When 2,100 7-18-year-olds took to the Portsmouth Guildhall stage in February 2020 for the Heats of Dance Live!, a brand-new dance competition for schools and colleges, little did anyone know that it would be two years before the event would be able to go ahead in a similar format again.
With the 2020 final and 2021 competitions forced to take place virtually online due to the pandemic, it is now with great excitement that those competing in 2022 prepare to perform on stage in front of a live audience of their peers, family and friends once more.
A record 4,000 pupils from 60 schools and colleges from not just our region, but as far away as Cumbria, will be performing in the Portsmouth Heats of the prestigious competition presented by The Guildhall Trust, with a further round of Heats added to take place at Poole Lighthouse due to the overwhelming demand. All culminating in grand finals for each age group taking place at Portsmouth Guildhall on 3rd and 4th May.
Dance Live! embraces an ever-evolving digital world and how this is changing the face of modern performance with pupils performing choreographed routines to the backdrop of a giant LED screen with off-stage technical skills and creative design also being showcased. With a focus on raising aspirations and developing skills for creative career choices, Dance Live! also delivers a range of supportive workshop opportunities and encourages all, not just dancers, to get involved.
Thirty workshop sessions for pupils were delivered throughout the autumn term in subjects including LED screen content, lighting design, costume design, choreography and performance skills as was a Dance Live! day for teachers to learn more about the requirements of the event. The workshop support is well received by participants with a teacher from Christ the King College commenting, “Our workshop leader gave so much useful advice to our students that even after he left, they were so inspired they wanted to stay on at school to plan their ideas!”
Head of Learning & Participation for organisers, The Guildhall Trust, Hayley Reay, said “We are thrilled for the young people participating in Dance Live! that they will once again have the opportunity to perform on stage in front of a live audience. It is such a special and inspirational experience for them following months of practice and developing their skills that just isn’t matched by virtual performance. Our thanks go once again to the Schools and Colleges that have persevered throughout the challenges of Covid to ensure this can go ahead for their pupils. We are also excited for the Poole Heat in March and how this is paving the way for the future expansion of Dance Live!”
Businesses and organisations have also been quick to show their support for the initiative with Dance Live! welcoming Prospero Teaching, Richmond Motor Group, Doye Moss Productions, Becketts of Southsea and The Akash as Event Sponsors and Wave 105 FM, Wightlink Isle of Wight Ferries, VWTechnologies, Hampshire Youth Dance Company, Luke Brown Dance and Portsmouth City Council as Event Partners.
Tickets to see the Dance Live! Heats taking place at Portsmouth Guildhall from 3rd – 11th February are now available at www.portsmouthguildhall.org.uk and at Poole Lighthouse on 3rd March at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
Expressions of interest for Dance Live! Portsmouth 2023 are already open, as is the opportunity for you to register interest to have Dance Live! come to your city.