It has been a while since we have written a post here and a new year resolution is to create more regular updates of the companies progress; both here and on YouTube. We would like to open the doors to our choreographic and rehearsal process and invite you to see our journey as it happens (or shortly after I’ve edited video and written a new post).
The Curious Dance Company is evolving fast; it’s been a very exciting time for dance at QES (the school where we are based). The performance company has grown to 22 young dancers (2 boys, 20 girls) each bringing a talent, personality and creativity to the process of developing new pieces for festivals.
We offer a range of classes: Acro for boys; Dance for performance; Acro Dance and Advanced Acro. New classes are in the pipe line: Ballet for beginners and advanced and a commercial dance class (watch this space for more announcements).
We will update our YouTube channel weekly with footage from rehearsal and other bits and pieces we get up to in the studio as well our adventures in competitive and non-competitive festivals. Please support us by liking the videos, subscribing to keep updated and let others know what we’re up to. Here’s our video of our first week back after the Christmas break. Hope you enjoy…
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
We are very pleased to announce the creation of two brand new performance groups under the umbrella of The Curious Dance Company. These performance groups will create original dance works for competitive and non-competitive dance festivals. The aim is to create highly innovative and polished performance pieces and produce confident and skilled performers.
There will be a fee for membership into the companies which will cover festival entry fees, guest teachers, masterclasses and costumes.
Auditions for the company will be held on 8th September 2016 in the Harlequin 3.30 – 6pm.
For letters providing all the details please see a member of the Theatre Arts Dept.