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.

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.

Curiouser and Curiouser

A dictionary definition of curious is:

1: having a desire to learn or know more
2: strange, unusual or unexpected

This is a good starting point to understanding what The Curious Dance Company is about.

Our mission statement reads:

The Curious Dance Company strive to inspire, challenge and develop all
our dancers to be the best performers they can be. We do this through
being the dance company that; works the hardest; enjoys the most;
innovates with creativity; applauds the loudest, loves to dance and is
curious in all we do.

It has been a long and complex journey over many years to take an after
sdsc00026chool dance club through to being a company that creates full length
contemporary ballets and runs two performance groups; creating work
specifically for festivals.

The Curious Dance Company is now quite complex in structure and works
like this:

The Curious Dance company is a broad title for all we do; The Curious Dance Studios is what we call our festival focused groups and each group also has a name – Curiosus and Curiosum (both Latin for curious). Confusing? Yes it is but that’s ok. What is clear is the quality of work we create is outstanding and the quality of dancers that are choosing to be Curiousdsc00030 is humbling. I am very excited about this next phase of our Curious journey.

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Seeing our Curious dancers being challenged in a contemporary class,
exploring new ideas in an improvisation session and beginning learning the
choreography for their first pieces was truly amazing. We have plenty of
hard work ahead of us but the journey promises to be a curious one.

Previous Company Members

The Curious Dance Company has had many young performers go on to train and work professionally in dance. Some of our previous company members have agreed to write about their time with Curious and what they are up to now.

Kate Threlfall

I performed with Curious for four consecutive years taking part in performances pieces that were taken to The Lowry for U.dance 2011, and the Peter Scott Gallery at Lancaster University as well as a dance film and numerous showcases at QES. I was involved with Curious’ first ballet, The Nutcracker, where I played one of the children and a cupid duet.

I then went on to have the leading role in the following ballet ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’. This was something very new to me as I had never had such an important role in a production. The role of Alice meant I had to be confident on stage but also a confident story teller. I remember feeling very nervous and slightly embarrassed that I had to over act mDSC_3121 copyy movement but especially my face. There was one rehearsal where Mr Marriott and I were creating a scene which I was nervous about, the ‘Crying’ scene. This scene involved me having a tantrum and crying. I struggled massively with the facial expressions previously, but in this rehearsal I remember just going for it and it was sort of a break through moment and I finally found my Alice character. This was also a moment where I found my love for this kind of performance style.

Curious were incredibly grateful for the media coverage of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’. We were lucky enough to feature twice of the ITV border news. I had a small interview about my experiences and feelings towards performing Alice. This gave me a professional experience of working as a company.

Alice was also taken to the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster where we performed three shows. Having the opportunity to perform in a professional theatre, this gave me an insight into working inDSC_2652 copy a professional environment.

After leaving Curious I went on to study a BA Hons Dance Degree at Edge Hill University where I am now heading into my final year. Being involved with Curious it gave me experiences of working with a company and a professional studio environment, which lead me to want to pursue a performance career. Also with the experiences I gained from Curious I now work with Edge Hill’s Undergraduate Dance Theatre Company ‘3rd Edge’.

Congratulations to our new Curious dancers

We have made our decisions and are now ready to reveal our brand new Curious Dance Company members. We are very excited to begin creating work with the new company. We will divided The Curious Dance Company into two smaller groups, dancers within the company will be moved between groups, as we create more work, depending on the requirements of the choreography. There will also be opportunities for the whole company to create and perform work altogether.

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Flora Milliagan             Ellie Williams              Rosa Fox                 Kelsey Greenbank
Abigail Tracy              Rebecca Mason            Harriet Leaf              Hannah Willison
Lauren Hayton          Lucy Ormston             Felicity Warman              Emily Barrett
Bridgett Taylor              Katie Cobley               Shannon Hicks         Sophie Howard
Fiona Woodburn       Charlie Naylor     Tilly Mackereth    Darcy Willis   Morgan Bower

Congratulations to you all and we will begin our Curious Dance next Thursday.

Curious Audition

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who came to our Curious audition. The standard was very high with standout magic moments from everyone. This, of course, makes the already difficult process of selecting the Curious dancers extremely challenging. Every dancer taking part should feel very proud of their performance at the audition and we are very excited about having such strong dancers in our new company.

On our panel were Mrs Winstanley and Megan Alder-Cox who watched the dancers take part in a technique class, learn movement phrases, create their own group pieces and perform their own choreographies. They were tasked with looking for dancers with technical ability, a stage presence in their performance, a readiness to work alongside others and an ability to take comment and corrections on board.

We are not ready to reveal the list of names that make up the new Curious Dance Company just yet. We will post the list up over the weekend. But We would like to make it clear that any dancer that didn’t gain a place this time round will be automatically on the Curious waiting list and will be the first to be offered a place if one becomes available.

We will be sharing our Curious photos, videos and our thoughts as we progress through the year; from rehearsal through to performances.

 

What to expect at the Curious Audition

Auditions are always scary – often because it is unknown what will be expected of you. Do you need to prepare anything? Is there anything you should be rehearsing or practicing?

If you are planning on auditioning for the brand new Curious performance groups then hopefully we can ease some nerves by explaining what you will be doing in the audition.

So what will we do?

Firstly

There will be a warm up class. Nothing too difficult just some dance technique exercises you may already be familiar with. This will prepare you for the audition both physically and mentally. This is your time to ease into the audition process so try and relax and enjoy the class. Many of you will have done a lot of dance classes before so this will be familiar ground.

Secondly

You will be taught a movement sequence to a piece of music. This will be to see how well you pick up and perform movement material. Don’t worry, this won’t be too difficult – we are not trying to catch you out – we just want to challenge you a little. You will not be performing these just yet.

And finally

In small groups you will add some more movement onto the sequence. You will use the same music and can put any move in you like. This is about your creativity and your ability to perform as a group.

And that’s it!

So nothing to prepare, you can stick with your friends and you get to throw your own moves! You will NOT be asked to perform on your own as this is an audition for a performance group. There will be a panel of Curious staff who may write some notes to help them make their choices but ultimately they will be there to enjoy the dancing… and so should you.

When will you find out?

We will aim to make the decision of who is in the company as soon as possible – maybe even for the next day. But just to be sure we will have the final list ready for Monday September 12th. We will put the list up at QES and on this website. If you are not successful this time around – there is always next year.

We hope to see you at the audition on the 8th September 2016 at 3.30pm in the Harlequin Theatre.