Ally Lodge sits down to chat with Christa Van Eerde and Camille Bilger, this year’s University of St Andrews Dance Society show convenors.
What exactly is Beyond the Horizon?
Camille: Each year, Dance Society puts on a performance at the beginning of May, and Beyond the Horizon is the name of this year’s DanceSoc production.
Christa: For the show, each teacher choreographs his or her own class piece based around the show theme. It involves lots of rehearsals, and a huge commitment from the dancers (of which there are over 170!), the teachers, and particularly the DanceSoc committee, without whom the show could not be produced. It’s also reliant on a close relationship with the Byre Theatre, which is the venue.
Do people have to have any kind of understanding of dance to enjoy the show?
Christa: Not at all. The show is suited to people of all interests and certainly all ages. It presents a variety of styles of dance and has an over-arching theme of travel so anyone who is a keen traveller would be in their element.
You mentioned there is a variety of dance styles – what can people expect to see?
Camille: Let’s see – there will be ballet, tap, jazz, theatre, street, breakdance, lyrical, contemporary, Irish and Highland. There really will be something for everyone!
So, the theme is travel. What kind of places are the dances set?
Christa: Well people will have to attend the show to find out for themselves! But we can promise you some very exciting destinations, including places in the States, Africa, and even outer space!
What was the inspiration behind this year’s theme?
Christa: We are both avid travellers. While I was sitting on a plane this summer the idea came to me and I shared it with Camille, who studies astrophysics and has a strong interest in aeronautical engineering, so we went with it. We thought the theme would allow room for creativity and produce some great results and we can say with certainty that it has succeeded in doing just that. We could not be more excited about the dances that the teachers have choreographed, they are each unique and conglomerated together they will produce one entertaining evening.
This is obviously a very large-scale show – how long ago did planning start?
Christa: The idea was thought of over the summer and confirmed with the committee at the end of September, so we’ve been organising everything since then.
Camille: We’ve done a lot more this year compared to previous years, for example in terms of advertising. We’ve made a lot more use of student media, like the newspapers and magazines (like The Tribe!) and STAR, and also local media, such as St Andrews in Focus, so we’re hoping we’ve managed to reach all of the St Andrews population to get them keen!
What have been the highlights of organising the show?
Christa: One of the main highlights has been working so closely with Camille and spending countless hours together. Another highlight has been indulging our love of travel by being able to create flight announcements as an addendum to the show, and that has involved us recording ourselves speaking through an empty tissue box to sound like we’re flight hostesses on a plane!
Camille: And for accuracy in the announcements we even looked up the temperature profile of the earth’s atmosphere to make sure we’re giving the audience the right information! None of it’s made up!
Why should people come see the show?
Christa: For an entertaining evening full of excitement, passion, energy, smiles, and a lot of dancing. I can assure you the dancing will make you want to get up in the aisle and dance! Just remember, we have been training for a while so you have been cautioned if you go home and try any of the moves you see on stage!
Camille: Everyone needs a break from work or deserves to relax after a long day at work, and Beyond the Horizon provides the perfect opportunity for people to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight!
Beyond the Horizon takes place at 7.30pm on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May at the Byre Theatre. Tickets can be bought/reserved directly from the Byre, £5 concession, £8 full price.
Interview by Ally Lodge
Image credit – Ally Lodge