Can You Dance?

We are now only weeks away from Can you Dance? in Leeds (parents: please see the letter on the letters page for details of this and other upcoming events). Our pieces is just about finished with a few tweeks and lots of rehearsal needed. (dancer: check out the rehearsal video on the closed facebook page). This is a new event for many of our dancers and it feels like a real treat: a day immersed in all things dance. There will be master classes and many amazing performances to inspire us.

We are really excited about showing our new piece ‘Kaleidoscope’ as it’s a real upbeat jazzy number – perfect for the event.

All our dance pieces from this year will be being performed at our annual dance showcase (again: see letter for details)

Sneak Peak of new piece. Amicus Curiosus

This is our first run through of our latest piece – Amicus Curiosus (Curious Friends). We are performing this piece in the Cumbria Youth Dance Festival and also applying for Lancashire Dance Festival (fingers crossed we are selected).

We filmed a rehearsal run for the Lancashire Dance Festival team to cast their eye over. There are two dancers missing, a few mistakes and we haven’t got all the choreography down yet, but we feel it’s a strong piece and are happy to show it off.

A true Curious Collaboration; everyone in the company has contributing something to the creative process. With this being our third piece we wanted to create a work that reflected our growth as a company – With a Little Help From My Friends – seemed a very apt choice.

The big builds in the Joe Cocker orchestration enabled us to play with the number of dancers on stage. At times filling the stage with our twenty strong dancer. Then dropping down to a focused few and occasionally just a solo.

We now have serious rehearsing of all our three pieces to do with four performances coming up over March and April. It’s been an amazing year so far and we have a lot more planned.

 

The Curious Start of Something New

dsc00164This is the start of brand new phase for The Curious Dance Company. Our very first Curious Dance classes started today.

We now have two Acro Dance classes and a Dance for Performance class to complement our performance company. This is such an exciting development for us as we now offer a broad dance experience all under our Curious umbrella.

The Dance for Performance class is a curious mix of styles, from contemporary to musical theatre, designed to bring the very best out of each student whilst challenging them to develop a strong technical foundation. DSC00165.JPGAll delivered with an energetic and driven style that is the hallmark of Megan Alder-Cox’s teaching. Megan has an impressive talent for developing dancers’ technical and performance abilities in a short amount of time – she really knows how to get results.

The Acro class was all about core fitness and the initial assessment of the pupils’ abilities. Acro puts a demand on the body beyond most dance styles and requires the development of strength, flexibility and coordination (especially whilst upside down in the air) to a high degree. This requires a precision in the delivery to ensure clear understanding and safely at all times. Megan is an excellent Acro teacher with full qualifications and an ability to make the tough feel fun.

Happy New Year

We are looking forward to a fabulously Curious 2017. The Curious Dance Company rehearsals start on the 12th January and Curious Dance classes start on 16th January. 

Our Curious Dance artist Megan Alder-Cox is now offering dance coaching – this is an amazing opportunity to fast track your dance training – click on this link to find out more.

MAC Dance Coaching

 

We Wish You A Curious Christmas

Here is the result of our final Curious Dance session before breaking for Christmas. We started our session with competitive dance related games and activities and ended with the challenge of creating a Christmas themed dance piece in just an hour. It was a really fun session and a great way to finish an excellent term. Thanks to all our Curious Dancers for all your hard work – have a great break.

New dance Curious Dance Classes and our Christmas Sharing

We are very excited to be able offer a range of dance classes at QES led by our talented and versatile dance artist Megan Alder-Cox. All the information is here so please take a look and spread the word.

We officially announced the new dance classes at our recent Christmas dance sharing in which this terms Curious pieces were performed alongside the QES year 7, 8, 9 and boys dance club (pictured) and the current year 10 GCSE dancers.

We were played in and out by the hugely talented QES Jazz Band led enthusiastically by Mr Leather and with the boys dance group performing to the band playing Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. The band sounded amazing and really added something special to the evening.

We made this a free event as it was an informal opportunity for family and friend to see what we have been up to so far.What we didn’t quite count on was the numbers of family and friends that would make up the audience – we were packed to bursting and the squished audience were very tolerant of the cramped condition and created a truly fantastic atmosphere.

Every performer dance their heart out and the quality of the pieces made for a fantastic evening performance. The Curious pieces looked well rehearsed and professional and shone out as polished performance pieces delivered by very talented and hardworking dancers. It was another opportunity to feel proud of the work we have done this term and to see how far we have come as a company in a very short amount of time.

Two Curious dancers – Rebecca Mason and Ellie Williams  – had choreographed for the year 7 dance group; splitting the group in half group to develop two very accomplished pieces. This was a real challenge for Rebecca and Ellie and they rose to this challenge showing real leadership and creativity along the way. Congratulations to both of you for a job well done.

The evening was closed with the boys dance group performing with the band and this was a real treat. For the first time in a very long time I have a group of year 7 boys that are talented and experienced and have been a pleasure to work with. Their piece was a perfect conclusion to a great show and will be looking for opportunities to show their piece again.

Bitten By The Festival Bug

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.

A Curious excursion (with sneak peek videos)

As this blog is posted we will be preparing to travel down to Huddersfield for our first performances. The whole company have worked incredibly hard to get our two pieces performance ready.
In the previous rehearsal Megan Alder-Cox took on the role of rehearsal director with Curiosus’ Alice Through the Looking-glass themed piece (choreographed by J Winstanley) and this week it was the turn of Curiosum’s Battle Cry piece to receive the Megan treatment. With forensic like detail the pieces were dissected and reconstructed with each movement being clarified, every formation aligned and a ruthless rehearsal of the unison sections that had begun to drift into a form of cannon.

This performance experience is a real unknown for all of us. Over the years The Curious Dance Company have built a solid reputation for creating ambitious works of innovative choreography for theatre audiences. But competitions are different, there is a specific criteria that the dance work is judged against. We set out to make two pieces that were choreographically impressive, showcased our fantastic performers and were rehearsed to performance standard. This is what we have achieved and we are very proud of our two pieces – every single dancer has given their all and we have we are all excited to be a part of the Huddersfield Stage Dance Festival.

There is always a curiosity about how well we may do in the competition but ultimately this experience is about sharing what Curious means to us with a new audience. Whatever happens we will have a great time and continue to grow as a company.

Our First Festival

Huddersfield Stage Dance Festival

We are delighted to have the date for our first festival: 5th November. This gives us our first target to aim for. We now have our deadline in which we need to have completed our choreographies and to produce polished performances.

So far we have been meeting all together for a Curious class. This has been a contemporary workout with Megan, an improvisation session with Mrs Winstanley and specific focus on turns with Mr Marriott. This gives us a chance to be a whole company of twenty dancers -we occasionally come back together at the end of rehearsal to share our progress so far.

us-jumpThen we split into Curiosus and Curiosum (I think the two groups have swapped names at some point!) to work on our separate choreographies. Both groups made a surge of progress initially and the pieces began taking shape very quickly.

We then began focussing on the detail, making sure every step was clearly executed and that the choreography was effective. This is where the hard work and dedication of the dancers really counts. It is the dancers that bring a choreographic vision to life and turn it from an idea into an exciting watchable piece of theatre. When we are on a creative roll the choreographic ideas flow effortlessly and many of the magic moments come from a spark of inspiration of a dancer in the moment.

We’re having a great time making our festival pieces and now we’re really looking forward our first festival to perform at.

ellie-jump