23-25 July 2015
Reviewed by Linda Curtain
Well, I can certainly say ‘Britain’s Youth have got Talent’! I have just had the honour of attending the first U.Dance festival to be held in Plymouth and how amazing it was!
This National Youth Dance Festival was held at the Theatre Royal Plymouth – a lovely, modern theatre right in the centre of Plymouth. Despite being very busy, parking was not a problem as there is a large multi-story car park behind the theatre – the option to pre-pay for your parking is great and saves queuing when the show ends. My granddaughter and I made our way to the theatre and we were greeted by a very lively atmosphere – with great excitement in the foyer – as lots of young people were eagerly waiting to either perform during the evening or to go into the theatre to support their colleagues.
While waiting for the doors to the auditorium to open, the theatre goers were treated to a great, free pre-show performance by some of the U.Dance participants – a great start to the evening. Once we had sorted out some initial problems with our tickets, with the help of the wonderful box office staff, we made our way to our seats which gave us a great view of the stage.
Youth Dance England – which has organised U.Dance 2015 – is a national organisation that works throughout England to support and encourage young people in dance on a national scale, in and out of schools. In order to perform in this U.Dance festival, the performers have had to be chosen from various local and county heats. During the three evening productions, over 300 talented young dancers from all across England are able to present their unique performances.
During the evening, we were delighted to be able to watch twelve very different performances. The staging and lighting of all the pieces was brilliant and each group performed with confidence and energy. There were various abilities within each group of performers and it was great to see very strong dancers supporting some of their less experienced colleagues.
From the opening number by TINeke – a performance group for young people, some of whom have learning disabilities, from the North East – to the wonderfully energetic redXco – a youth hip hop dance group from the East Midlands – the evening was full of fun and entertainment.
It was great to experience the atmosphere within the theatre – so many young people all sharing and enjoying their love of dance regardless of their own ability or expertise.
A very special group to me was the Wheelfever Project group – a Plymouth based inclusive dance company incorporating disabled and able bodied young people. Their commitment to dance was outstanding and to see them using their wheelchairs as a natural extension of their bodies was amazing. A very talented group and a credit to Paula Hocking their group leader.
A lovely display of Asian dancing by Vidya Patel who reached the finals of BBC young dancer of the year added another dance element to the show. Her fast footwork and pirouettes were amazing!
Such a brilliant evening filled with emotion and energy came to an outstanding end with a very impressive, well-rehearsed finale incorporating all the performers.
A great evening and certainly an event that I hope will return to the Theatre Royal in future years. Well done Youth Dance England and Theatre Royal Plymouth.
A great 5 star rating.
For shows at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth visit www.theatreroyal.com.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222.