Our first Curious outing was a fantastic experience. This was an opportunity to test the water and find out what competitive festivals are about and learn what we need to do as a company to grow and develop.
I am hugely proud of all our dancers; they worked so hard and made a real impression on the festival organisers. I received a message last night from the one organiser – ‘I just wanted to say what a pleasure your groups were. Always very polite…their behaviour was commendable’. Can’t ask for more than that!
The standard of the groups in the festival were incredibly high, many of the dancers had a very strong technical ability and a real commitment in performance. The choreographies varied but many were cleverly inventive and performed with a precision that comes from many hours of rehearsal. Most of the pieces had been performed at festivals over a few year and so were refined and polished. It was great to watch pieces of this calibre and there were many inspiring moments to take away.
The judge of the festival was Geoff Lucas and he was very impressive. He gave considered comments that were always constructive and accurate. In his introduction speech for our group section he talked about looking for work that was original in ideas, dared to take risks, used the music to inform the choreography and utilised a range of levels and dynamics. These are all elements that we have discussed in the creating of our first pieces so it was very reassuring to know we are thinking along the right lines. What our pieces lacked were the hours of rehearsal and the experience of many performances – all that will come with time and continued hard work. We also know we need to extend our pieces as they were clearly shorter than any other piece (although short pieces can be the preference at some festivals).
This festival was a hugely valuable learning experience and we are excited and inspired to return to the studio to strengthen our first two pieces and create new work. We are going to work on a piece with the whole company that will be shown a our Christmas sharing and entered for both Cumbria and Lancashire festivals and we have ideas bubbling away for further smaller group pieces.
We now have the festival bug and will continue to seek out other festivals that we can enter. A big thank you to Huddersfield Stage Dance Festival – we were made to feel very welcome and supported and we will definitely be back next year as a much more experienced company.