefore training much more often than we do, however two members of our society showed that no matter what degree you do, if you have talent, there is no stopping you. Michelle Machekera (Psychology student) and Alistair Taylor (Medical student) not only came away with 1st and 2nd place in the Wildcard category (anything goes in this category), they also came away with the awards of Best Boy and Best Girl! There are over 500 dancers that compete from a total of 12 universities, so to get singled out is an insane achievement for both of them, and as a society we are very proud. They both performed contemporary routines that showed their emotion in the music, all the while displaying exquisite technique and skill that captured everyone in the audience.

On the 3rd March we were set to go to Sheffield University for their annual dance competition…but the Beast from the East beat us and the competition was postponed. However, we still have our annual showcase on the 20th March where we perform here at the University. This not only shows all our routines from this year’s competitions, but also sees pieces from the University Street Dance, Swing Dance, and Dance Sport Societies. Follow the link below if you want tickets!

Here’s to the rest of 2018!

India Wentworth

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