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Into the Cosmos: Dance Club’s Upcoming Showcase



The dance world remains elusive to many people. Brimming with stigma, it continues to be intimidating for beginners and returning dancers. However, St Andrews Dance Club is redefining the narrative, welcoming people from everywhere. Offering a variety of different classes at many different levels, there appears to be a spot for everyone. “I just wanted to make it a more fun environment,” says beginner ballet teacher Elizabeth Beattie. “There are a lot of preconceived notions that people have when they think about ballet and I was hoping that [with] my teaching, I could break that down and make it more fun for everybody.” The club has been able to successfully garner many different members, all focused on generating an enjoyable experience. 


The most exciting event for students is the final showcase. In which everyone gets to show off their skills to an audience. “Everyone has this nervous ball of energy,” states advanced ballet teacher Ulyssa Fung. “Everyone is practising everywhere either by themselves or with their teacher or in a group of friends. It is really high energy throughout.” Elizabeth says her favourite part of the showcase is “seeing so many different styles and so much different creativity from all the choreographers and teachers.” 


To get to the final show is a long process. It starts with the committee selecting the theme. This year’s theme is ‘Into the Cosmos’. Then the teachers must pick songs and choreograph appropriately for their class. “It has to work on the level you want to choreograph for, so I went through a lot of pieces I really liked but were not appropriate for the level.”

Everyone’s choreography processes are different. Ulyssa says, “A lot of the time it is intuition for me. A lot of this feels like it fits for me whereas if something doesn’t fit I will have the feeling that something is off and I will go and change that.” The teachers spend many hours listening to music, visualising dances, and practising the moves alone. 


The weekend of the showcase is all hands on deck. Friday is the tech day. That night is the dress rehearsal with everyone in full makeup and costume running final practices. “Everyone is everywhere.” describes Ulyssa. It is the most exhausting day for everyone involved. Then comes the shows. Elizabeth describes backstage as “chaotic and dark. Once the lights go out on stage it is very dark.” She continues, “You can feel the excitement in the air. It is electric. Everyone is whispering with excitement.” 


The teachers offer some advice to students in the show. Ulyssa says, “That feeling [of performing] you don’t get in a normal class or in a tech run, so really just perform your heart out.” Elizabeth advises, “Dance is what you make of it. You can decide how you want to express yourself on stage. Dance gives you that opportunity so run with it because there are very few other things in life where you get to be that free.” It’s also a message for anyone who has ever thought about dancing to “just do it.”



Image: Hannah Wyles for Lightbox


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