DISCLOSURE – TICKETS TO SEE THE SHOW WERE GIFTED TO THE REVIEWER AND GUEST FOR THE PURPOSES OF WRITING THE REVIEW
Reviewed by Dottie Rood
Well, I thought 024 Dance Through the Decades might have been a hard one to review as it was portrayed as being, “Local up and coming talent. Dance companies from all over Staffordshire, Cheshire and the Northwest.” So, mistakenly as it turned out, I was expecting good but maybe ‘amateurish’ performances, how wrong could I be!
This show is portrayed as the biggest celebration of dance in Stoke on Trent and our host, Caroline Sherratt told us it had been around since 2013. Caroline qualified in 2007 and has hosted a number of shows plus has pursued a successful career within performing arts in both performance and education.
The dance companies, local schools, dance schools and community groups (there were 55 taking part in this years shows) were given a ‘brief’ telling them what this years ‘theme’ was:
“Your mission is to prove the strength and unity of our dance community by travelling back in time through music and dance, to rekindle our spirit and re-energise our souls! We need to feel the joy of music, find the beat in our feet, and get up and dance! Cast of 024, if you put your mind to it, we can accomplish anything! You are our only hope!”
The choreography was inspired by music, fashion, historical events and famous figures from the 20’s to the 70’s and on to modern day.
The Regents resident dance group, ‘The Regent Theatre Academy’ took part every night and on our night, we were also treated to the wonderful Rooftop Studios Performing Arts group, Stagecoach Uttoxeter group, Homegrown Youth Dance Company group, Imagine Dance group, Miss Kym’s School of Dance group, NSCG FE group and NSCG Performing Arts HNC and HND Dance students group.
The music ranged from Frank Sinatra, Jive Bunny, Michael Jackson and Queen right up to Cy Coleman, Fried Ebb and Chic with lots more in between. As my friend and I are women of a certain age we really enjoyed the brilliant amount of music from lots of different generations.
The dance styles also had a good range, we saw contemporary, ballet, hip hop, modern, jazz, tap, acro dance (who knew there is a dance that combines acrobatics with dance, and it had a name!) swing, ballroom and even belly dancing and Bharatnatyam (a classic Indian dance) plus lots of ‘interpretation’s’ personal to the different dance groups, WOW!
There was also a particularly poignant video section that showed lots of different ‘events’ through the ages, it was really interesting to be reminded of these many occasions and also really good that the children/young people taking part could explore these historical events in such a fun way.
All the performances were good but, for me, there were three really ‘stand out’ performances:
Homegrown Youth Dance Company performed a very emotional piece exploring the trauma faced by teenage runaways. It was in response to the Government 2014 paper on children who run away and the rise in teenage runaways over the past decade and was very thought provoking. Choreographed by Naomi Johnson.
NSCG Performing Arts HNC and HND Dance students choreographed (with the input of staff) a very different performance that explored the evolution of ‘Horror Movies’ from the early black and white movies to more current horror movies, very different!
And finally Imagine Dance group, choreographed by Nicci Evans and Joshua Hooper, this was just really well performed with lovely costume changes and some younger members that added a ‘cute’ factor.
This is 7-night festival that started on Saturday 3rd February and finishes on Wednesday 14th February 2024 with performances on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 19.30. It was a really pleasant night out and the show was approximately 2 hours long with a short 15-minute interval.
Tickets cost: £15.95 plus £2.25 transaction fee.
024 Dance Through the Decades is at Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent.
For more information and to book tickets visit: www.atgtickets.com or call box office on: 02072061174
Theatre address: Regent Theatre Piccadilly Stoke-on- Trent Staffordshire ST11AP
Photographs courtesy of: Previous Production Photos.