Step Live at Sadler’s Wells

Highams Park School, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

Highams Park School, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

In Brief

An inspirational combination of youthful joy and talent, 400 of the 6,000 young dancers involved in Step Into Dance (the UK’s largest fully inclusive secondary school dance programme) this year perform at Sadler’s Wells.

 

The Lowdown

Think joyful exuberance, careful choreographies and solemn artistic expressions performed by a mix of young people, with each troupe’s performance complimenting the others and adding a breadth to the mix. As you’d expect, some of the choreographies were outstanding and some of the young dancers clearly have exceptional promise. What you might not expect, considering the number of young people involved,  is that everyone performed well, that each troupe was a cohesive artistic unit and that the night went off without a hitch.

Wansteady and Odin (Wanstead and Hendon Schools) demo battle was fun, full of sharp choreography cool moves and groves and battle attitude.

Heartlands School’s inclusive company silver painted visors and space-age silver eyebrows made me think of star trek and my favourite 80s B-movies.

Woolwich Polytechnic’s dancers seemed to enjoy their performance more as the tempo of the music increased.

Townley Grammar School for Girls’ Chicago was a triumph of precise timing, tasteful modern voguing and burlesque

Saffron Waldon’s Down the Rabbit Hole had three Alices among po-faced performers and precise patterning.

Forest Hill School’s high energy WDB Mix demonstrated a patterned complexity

The mostly-masked members of St Thomas More Catholic Comprehensive School’s Beyond Lost performed a beautiful choreography with an engagingly intense solemnity.

Step Live, Step Live, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

Step Live, Not my image, Step Live, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

 

St Paul’s Academy’s Project Zero had white-jacketed scientists investigating their subjects with a combination of hip hop and contemporary moves that combined the feel of ultra-modern science with sugar-plum-fairy unreality.

Acland Burghley School’s Break Out was a spooky hard-hitting depiction of an old fashioned lunatic asylum.

Lambeth Academy’s Echo had so many joyful Grand Jetés that I lost count (if you’ve not been behind the scenes it’s unlikely you’ll understand just how much young dancers love these)

SID Jazz Dance Company’s Orange Is The New Black had orange-clad prisoners holding a great infectious rhythm.

SID Inclusive Dance Company’s Feast started with an engaging introduction to seated diners.

Traces was performed by SID Contemporary Dance Company with a snappy musicality and interesting patterning and was quite athletic.

Lea Valley High School’s wonderfully innocent Bombay Nights had the audience clapping and roaring approval.

Highams Park School’s Got It! comprised great tableaux, freezes and hip hop.

Raven’s Wood School’s Undercover featured snappy moves and fantastic freezes.

Harris Academy Bromley’s Run was an exuberant mix of dance and running.

Boswell School’s Innate was a perfectly choreographed presentation of how both faces and bodies can embody a performers’ character.

Enda by SID Street Dance Company was a great mashup of hip hop with a contemporary, explorative spin.

The finale was exuberant and Sir Jack’s Surprise (an annual tradition) a lovely piece by the youngest dancers.

 

The Step Into Dance program is a creditable embodiment of Sir Jack Petchey CBE’s message to the dancers; “If you think you can, you can!”. It really was a lovely way to spend a Saturday night.

Step Live, Step Live, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

Step Live,Step Live, Step Live, Image (c) Mark Leeds and Step Into Dance

 

The Background

Step into Dance is a partnership between the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Royal Academy of Dance. Since its creation in 2007 the programme has provided high-quality dance education to over 30,000 young people.

 

Mini-exclusives

Sue Goodman, Programme and Artistic Director; “I think you’ll agree the standard is exceptional.

 

Emma Wakeling, PR and Press Intern; “I was surprised at the high calibre of the performances. Each group blew me away for different reasons and all were of extremely high quality There was a wonderful mix of dance styles and I loved that the SEN groups also got the chance to perform and gave wonderful performances too. I feel proud that I was working as part of an organisation that had made it all possible.”

 I will post my own experience later

Hints

Get there early – there is a lot going on around the building and even the auditorium.

Stay on a little after the show to watch excited young people leaving in their groups. It’s a lovely way to confirm just how much they have got out of the event.

Step into Dance is a partnership between the Jack Petchey Foundation and the Royal Academy of Dance. Since its creation in 2007 the programme has provided high-quality dance education to over 30,000 young people.

Does it meet the hype, would I recommend it and would I go again?

Yes. Absolutely. So much so I’ve volunteered.