The Big Day
On the day of the Finals of the TLFCB 2018 Choreography Competition, as I walked up to the studio, I could feel the excitement and tension of the participants warming up, waiting to impress the judges and audience with their performances. I could sense the support and anticipation of proud parents and patrons who sat expectantly awaiting the show.
Sitting in the audience, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew of the performances was that out of 61 group and solo pieces that were performed during the Semi Finals the week before, only 16 were chosen for the Finals. I was also aware that all the finalists had received a 15 minute one-on-one personal training session with one of the judges to gain some professional feedback and further improve their pieces.
As the dancers performed their original pieces, I could feel the audience being swept away by each performance. Smiling faces filled the audience; there was laughter, and I think I even spotted a few tears as proud parents and teachers watched the students perform. Having spent a considerable amount of time assisting in ballet classes, I saw a whole new side to some of the contestants as they performed their pieces that day. I am not used to seeing them perform in such a varied selection of genres, from classical Indian forms to modern contemporary, as well as ballet, bollywood and jazz, and the wide array of styles, the energy, and the passion that shone through them blew me away.
A new side
I loved seeing the participants’ effort in their attention to detail in both costumes, makeup, props, and technique. From the youngest of 7 years to the oldest of 18, their personality and own style was brought out in each piece, which engaged, sometimes surprised, and thoroughly entertained everyone in the audience.
I felt I discovered a new side to each individual by the way they performed, their choice of genre, and the flair they brought to their piece. To me, that is the key purpose of dance: to be able to express yourself and enjoy the movement and music; to be able to use your training and apply it to what you want to showcase through the art of movement.
The Junior Division winner, Rihanna, who I remembered first as a shy girl who was unwilling to even move during improvisation practice in jazz class, broke out from her shell and danced with all her heart, nothing holding her back! Strong and conceptual pieces were created by the 11 year-olds Krita and Maya who performed as elements of fire and ice, and light and darkness by Syona and Aadhya, winners of the Senior Division.
As I spoke to one of the semi-finals judges, our teacher Elina, she said:
“We were surprised at the diversity of styles, and elated with the effort that had clearly gone into many of the pieces. The best part was, however, seeing some of our students completely embodying their choreography; becoming the music, the movement and the emotion or character they were portraying. It was at times incredibly entertaining, and at other times it took us on an emotional journey we have not seen with these students before”.
For me, the resounding observation from the wide spectrum of performances that day was that they all love dancing! I could see that they truly enjoyed the chance to move and showcase their own creations. You could tell that they weren’t dancing just to walk home with a prize. They supported one another as their fellow contestants took part by clapping and shouting words of encouragement, in the true spirit of TLFCB and dance.
“It was at times incredibly entertaining, and at other times it took us on an emotional journey we have not seen with these students before”
Seeing our students participating in this event and making it the incredible inspirational show that it became made me so proud to be part of this community of dancers. I look forward to seeing more students take part and get involved in future events, making use of the opportunity to develop and grow as dancers. Perhaps next time, I’ll join in, too!
Click on the link to view images from the TLFCB 2018 Choreography Competition.