Louise Farnall reviews UCLU Dance Society’s annual 24 hour challenge
UCLU Dance Society was one of the first societies to perform in the new Japanese Roof Garden Marquee as part of the Roaming Garage project, taking to the stage for their first full show this year, they performed their usual vast array of dance styles.
The challenge: on Saturday morning, each choreographer was given three mystery tracks to chose from, and had to choreograph and rehearse an entire routine in two days. These routines were then performed on Sunday night to an audience of friends and society members in aid of Anthony Nolan, the UKs blood cancer charity and bone marrow register.
Despite the daunting task of creating whole routines in such a short space of time, Dance Society managed to put on a full show with very few slip ups, and provided the audience with a good evening’s entertainment. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the evening was the variation between dances. It was quite refreshing to move from Latin dance to a Popping routine in the space of five minutes!
Although every routine was entertaining and maintained a high level of dance skill for each style, I did have a few favourites. Rosie Pegge, Fiona Evans and Laura Marsh performed an advanced Jazz routine, choreographed by G Natasha. They filled the wider performance space with soaring lifts and had very good timing with an unusual backing track. The Latin dance choreographed by Nicole Moy and Laura Leung to a Beyoncé remix, brought sass to a particularly great song choice! Popping isn’t something I’ve ever seen Dance Society perform, and it was great to see a new style with some very cool moves that any Roxy/Loop regular would be extremely jealous of.
Two Contemporary routines showcased some beautiful dancing, particularly Anais Masetti and Katherine Belessiotis who included both complexity and grace to create a striking piece. I loved the sweet and romantic Hip Hop duo routine from Galina Kuan and Gun Woo Nam to an upbeat song from Bedouin Soundclash. Finally, the Break Freestyle section was well received by the audience. Although clearly less choreographed or planned than some of the other routines, the dancers pulled off very impressive Break dancing and wowed the audience.
Inevitably, learning such complex routines so quickly did come at a slight cost. In pushing their bodies to the limit in order to dance the right steps, certain dances lost out in terms of performance, and throughout faces bore looks of concentration and nerves more than smiles.
Nonetheless, in the upbeat tap number to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, Julia Ravey, Zoe Whiteley and choreographer Emily Popple had the biggest grins of the night, and the audience had as much fun with the impressive and comical routine as they did. The audience also did a really good job of cheering dancers on and keeping the atmosphere friendly and supportive.
Personally, I think the evening was a success. The dancers and production team had no easy task putting on such a busy show in two days, so despite the lack of sleek performances we normally see from Dance Society, the whole showcase was a good chance to show off some old and new talent, all for a very worthy cause.
Dance Society have a busy year ahead, with Competition Team auditions, a Glow Run in aid of RNIB, their annual Freshers’ Showcase and more this term. Further information about all upcoming events can be found on their website or on their Facebook page.
Featured images credit: Rajee Sukumaran