Jo Boon reviews Inside Out, the Dance Society’s annual show, and the eclectic range of talent in our tiny town. 


 

The Dance Society’s annual show took place in the Byre Theatre, set against persistent St Andrews rain and high expectations. The show did not disappoint. It was a wonderful celebration of a diverse range of talents and an event not to be missed by any dance enthusiasts.

Stephanie Uhlmann, President of the Dance Society explained the importance of the show by saying that, ‘dance is a beautiful, athletic form of artistic expression and part of so many people’s lives here in St Andrews.’ I had not appreciated before attending the show, quite how large and impressive the dance community in St Andrews was. With 25 pieces and an extensive cast, it was wonderful to see the passion each member brought to the performance. There was a diverse range of abilities showcased and the inclusivity of the production really shone through, with everything from beginner’s ballet through to advanced hip hop. It was also lovely to see professors as part of the performances, and reflected the pleasure all can gain from dancing. It was sometimes a little problematic to see such a range of talents within groups however, and those forgetting choreography stood out when next to such competent partners.

For me, three pieces really stood out: The Advanced Tap piece to Singing in the Rain, the Blue Angels Advanced Contemporary to Brother and the Advanced Irish piece to Siamsa. All of the Blue Angels pieces were, as always, absolutely stunning but it was fantastic to see such diversity running through the show. The music was well chosen and kept the audience tapping their toes to the dancer’s steps, but the transitions between the pieces could have been much smoother. The music needed to be faded out at the very least so that there were not abrupt stops, sometimes before the end of songs. Having said this, there were small picture presentations with background music between each piece which served as a useful transition point and a lovely way to get to know the teams a little better. Seeing pictures of the rehearsal process also served as a reminder as to the enormous amount of rehearsal time that goes into preparing a show on this scale.danceSpecial credit must go to Audrey Covert, the Show Director, and her subcommittee Brenda Nowicki, Rachael Hastie and Caroline McWilliams. Their hard work and talent paid off in a memorable show that allowed dancers with a range of abilities to showcase their talents. The theme they chose for this year was Inside Out and Audrey explains that it was selected to, ‘give all our fantastic choreographers the opportunity to explore the other side of their creativity.’ This theme was interpreted in multiple ways, creating an eclectic show that kept the audience engaged.

The large cast of dancers meant the stage was well used and the space filled with movement. The stage management of the show seemed almost flawless and lights, props, and colour coordinated costumes were all used to good effect – creating an overarching aesthetic that was easy on the eye. Everyone backstage should be proud of the way they enabled the dancers to shine and it was wonderful to see such a diverse range of talents working together.

A show I would very much recommend going to see next year!

 

Jo Boon

© Photo credit to the dance society