Review: Academy of Dance students in sparkling showcase

Every year Chesterfield’s Academy of Dance gives cause for wonder in its glittering showcase.

From the imaginative dance and gymnastic routines to the awesome costumes, there is always plenty to marvel at.

But he biggest wonder is how scores of energetic, lively and noisy young people are transformed into such well-drilled, co-ordinated troupers.

Love 2 Dance is the title of this week’s showcase at the Pomegranate Theatre and it truly is a labour of love for the dozen teachers and student teachers who are sharing their considerable talents with the young stars of the future.

It’s a show which those who have yet to see it will love to watch, not least for its slick and clevery thought out presentation which never sees the stage empty.

A wide range of dance disciplines is married to soundtracks from musicals, films and pop charts, making the show accessible to every generation.

The breathtaking gymnastics are gravity-defying displays of of trust in which participants are hoisted aloft to balance on their team-mates’ outstretched hands, shoulders or thighs.

in a nod to musical theatre, the juniors have the aah factor as they present a delightful sketch from Barnum in which colourful, curly headed clowns are upstaged by pointy-hatted pals.

Equally appealing are the panto team’s brief foray into Wizard of Oz territory and the top talent seniors taking off the ‘revolting children’ from the musical Matilda.

Street dance is one of the high spots of the first half with a brilliant interpretation of will i am’s Charleston Love, complete with perfectly synchronised, almost robotic, hand movements from a fine troupe.

Dances set to songs from High School Musical are as sparkling as the silver pom-poms waved by the cheerleading crew who lead their troupe into the final number of the first half, We’re All In This Together.

Students and seniors give a headline-grabbing performance in Carrying the Banner from the film Newsies, which opens the second half of the presentation.

Ballet, jazz and freestyle continue the variety theme of a show in which there are many high spots.

The Mardi Gras Team’s interpretation of Just Give Me A Reason, Emily Potter’s ballet solo entitled Spellbound and the seniors, students and teachers’ Electro Swing creation were among my favourites.

The audience is treated to the academy’s version of a Pineapple dance class which looks exhausting but seems to barely take a feather out of its performers.

Talking of feathers, they’re in the finale again this year. Plumed headdresses, frilly frocks and high-kicking can-can dancers.... Chesterfield’s supreme showgirls are rocking the Pomegranate until Saturday, April 17.

GAY BOLTON